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A Well of Options 

Liberty Lake's newest cafe has all the tools to meet its lofty ambitions

click to enlarge Natalie Gauvin opened the Well earlier this summer. - SARAH PHILP
  • Sarah Philp
  • Natalie Gauvin opened the Well earlier this summer.

The Well is a passion project. That much is apparent even if one hasn't talked to its owner, Natalie Gauvin. The unassuming cafe, a hybrid coffee shop/bar/teahouse/eatery, lies just off Country Vista Drive in Liberty Lake, and is the manifestation of a 20-year-long dream on the part of Gauvin, largely inspired by her time spent in comfortable European pubs.

The ambitious owner has decorated the place on a shoestring budget with an eclectic collection of items that has taken her two years to accrue from various sources, an endeavor fueled by Gauvin's dedication to sustainability and environmental consciousness, as well as her artistic tendencies. A pair of player-piano scrolls adorn one wall, a thrift shop treasure; another wall hosts a display of leafy plants housed in stained beer buckets attached via wall hooks; a keyboard sits next to one window because Gauvin wanted a place for her son to play. She welcomes its use by any guests; the same holds true for her guitar.

But appearances aren't everything, and Gauvin knows that. The small bar area boasts a collection of craft beers on tap. Lettuce wraps of Gauvin's own making (the one we tried was delicious and included berries, nuts and veggies with sweetness and spice), as well as healthy snack and dessert options, are also available to munch on. Gauvin went the distance to acquire a supply of British Fortnum & Mason tea, an elusive commodity in the States, to accompany the local tea options.

As far as the coffee goes, the owner has done her research. After recently discovering the wonders of espresso, Gauvin was sure to taste every roast she could find before settling on Indaba as the best and most flavorful of the bunch. Gauvin hopes to open The Well's drive-thru early on chilly winter mornings to serve up delectable sources of warmth.

My cubano latte ($4.50) was flavored tastefully with cinnamon and sweetened slightly by sugar. The house-prepared parfait ($3) with Greek yogurt, granola and blueberries is simple and tasty.

In case the wealth of alluring edible options aren't enough, nutrition classes and live performances by local musicians are also en route to The Well, the latter aimed for Thursday and Friday nights.

The Well's long list of neat ideas may sound unfocused, but its owner's vision seems crystal clear, and her considerable resolve is apparent.

"I put my heart and soul into it," Gauvin says. ♦

The Well Coffeehouse Pub & Eatery • Open Mon-Wed, from 8 am-6 pm; Thu & Fri, from 8 am-9 pm; Sat & Sun, from 9 am-5 pm • 21980 E. Country Vista Dr., Liberty Lake • • 474-1187

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