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Kris and Kali Kelnero

Kelnero, Edmonds

"Kelnero" is the Esperanto word for "bartender" and Kris and Kali took this as their last name when they married in 2015.

Kris

Attended Mountlake Terrace High School. His first job was in a sandwich shop and worked at Spaghetti Factory and Claim Jumper before moving toward independently-owned restaurants. "It was great to understand corporate culture and structure. I was sucked into the restaurant industry right away and wanted something of my own.

"I was very into soccer when I was young, then played again in high school and while in Shoreline Community College." He improved, but it wasn't going to be a career. Bartending would be.

Kali

Kali attended Woodway High School in Edmonds, then attended Stanford, graduating in 2008 in environmental policy. "Unfortunately, that was not important in 2008 in the U.S. Jobs were scarce and I was up against PhDs with years of experience. There was a freeze on hiring for NGOs, in government, everywhere." She moved to Washington, D.C.to work on a temporary basis with Earth Justice. They wanted to hire her but couldn't and she hated the cold weather. So she moved to Hawaii and within two days had two jobs (coffee shop, surf shop) and a place to say. "It was the first time in my life I slowed down; Stanford is very intense."

Eventually she knew she'd have to get a grown-up job. She took a tech writer/data analysis job in Silicon Valley, a new-ish position in the company and was elevated quickly. She spent two years there working 100 hour weeks. "I got very sick from stress." Interested in conservation, the environment, and sustainability, she spent three months on an organic farm in New Zealand. She returned to Seattle and worked for Amazon for seven months, giving notice after five months.

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Kris and Kali met in 2011 or 2012, hit it off quickly, moving in together, and marrying in 2015. They met a bar where Kris worked. "I hit on her, a guest. You just don't do that," he laughs. Kali adds, "If you do, you better marry 'em!". Their first date was a day date for coffee, a ferry ride, and lunch. "How Pacific Northwest can you get", laughs Kali.

They both wanted to own something and since restaurants and bars were what Kris knew and Kali had also worked in the service sector, that's where they headed. First they took a year to marry and travel to Thailand and Australia, where they worked at a ski resort.

When they returned, Kali taught herself web design. "If our dream failed, I'd always have tech to fall back on," she says. "Kris is a bartender for life, he loves it. I didn't want to bartend or serve as a career, but owning a bar is different. It's very hard." Kris was bartending at Salt & Iron in Edmonds and Kali at Anthony's Beach Café. She eventually moved to Salt & Iron where she was a server.

They found a former dentist office in Edmonds, signed the lease in November 2017, went through an eight-month permitting process and seven more months of remodeling the office and building a front deck before they opened in February 2019.

April 2021


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Bargeen-Ellingson

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