Two of the most happening, hoppingest spots in Bandon are owned by the same local couple, Steve and Margaret Pounder. Many days, especially in the summer, it is not unusual to see a line out the door at the Bandon Coffee Café and maybe only one of the many outdoor tables at the Bandon Fish Market vacant. The Pounders knew what they were doing when they decided to get into the fish ‘n’ chips and the coffee businesses.
Steve and Margaret spent many years in Couer d’Alene, Idaho before buying land just outside of Grangeville, Idaho where they were in agriculture for 8+ years. They were not necessarily looking for a new adventure when in early 2001, they visited friends who had bought property on the Sixes River and who were encouraging them to move to the coast too. To the Pounders, who had never lived on the west coast, Oregon seemed very far and very wet. They enjoyed their visit, but were still unsure, thinking also about the lack of job or business opportunities on the relatively rural coastline. They visited again that summer, and driving by the Bandon Fish Market where they had eaten previously, their daughter pointed out the small “For Sale” sign in the window. They called the number when they returned to their campsite at Bullards Beach, and within 6 months, they had purchased the restaurant and moved to Bandon.
When the Pounders bought the Bandon Fish Market, their own observations plus the panicked questions from patrons fearful of change, convinced them that they would change almost nothing about it. They saw a successful business with a loyal customer base and wisely decided there was no reason to fix what wasn’t broken. One change they did make was to discontinue the previous owners’ practice of closing for a couple of months in the winter, and they haven’t regretted it. Although they may not be as busy, they still have plenty of customers hungry for fish. The bit of breathing room they get does allow them to offer some unique menu items such as sushi, fish tacos, and lobster rolls. In addition to serving prepared meals, Steve and Margaret continued offering fresh seafood in their fish market case year round, all local to the west coast, including nearby Charleston.
Bandon Fish Market’s signature meal is their Fish ‘n’ Chips, served with fries and coleslaw or garlic toast. They also offer a variety of other seafood dishes such as jumbo prawns, clam strips, a halibut burger and clam chowder as well as a few options for those not fond of fish: corn dogs, chicken strips, and mac ‘n’ cheese.
After being in Bandon a few years, the Pounders bought the RayJen coffee house in 2005 when the previous owners decided to focus on their coffee roasting and bought a larger facility. They made many changes to the place, renamed it Bandon Coffee Café and were off and running. They continue to use RayJen’s locally roasted coffee as well as Goodbean Coffee from Jacksonville, Oregon, and Longbottom Coffee from Hillsboro, creating unique tasting coffee for their customers’ palates.
Besides their many fun coffee drinks, the Coffee Café’s crews freshly bake and create a wide variety of cookies, bagels, pastries, muffins, salad, soup, sandwiches, and even smoothies for tasty breakfasts and lunches that people can enjoy in the warm, welcoming environment. The coffee shop also doubles as an art gallery. On any given day, one can find photographs, drawings, paintings, and wood art hanging on the walls, all done by local artists.
Margaret and Steve feel very lucky to have found the food suppliers they have for both restaurants. They are confident that they have found quality ingredients to serve to Bandon’s residents and visitors. Margaret and Steve also feel very fortunate to have the amazing, hard working staff that make up the friendly crews at both restaurants. A few positions are rotating, but many of the employees have been around a long time and don’t have plans to go elsewhere. That consistency is clear in the quick and friendly service and the great coffee and food we can all count on. It’s no wonder they stay; Margaret makes sure that the basic food is available but also gives the crew some flexibility in what they make, allowing for their skills and creativity to be put to good work.
After 14 years with the Bandon Fish Market and 10 years at the Bandon Coffee Café, Steve and Margaret are ready to move on. Both restaurants are for sale, but they will not just sell to anyone. Although they have had quite a bit of interest,
many people want to buy the businesses and then run them from afar. The Pounders, however, are holding out for someone local to buy them, committed to keeping everything about their places all about Bandon.
Margaret isn’t quite sure at this point what life after running two successful restaurants and serving as president of the Bandon Chamber of Commerce will hold for her and her husband. Perhaps they will find another business adventure to enjoy, perhaps they will take up golf…but she is in no hurry to decide. They will, however, stay in Bandon. “Why would you leave?” is her rhetorical question. “The weather is perfect!”
The Pounders’ presence and business style will surely be missed when they eventually find the right people to buy the fish market and coffee shop. Undoubtedly, everyone who has had the pleasure of dining at one of these two spots hope that the next owners will follow in their footsteps and keep things going in the same warm and delicious ways that have made these two Bandon fixtures so successful.
Bandon Coffee Cafe
Open 6 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday
365 2nd St. SE in Old Town Bandon
Find them on Facebook!
Bandon Fish Market
Open 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday
230 2nd St. SE in Old Town Bandon
Find them on Facebook!