Natalia’s Cafe changes ownership

Downtown Camas restaurant adds three-day weekend buffet

"This is our dream, to own a piece of downtown Camas."

-- Cathie Coy, Natalia's Cafe co-owner

“This is our dream, to own a piece of downtown Camas.”

— Cathie Coy, Natalia’s Cafe co-owner

Two women who have known each other for 17 years are excited to be business partners at a downtown Camas institution.

Erica Slothower and Cathie Coy have been busy serving food to hungry customers, since they purchased Natalia’s Cafe from Natalia Zhikhareva, in mid-May.

“This is our dream, to own a piece of downtown Camas,” Coy said.

She and Slothower are leasing the space at 437 N.E. Fourth Ave., from Kyle and Stephanie Eakins.

Zhikhareva opened her restaurant in October 2003, in the space previously occupied by the Ideal Corner Cafe. Now 60, she has retired and plans to visit her oldest daughter and 1-year-old granddaughter in New York.

Coy said the business’ name and most of the menu items at the cafe will stay the same, for the time being.

A breakfast buffet has been added, Friday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It features all-you-can-eat pancakes, waffles or crepes (alternating), a quiche or casserole, made-from-scratch petite biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage and eggs. The cost for adults to enjoy the buffet, dine-in only, is $8.95 per person, while children’s meals are $5.95. There is an additional charge for beverages.

Regular breakfast menu items include omelets, French toast, strawberry cheese blintzs and corned beef hash. For lunch, there are meatloaf sandwiches, chicken caesar salads, soups, stuffed cabbage and Russian goulash.

“We buy fruits and vegetables from Camas Produce,” Coy said.

Dessert options include cinnamon rolls, apple turnovers and organic marionberry pie, made in-house.

In addition to the owners, there are seven employees at Natalia’s Cafe.

Growing up in Camas

Slothower and her family moved from Pennsylvania to Camas, when she was 3 years old.

Her childhood memories include riding her bicycle to buy a Big Chunk candy bar and a Shasta soda at Sprouse-Rietz five and dime store, previously located at 339 N.E. Fourth Ave., in downtown Camas.

Slothower, 38, remembers her first job included washing dishes at the age of 12, at Juanita’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant, at 231 N.E. Third Ave. Since then, she has worked as a server, cook and manager at Smitty’s Restaurant, in Camas.

Slothower, a 1996 Camas High School graduate, has also managed The Parker House Restaurant and Gustav’s, and she worked in the dining room and 19th Hole Bar & Grill at Orchard Hills Golf & Country Club, in Washougal. She and her daughter, Bailey, live in Washougal.

The Coys were married in 1998 and moved that year from Northern California to Camas. Scott is a senior electrical and mechanical engineer at UL.

The Coys, 41, now live with their daughter, Vivian, in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, just outside Washougal. They own Harbour Bay Homes.

Cathie Coy’s background includes experience in network administration, web design and real estate. She is a former manager of the dining room at Orchard Hills.

In addition to being involved in Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Camas Association events, Cathie Coy helped organize the Feb. 7 masquerade ball at Orchard Hills — a fundraiser for the Camas-Washougal Mural Project.

Natalia’s Cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The eatery has tables outside and an air-conditioned interior.

Breakfast and lunch options are also available to-go. For more information, call 844-5968.