If you’ve lived in the Snoqualmie Valley for long, chances are you’ve been to one of Rich Maki’s restaurants.
Maki has had two restaurants in the Snoqualmie Valley over the past 30+ years. His first restaurant was the Fall City Grill on the Carnation side of the 202/203 bridge. Two floods, in the last four years he was open, convinced Rich to find another location.
So, when the former owners of the Cascade Golf Course were looking for someone to take over The Riverbend Cafe, Rich came to North Bend and had the Café with the most scenic patio on the Eastside for the past twelve years.
Now the property the Café sits on has been sold, and the lease has not been renewed. The Riverbend Café is closing, and the new owners will take over on November 1st.
I stopped by during one of the cafés last days and spoke to some VERY sad customers, such as regular North Bend resident Becky Bailey who said,
“I have been coming to the RBC since I moved to North Bend, almost 8 years ago. I’ll miss it terribly – it’s like a village pub to so many of the locals who frequent it, even if you come by yourself, you don’t feel like you’re drinking (or eating) alone. I have made so many friends here – we’ll always have those friendships and so many great memories.”
Long-time employee Sarah Larson who has worked at the RBC since she was a teenager commented,
“I’ve been working at the cafe since I was 16 years old and I’m now 27, I always say that working there has shaped who I have become as adult. Losing the cafe is like losing a best friend, and I know that is the case for many people. Working for Rich for all these years has been amazing and I am so thankful for the time that I have been given. I have made many friends while here and I am so thankful and appreciative of their support and love, and I will forever cherish the memories. This wasn’t just a job; it was home and losing it is leaving a void in many people’s lives.”
Former long-time employee and patron Hilary Shemanski told me,
“As you can imagine this is a rough night for the group here. We look around and all we see is family. We are trying to remember that it’s not the place and that is just the people, but my goodness Rich and the Riverbend made it so easy for us to be a family. We are forever grateful.”
As the Riverbend family gathered one last time to say goodbye there were more thoughts from those who stopped by for the farewell,
“The Cafe has been family! Both my boys worked here and it was great getting to embarrass them on a regular basis… just kidding. Well not about the family that you could count on for anything. We did football, BBQ’s, sporting events, weddings, and so much more over the years! It’s been great to go where everyone knows your name:) Cheers to Rich and the years of memories!!” -Rob & Carrie
“The only bar/restaurant where you can bring your kids and they become part of a massive family.“
“This place is great! I have so many memories of this place, from meeting some of my dearest friends to finding out i was pregnant here! The memories from this place will stay with me forever.” – Nicole
When asked what was next for him, Maki replied that he’d do whatever he wants and is being recruited (for work opportunities) by several people already. After he buttons things up at the cafe, he’ll cast a wide net and choose what makes him happiest.
In a closing statement, Maki said, “I’d like to give a heartfelt thanks to the Snoqualmie Valley residents for the three decades of support. I appreciate you and your kindness. Take care.”