Tacoma transplant Tina Kalinowski just couldn’t sit by and watch as her favorite neighborhood cafe went belly up.
So in late October, she rallied her husband, Caesar, and some friends – Jeff and Jayne Vanderstelt – and together they bought Shakabrah Java, a pioneer business that helped launch the revival of Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue business district in the early 1990s.
Kalinowski, who owned a banquet hall back in Illinois, moved to the Sixth Avenue neighborhood in 2004 and promptly fell in love with Shakabrah’s funky hippie-dippy atmosphere, blueberry pancakes and "magical" potatoes.
"We bought it because we didn’t want to see it close," Kalinowski says. "We heard it was for sale and we were like, ‘My goodness. We gotta jump on that.’ "
The new management asked previous owner Angel Stamborsky if she could stick around for a month or so, until they got the hang of things. But it turned into a great working relationship, and she’s still in the kitchen as an employee – which is where she started out 13 years ago.
Kalinowski has kept the menu largely the same, with breakfast served all day, along with lunch.
In the new year, she hopes to extend Shakabrah’s hours into the evening, and add live music and open mike nights into the mix. She’s applied for a beer and wine license, and is also working on a new menu item, to be titled "Sixth Avenue Breakfast."
2618 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Hours: 7 AM-4 PM Mon.-Sat. and 8 AM-4 PM Sun.