An ambitious Auburn couple has a dream, and their refreshing concept – dinner by the train – hopefully will succeed in the months ahead.
Cyndi and Bruce Fields are determined to complete the final steps that would open the doors to a 2,900-square-foot, 65-seat full-service restaurant at the Auburn Transit Station. The project – Fields & Co., at 110 Second St. SW, Suite 125 – is about 90 percent done. The restaurant has the potential to become a destination dining jewel along the rails, but has fallen short of cash – about $50,000 – to finish the dream.
“Our motto is persistence without exception,” Cyndi said. “This (idea) has come from nothing … not a lot of money, but a lot of faith.”
In today’s economic climate, it is often difficult for small business owners to get started. But the Fields are resolute in launching their project, a brainchild that began 1½ years ago.
In a weak and challenging economy, it has been a daunting project. Yet the couple is poised to open – with a little help.
As Bruce added, “Unless they change the locks, cut off my arms and legs and nail me to the floor, we’re not giving up.”
Faced with high gas prices, more commuters are opting for bus or rail, and providing an eatery at the transit station plaza stands as a good pitch to do some business. As Cyndi suggests, come “meet us at the station,” for an experience replete with the ambiance of an active train station.
It is something different and something new.
Such a dream, however, has come with some cost. The Fields, who have lived in the community since 1995, have taken out a second mortgage on their home. They have attracted investment partners, but need further help to close the deal.
Bruce, who worked for Fred Meyer for 25 years, wanted to make the switch from big corporation to small business. Cyndi shared in her husband’s motivation to open a classy restaurant that sells good food and company.
The Fields have had considerable support. The city and the Auburn Small Business Assistance Center have worked to make it possible. Harold Gambini, a real estate investor who bought the lease from the city where the restaurant stands, has been patient with the belief that progress will be made.
As with any restaurant, location is the key. Fields & Co. intends to pull in Sound Transit, Metro bus or vanpool commuters for a morning breakfast, afternoon bite or evening dinner or drink. Prime rib promises to be its signature dish.
“We are known up and down the train line,” Cyndi added. “People are asking about us, when we will be open.”
Furthermore, the reality of a restaurant will be the latest seed planted to help grow an evolving downtown, a sector undone by changing times and a sour economy.
“We want to bring life to downtown now,” Cyndi said. “There’s not a shortage of people who want to come downtown, but they need a reason to come downtown.”
The Fields also want to support and promote local arts. Having a destination restaurant, another employer, would be a good vehicle to do just that.
“This is our dream. We want to treat our people well, but it isn’t just for us,” said Cyndi, who is also working with the city and other leaders in developing a downtown farmer’s market.
“Naturally, we want to make a living, but we want to be part of the community.”
And Auburn, especially its dour downtown, needs all the help it can get.
On another subject
The Auburn Reporter is getting up to speed with its improved Web site, www.auburn-reporter.com. While we will continue to appear twice each week in print, we are making more of an impact electronically.
To better inform and respond to our readers, breaking news and regular updates will appear daily on the Internet.
As we continue our bi-weekly delivery, we hope to emerge with a more responsive and informative daily presence on the Web.
Mark Klaas can be reached
at 253-833-0218, ext. 5050, or