Colophon Cafe

Written by on August 22, 2012 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Fairhaven neighborhood of Bellingham, Washington

Colophon Cafe Outdoors

How I heard of this place: A Bellingham staple on each of my visits, the Colophon is a county treasure for good eats, happy staff and a vibrant setting.

Colophon Cafe Cute

Type of cuisine: The Legendary Colophon Cafe and Deli…offers fine fare in a casual setting. The Colophon Cafe is famous for their freshly made soups and desserts, salads and sandwiches. We even have an old-fashioned ice cream counter and an espresso bar! We feature a daily menu of soup specials and post our Monthly Soup Calendar so you won’t miss your favorite! We have a rotating menu of over 35 different soups – everything from exotic African Peanut Soup to New England Clam Chowder. The Colophon Cafe also serves some of the best salads, sandwiches and quiches in town. We have many vegetarian and low-fat foods and can accommodate special dietary requests. Our desserts have been featured in almost every Northwest publication as well as Bon Appetit and Fodor’s Northwest. Our Peanut Butter Pie and Chocolate Chunk Cake are legends in the Northwest. When you visit The Colophon Cafe and Deli you’ll find out why everyone’s raving about these incredible treats!

Colophon Cafe Downstairs

Ambiance: “We’re conveniently located in the hub of Fairhaven, great for those loving the old-town history and architecture of the 1890’s. The brick buildings and cobbled pathways add to the charm of one of Bellingham’s most famous neighborhoods.”

Colophon Cafe Fairhaven Green

The space still boasts its old school roots with rustic brick walls, old chairs and tables covered in white linen, topped with glass. The same oil-lights are at each table setting with tri-pod style specials menus, listing the flavors of Italian Sodas, specialty ciders and hot chocolate beverages or the all famous: Mug-a-Mocha-Moo.

Colophon Cafe Register

A chalkboard on the wrought iron bars, where the speakeasy elevator used to be, colorfully promotes Cafe specials of the day, while booths towards the back host stereotypical and hungry Bellinghamites. It’s truly the color of Fairhaven, complete with outdoor patio seating, overlooking the Fairhaven Green (where the Farmers Market and Outdoor Cinema call home).

Colophon Cafe Seating

What I ordered: I decided to venture out and try something new, something old, and something tasty: Smoked Salmon Melt ($10.95 whole), a plain bagel topped with wild-caught Pacific Northwest smoked salmon from locally owned VIS Seafoods, with cream cheese, red onion, and melted Swiss cheese. Jenna enjoyed the same, with an everything bagel ($7.50 half), each of us with a bowl of African Peanut Soup ($7.50), the Colophon’s signature soup, an exotic blend of ground peanuts, ginger root, tomatoes, garlic, crushed red pepper, and turkey, with a mild spicy flavor.

Salmon Melt with African Peanut Soup

Chris found pesto on the menu, and immediately made up his mind: the Pesto Chicken Sandwich ($13.95) with grilled chicken breast, pesto cream cheese, melted Swiss, sprouts, tomato, and lettuce on a toasted ciabatta roll.


Mojgan stuck with one of her favorites and downed the Veggie Melt ($8.95 whole), with avocado, cucumber, tomato, and melted Swiss (onion and carrots on request), with a side of Garden Salad ($5).

Veg Melt

On this visit, I also tasted, for the first time, the Colophon’s Chai Latte (short $3) with soy milk (add $0.75).


Jenna went with the Caffe Viennese (tall $3.75) and Mojgan the Caffee Americano ($tall 2.50). Chris was disappointed without cranberry juice, but immediately perked up when he downed the large orange juice ($2.95).

On a return visit, Friday, 17 January 2014Visiting with friends from around the globe, we were eager to get back to the Colophon, and decided to sample some menu items – new and new to us! Completely tempted by the Tomato Blue Cheese Soup,

Colophon Cafe Garlic Chicken Avocado & Tomato Blue Cheese Soup

I chose to do a soup ($7 for a large bowl) and 1/2 sandwich: Garlic Chicken Avocado ($7.50), garlic-marinated chicken strips with avocado, smoked Gouda cheese, sprouts, tomato and lettuce.

Colophon Cafe Garlic Chicken Avocado

My husband chose the Creamy Chicken Pot Pie ($9.95) with a side Garden Salad ($3.75) in which to indulge over this glorious sunshiny day with friends and family.

Colophon Cafe Chicken Pot Pie

What I loved: I always love the greasy goodness of the bagel melts – even the turkey & Swiss cheese, which I may have to try on my next visit! The rosemary potato wedges that accompanied the burger were surprisingly delicious, soft inside and out, perfectly baked.


Having made and sampled home-made versions of the peanut butter pie, this smaller slice did not satisfy like I remember they did, but was still peanut buttery, gooey deliciousness for our palates!

Why I loved it: The food is always good. The atmosphere relaxed and easy and the nostalgia hard to beat! The Colophon Cafe menu says it best: “We are truly proud of the deep connection that the Colophon Cafe as cultivated during our tenure in this extraordinary community. In appreciation for our customers and neighbors, we are dedicated to business practices that promote both a healthy environment and a vibrant local economy. We support many local charities, and purchase our ingredients and supplies from quality, locally owned businesses whenever possible. The colophon Cafe is an active member of Sustainable Connections, a participant in Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power program, a founding partner of Bellingham’s “Toward Zero Waste” initiative and a Whatcom Watershed Business Steward!”

Cost: Average to high ($6-$15 per lunch entree)

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