For years, Dawn Lawson’s regulars have begged her to offer breakfast at Dawn’s Delectables, and for years she happily sent them down the street to her neighbors.
Last month, she opened The Coffee Corner in Dawn’s Delectables as a way to offer to her customers what they had been looking for.
“I think it was time,” she said of the new offering connected to her current restaurant.
Lawson started Dawn’s Delectables in downtown Centralia six years ago. She opened the company in 1998 while living in Maryland and brought the name with her seven years ago when she moved to Lewis County to be closer to family. Though she did not grow up in Lewis County, she visited frequently as a youngster. Her first summer job was at Mrs. Beesley’s Burgers in Toledo. She said she was looking for a home where she could become part of a place that had a real community feel.
Community is certainly what people feel at Dawn’s Delectables. The Centralia storefront is known as a hopping lunch place with a real family feel. And for Lawson, it really is a family affair with sons Jamar and Cameron working at the shop and mom Carla Hollinger always involved. Lawson said she enjoys feeding people good food and making them feel happy.
“I want this to be a place where people can come and share with their family and friends and not feel rushed to leave,” Lawson said.
When the corner space next to Dawn’s Delectables became vacant, Lawson said she was not sure whether she was ready for expansion but she felt strongly that she needed to leap at the chance.
“To be able to access a corner space in a prime downtown location is really special,” she said. “I thought it would lend itself to what I wanted to do.”
The coffee shop concept allows her to add a small breakfast menu without opening the entire restaurant for breakfast. The food menu at The Coffee Corner will include breakfast sandwiches and bagels with homemade cream cheese schmears. Cinnamon rolls, cookies, brownies as well as savory and sweet scones are also made fresh every morning.
“Those who are smart enough to meet me at 7 a.m. can have warm out of the oven scones,” said George Michael Boggess II, manager of The Coffee Corner.
Lawson said The Coffee Corner is an expansion of Dawn’s Delectables, so like its parent company, it offers food and drink that is locally sourced as much as possible with an emphasis on whole food selections. Some of the regional artisanal products offered include: JonBoy caramel sauce for coffees as well as caramel candies; Moonstruck Chocolates and Black Scottie Chai. Other unusual offerings include Numi Turmeric “golden milk” chai and Matcha chai.
“With Dawn, we’re shooting for real ingredients so we don’t have a lot of sugar-free flavors,” Boggess said.
For the espresso drinks menu, The Coffee Corner uses Café D’Arte Alderwood Roast. Boggess explained that it is a special coffee that is roasted by sight and smell rather than timing.
“So, it’s more of an artisan craft product and it makes really delicious espresso,” Boggess said.
The coffee corner offers both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a walk-up window off East Pine Street where people can swing by to pick up their favorite drinks.
Lawson has been active in the Centralia downtown, just recently finishing a term on the downtown association board. She said she feels Centralia is lucky to have several shops offering coffee, each with their own atmosphere and specialties. She said she believes adding another shop will not take away from other businesses but that a thriving downtown area benefits all.
“I hope we see even more in the future,” she said.
And while customers may be happy to hear they got their requests for breakfast, Lawson cautioned that not every customer wish is her command. She said she also has many customers who request her to be open for dinner and she does not plan to add that to her offerings.
“That’s just not something I’m interested in doing,” she said.