Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Business takes over Wild Bleu concessions, going from drive-through to full-scale restaurant.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - John Williams, owner of Dancing Bean, mixes a drink in the kitchen at the restaurant-coffee shop's new location at Wild Bleu on Fifth Street. Williams, who had been looking for a place to move his operation for years, said they have been very busy at the new downtown spot.
The Dancing Bean, a longtime Madras coffee shop, has a new home and larger menu, after expanding their business and moving in to Wild Bleu on Fifth Street.

"It's very different for us because we don't know, coming down here from the drive-through, what it's going to be," said John Williams, owner of the Dancing Bean. "It's changed dynamic a whole lot, a whole lot more food. I mean we still do a lot of coffee but the food has really picked up."

The coffee shop made the transition after being approached by the owners of Wild Bleu when the Human Bean moved in just across the parking lot from where the coffee shop's drive-through stand was located, in the Les Schwab parking lot on the north end of town.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - Specialty coffee drinks are still very much available at Dancing Beans. Above, the general manager, Katie Fleischmann, prepares a concoction. Dancing Bean offers both breakfast and lunch. 
"Actually, the Human Bean didn't really affect us a whole lot, but we have been trying for a couple of years to find a place we could do just exactly (what we are doing now)," Williams said. "We really liked what Wild Bleu had going on as far as the family friendly atmosphere and the bands and the whole nine yards. That was really something we wanted to be a part of."

Williams said Wild Bleu isn't going anywhere. The crafting business will work with the Dancing Bean and still hold their crafting events. He described the arrangement as a "strategic partnership" in which the coffee shop is able to expand and the crafting business is able to operate with more stability.

Before Dancing Bean moved into the space, Wild Bleu had sporadic hours, and were bound by whether or not they had food trucks on site because of regulations surrounding alcohol sales.

He said, "We kind of took over the concessions, you might say," mentioning that a good way to describe the new arrangement is the lead of the business changed, but no one went away.

Officially opening in the new location May 1, William's said, "Things have been amazing, better than we anticipated."

The new food menu at the shop features breakfast burritos, breakfast bowls, and biscuts and gravy, to list a few. The lunch menu includes, Reuben sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken pesto wraps and cashew chicken salad.

Many of their customers followed them from the drive-through stand, according to Williams, and they have gained more customers from the change creating a new demographic for the business.

There have been some glitches in the system, he said, but overall the transition from drive-through to full-on restaurant and coffee shop has gone well. There have been a few instances where they have run out of certain foods from demand.

"We are still trying to gauge how busy we are going to be on any given day," said Williams.

For example, at one point while offering burgers and brats from the grill, they ran out of buns, not knowing how busy they would be. The shop makes all of its baked goods in house. "It's not like we can just open another package of buns," Williams said.

They learned from the experience and since then have been making more to cover the demand.

"It's just been a learning curve," he said.

The shop goes out of its way to be a family-friendly space, providing chalk for families to draw on the retaining wall outside and the general manager, Katie Fleischmann, said she usually has bubbles out there as well. They also have yard games like cornhole, horseshoes and darts.

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