Cookies & Coffee Cafo Open By Fall

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When Chris and Russ Bowen moved to Payson last June, they discovered a void one they hope to fill when they open the Cookie & Coffee Caft Sawmill Crossing.

"There is definitely a niche in this town that needs to be filled for a gourmet coffee house," Chris said. Until recently, she was the assistant manager of the Payson Bashas' and will draw on that experience in opening her own caf
The Bowens hope to open their restaurant sometime around Sept. 1.

"We're going in right between Marble Slab Creamery and Quizno's Subs," Russ said. When he's not at the cafhe flies the medical transport helicopter for Payson Regional Medical Center.

"We'll be offering a variety of hot, fresh ground and brewed coffees, cappuccinos and lattes; an assortment of fresh, custom cookies, brownies, cheesecakes and bagels; and then the other assorted drinks and snacks," he said.

While Chris will manage the restaurant, Russ hopes his schedule will allow him to fill the assistant manager slot.

"I have a variety of business background," he said.

The Bowens plan to be open seven days a week, but will initially close in the early evening on weekdays. "We'll be closing at 6:30 p.m., with late hours until 9:30 on Friday and Saturday," Russ said.

"We'll be open for the early morning breakfast crowd, and then stay open late enough to catch some of the evening moviegoers."

Whether that schedule changes depends on the traffic.

Russ said he has conducted his own market research, and is counting on 25 percent of the theater crowd to generate a hefty impulse walk-in volume.

"We also hope to feed off Quizno's and Marble Slab, and hope they will benefit from us as well," he said.

Before moving to Payson, Chris worked at a Bashas' in Thatcher, where her custom desserts were popular items in the deli. "I was known for coming up with my own desserts and selling them out," she said. They included her own signature strawberry shortcake and blueberry surprise a sort of crust-less pie, she said.

Chris plans to serve her special desserts at Cookie & Coffee, but she also intends to give her customers plenty of chances to decide what they want.

"I'm hoping to experiment on my customers and see what they like," she said. "I'm a good cook, too, so sometime down the road we might have daily luncheon specials and things like that."

The new restaurant will sport a logo designed by Payson High School art student Summer Schneider winner of a competition in teacher George Conley's art classes.

The Bowens will be advertising for help in the near future.

"We'll probably hire as many as four full-time and six to eight part-time people," Russ said.

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