New Businesses: The Plume Blooms and Kirkland Gets The Menchie's

Two new restaurants join the Kirkland canon -- a banh mi sandwich counter called Plume and the sugar-high frozen yogurt shop Menchie's.


ATTENTION KIDS, parents of kids, young professionals, middle-aged and old-timers...the wait is over. Your frozen yogurt needs can now be met at Menchie’s in Houghton Plaza.

Brent and Ashlie Johnson are the owners of the L.A.-based company’s newest franchise. Though the bubbly couple live across the pond in Seattle, they have a special connection to Kirkland. Thirteen years ago Brent popped the question during a jog along our beautiful waterfront.

The Menchie's location was formerly occupied by the Mediterranean restaurant Meze Grill. We mourned the loss of the city’s best hummus, but our tears soon dried in anticipation of the mother of all frozen yogurt stores.

You might be wondering what all of the hubbub is about. Menchie’s is the stuff of childhood dreams because it is all about doing it your own way. The price is figured by the final weight -- 45 cents per ounce -- but the method is as individualized as your fingerprint.

Pick up a bowl and choose your flavor -- or, more accurately, flavors. You can mix and match and swirl to your heart’s content. Chocolate Covered Banana with Green Pear Tart and a smidgen of Mango? Of course! Why not add a little side of Birthday Cake while you’re at it. The possibilities are practically endless with 10-16 instore and nearly 100 rotating flavors.

Once you have your clearly award-winning combination, head over to the toppings bar where a veritable rainbow of options await your genius. My son chose the standby combination of sour gummy worms and Nerds candy. His sister mixed things up with an unexpected duo of malt balls and Sour Patch Kids.

Adults might pretend they are spooning fresh, healthy berries into their bowl, but they are probably sneaking in a scoop of cookie dough and a drizzle of liquid marshmallow. Check your foie gras palate at the door and give your inner child free reign. When in Menchie’s, do as the munchkins.

Join the grand opening celebration this Saturday (July 28) at 11 a.m. The first 20 customers will receive free frozen yogurt for a month (limited to one per day). The first 50 customers get a Menchie’s t-shirt. A balloon artist will be adding whimsy to the mix from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Menchie’s is located at 935 6th St. S., Suite 935, Kirkland, WA 98033. Follow “Menchie’s Houghton Plaza” on Facebook for further details.

Plume Opens on Kirkland Ave

In other tasty news, the Vietnamese-themed sandwich shop Plume opened May 29 downtown at 117 Kirkland Ave. The menu is small, specializing in banh mi sandwiches (French baguettes filled with grilled meat and tangy veggies) and spring rolls without a bowl of pho in sight. Keep it simple and do it well is owner Ton Nguyen’s motto.

“My friends were always asking me to pick up banh mi sandwiches for them in Chinatown, so I finally decided to open my own place,” says Nguyen. “It’s like a Subway or Jimmy John’s -- only with more flavor!”

Formerly in the mortgage business, Nguyen jumped on the prime location as soon as he heard about it. He chose a clean modern interior design sensibility with high ceilings and concrete floors. The walls are spare, adorned with boldly delicate black branches and red blossoms.

Kirkland is the first of several potential Plume locations around the Seattle area, adding to the extremely popular cache of ethnically-themed fast food restaurants. While traditional American fast food is the posterchild for an unhealthy diet, global cuisines like that offered at Plume are “fresh, fast, flavorful” alternatives.


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