Bay eateries receive awards

Published on Wed, May 21, 2014 by Steve Guntli

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The Whatcom County Health Department has honored two area restaurants with the 2013 Silver Platter award for excellence in food safety. 

Birch Bay Pizza and The C Shop are two out of 42 Whatcom County restaurants acknowledged by the health department for earning excellent food inspection ratings in 2013. That’s up from 36 restaurants in 2012, when the only area restaurant to earn the award was Little Caesar’s Pizza in Birch Bay.

Patrick and Patricia Alesse founded The C Shop in 1971, and it has been at its present location at 4825 Alderson Road since the late 1980s. The store specializes in homemade candy and baked goods, but also serves deli sandwiches, pizza, coffee and ice cream. The Alesse’s son, Keith Alesse, currently runs the shop.

“We’re really pleased about the award,” Keith said. “We care a lot about our customers and we want the best for them.”

Keith said the store wasn’t even scheduled for an inspection this season, so he called the health department and requested one so he could be sure their winter renovations were up to code.

“They seemed pretty surprised that we would request an inspection,” he said. “But it was really satisfying when they came in and said, ‘This is the cleanest bakery we’ve ever seen.’”

Birch Bay Pizza replaced the Little Caesar’s franchise at Birch Bay Waterslides in June of last year. Despite being part of a seasonal attraction, the pizzeria has proven popular enough to remain open seven days a week year-round, though at reduced hours in the fall and winter. The restaurant will return to full-time summer hours with the opening of the waterslides on Memorial Day weekend.  

“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive the award,” said Iain Buchanan, the manager at Birch Bay Pizza. “It took a lot of hard work and effort so it’s great to be recognized. A lot of the credit goes to our staff, too. They’ve done a great job.” 

The restaurant is hoping to expand their operation in the next year by adding more seating, and will be partnering with the Birch Bay Waterslides as the official food service vendor to the park. 

The Whatcom County Health Department has been giving out the Silver Platter since 2008. To qualify for the award, an establishment must have zero red, or high risk factor, violation points on their inspection, and fewer than 10 blue low-risk violations. Only about 5 percent of Whatcom County establishments met the criteria for the award in 2013.