Take note, urbanites. There is civilization south of Ikea. Thanks to the draw of Kent Station mall, the busy ShoWare Center and a newly remodeled library, old town Kent has amped up its charm. The four-block stretch running from First to Fourth avenues, between Meeker and Titus streets, is lined with antique shops, restaurants, quaint little parks and, in true suburban style, plenty of free parking.
EAT & DRINK
A local hub housed in the town’s original post office, Wild Wheat Bakery (202 First Ave. S; 253.856.8919) features a tempting bread and pastry case and eager brunch seekers waiting for tables. >> A few blocks down is 3-year old Kona Kai Coffee Co. (124 Fourth Ave. S, Suite 180; 253.859.5662; konakaicoffee.net), where owners Mychal and Maryum Boiser serve up Kona coffee and Hawaiian-inspired lunch fare in a bright, airy space furnished with cushy couches. >> The traditional gyros at Spiro’s Greek Island (215 First Ave. S; 253.854.1030; spirosgreekisland.com) are stuffed with seasoned lamb and beef, and drip with the family’s homemade tzatziki. Grab one to go and chow down in the neighboring First Avenue Plaza pocket park, accented by a black and white landscape mural by local artist Don Barrie. >> Kazuyuki Shiwata crafts stellar sushi rolls at his teeny, one-man takeout operation, Sushi Kuine (202 W Gowe St.; 253.852.7070). >> Cap off your night with a dry one at David Bisharat’s new nightspot, Shindig Martini Bar (222 First Ave. S; 253.520.4705; shindigmartinibar.com).
SHOP, PLAY & PAMPER
The well-crafted mix of antiques, soaps, baby gifts and seasonal décor at quaint Fig & Feather (207 W Meeker St.; 253.854.5758) will lure you in off the sidewalk. >> Opened late last year, Titusville Trading Co. (205 First Ave. S; 253.347.1670;
facebook.com/TitusvilleTrading) is a treasure trove of delightfully obscure antiques, from vintage church pews to baseball memorabilia. >> In a brick building that dates to 1906, Steven and Donna Saint Louis’ Earthworks Gem Design Studio (235 First Ave. S; 253.859.4112; earthworksgem.com) offers both polished and hammered-silver jewelry. >> Indulge in some R&R at Lemon Drop Skincare & Massage (202 W Gowe St., Suite B; 253.854.2499; lemondropskincare.com), where owner Macey Boughter and her superfriendly staff provide facials (try the decadent Chocolate Power Skin Rescue, with a natural cocoa exfoliant) and massages in a serene little spot.
Couldn’t avoid jury duty? Take solace on your breaks at Kent Station (417 W Ramsay Way; kentstation.com). Across the street from the Maleng Regional Justice Center, the outdoor mall is home to locally owned chocolate haven Dilettante (253.852.3555; dilettante.com), glamorous accessories stop MARIE HAGEN ACCESSORIES (253.859.9769; mariehaggin.com) and charming décor store Bella Home & Garden (253.850.6912; bellahomeandgarden.com).