Scene: D&M Coffee owners expand to pizzeria on Third Avenue

BY COLLIN JOHNSON, Staff Reporter

Four weeks ago, D&M Coffee Co. opened a pizza restaurant across the street from Safeway.  Owners Donna Malek and Mark Holloway established Cornerstone Pie with the full intention of giving Ellensburg the contemporary, artistic and eco-friendly touch that it needed.

“What we want here, is what we’ve had to go out of town to do,” Malek said.

What Holloway hopes to bring to what would otherwise be a typical Ellensburg restaurant is a tasteful atmosphere. Holloway describes it as “Good music, good food [and] good visuals.”

The establishment eminates an intimate, inventive flare that is scarcely available elsewhere around town.

“You gotta be creative if you want to stay in Ellensburg,” Holloway said.

Being that both Donna and Mark were art majors at Central years ago, art and creativity have always been important to the two in all their business related endeavors.

“We always wanted to support the arts,” Holloway said.

Cornerstone Pie is the kind of place where there is a story for everything.  The essence of Ellensburg is present in every corner of the establishment, with the kind of artistic flair that has not always been acknowledged in this small town.

The rocks outside the restaurant were excavated from the hills surrounding the town.

The fact that the demolition of the old hospital building on third avenue, coincided with the construction of the restaurant gave Holloway and Malek an opportunity to recycle materials and give a creative, “green” look to their restaurant.  The old hospital doors and large surgical lighting fixture over the food preparation area are the most noticeable.

“Creativity has been pretty important to the whole space, and music is just another form,” Holloway said.

Cornerstone Pie is now the home of Central’s Jazz Club weekly jam session, that in the past had been quite popular, but had no permanent space to house itself.

“The jazz jams were kind of a big thing in the past, but they had kind of lost a home. It moved around a lot of places,” Dan Baker, senior music education major, said.

As soon as the restaurant opened, the jazz jams began to take place, with the     encouragement of Holloway, as well as the hard work and effort put forth by senior music education major Martin Pittis.

“I’d been working for Mark, so I asked him maybe a year ago, and [he] just said ‘yeah’,” Pittis said.

Ellensburg has been notorious in the past few decades for struggling to have a location to host live music.

“The first night was outstanding. The doors were open and the people were overflowing to the outside,” Baker said.  “It was just a party, in general.”

“It is first of all, a pizza place,” Holloway said.  “It’s not like it’s a music venue, but we love having cool music as a part of it.”

It was Malek and Holloway’s dream to have a restaurant of their own since they started their coffee business, while at the same time turning an old church into Yellow Church Cafe, which they subsequently sold after establishing in order to focus more on growing their coffee business.

“We’ve got the infrastructure for this now,” Malek said.

Indeed they do, with their office for the business also housed above the restaurant.

“If it fits the space, if it’s good music and people want to come and hear it, we would be interested in doing it,” Holloway said.

Cornerstone appears to be successful in all the new things they have been trying.  From the brick, wood-fire pizza oven, to the recycling of pieces from Ellensburg’s past and the support of music clubs at Central.

The restaurant has an authentic Italian cuisine combined with different creative modifications and locally harvested ingredients by Holloway’s friend and current head chef K.C. Camarillo.

“Not everyone gets it,” Malek said. “It’s going green, and it looks cool.”

Native Ellensburg musician Shane Scheib who recently performed at Cornerstone Pie, had not returned to Ellensburg since he graduated Central in 2004, highlighted his appreciation towards the establishment.