Local roots grow from The Mason Jar


By Wilson Criscione, News Writer

Away from the corporate coffee shops and fast-food chains, students must venture further into town to find the heart of Cheney in The Mason Jar.

The Mason Jar, right on the corner of First and F Street, is a locally-owned bake shop and bistro. Since its opening over a year ago, it has been a haven for both college students and Cheney residents alike, with an emphasis on local flavor.

The food and coffee are regionally sourced. The live music on Thursday nights features local bands, many of which are comprised of EWU students. Even the dead leaves strung along the windows are taken from Cheney’s streets.

Douglas Labar, owner of The Mason Jar, aims to unite the town’s residents and students.

“When I was growing up here, there was a divide between town people and college students,” Labar said. “Having older people, farmers, in here eating their lunch next to 18-year-old college students from the west side is nice.”

With outdoor seating and a convenient downtown location, the venue, though small, is ideal for many musicians.

“The atmosphere is phenomenal,” said C.W. Twohy, an acoustic singer, songwriter and EWU student who recently performed at the bistro. “The outdoor setting is beautiful with the christmas lights.”

The Mason Jar also hosts many other unique community events such as book clubs, mom’s nights and, recently, a poetry slam led by Jonathan Johnson, a creative writing professor at EWU.

It is ready to open its doors to more events in the future.

“It’s nice to see new faces, and to see what kind of people are interested in different things,” Labar said.

The bistro is continuing to evolve along with its clientele, and is always looking to make improvements.

Lauren Mckinley of the jazz band Push, the first band to play at The Mason Jar, has already seen some of the improvements since the opening, such as an expansion of menu options to include seasonal favorites like pumpkin spice lattes and turkey dinner sandwiches. As another EWU student, she noted the variety of audiences at her band’s performances.

“Every time is different,” Mckinley said. “Usually it’s pretty packed.”

Labar is pleased with the environment he has created, but would like to push it even further.

“I want it to be very calm and relaxing, like that ‘Cheers’ atmosphere where everybody knows your name,” he said.