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Hospitality is on the menu

INDEPENDENCE -- Bethany Schamp and Scott Viegas may go hours before a customer they don't know walks in the door of their recently opened Lion's Share Coffeehouse & Bakery.

Scott Viegas and Bethany Schamp opened Lion' Share Coffeehouse & Bakery on Feb. 17 in Independence, following a four-month remodel of the Main Street space.

Photo by Pete Strong

Scott Viegas and Bethany Schamp opened Lion' Share Coffeehouse & Bakery on Feb. 17 in Independence, following a four-month remodel of the Main Street space.

April 23, 2013

INDEPENDENCE -- Bethany Schamp and Scott Viegas may go hours before a customer they don't know walks in the door of their recently opened Lion's Share Coffeehouse & Bakery.

Even then, it doesn't take long before a brand new customer becomes a friend at Lion's Share.

Viegas and Schamp say they are simply offering the same hospitality given to them as they spent four months on an extensive remodel of their bakery at 286 S. Main St. in Independence.

"I think that is one of the things that is really amazing is the number of people who come out of the woodwork to help you with anything -- and I mean anything," Viegas said.

Fellow business people and vendors at the farmers market they belong to lent them tools, labor and advice. Viegas said even Independence Mayor John McArdle came in one weekend afternoon when the process seemed to be dragging and gave him a coach-style pep talk about not giving up.

"It was really heartwarming," he said. "It was amazing."

The coffeehouse and bakery opened Feb. 17, after the couple stripped the space down to its original brick and fir walls and high ceiling. The change gives the coffee shop an open atmosphere that the couple is grateful for during its increasingly busy weekends, when the bakery offers live music and special events.

"We cleaned up pretty well," Viegas said in the midst of a late-morning rush Monday.

Previously part of Ovenbird Bakery just down Main Street, the pair are both chefs and bring a variety of experience in bakeries and catering to their new venture.

"We basically wanted to do this since 2009," Viegas said. "We've really worked to get to a spot where we are comfortable doing this. It would be weird to do something else."

In the process of doing what they love, Schamp and Viegas try to incorporate as much as they can from local farms and producers in the menu that changes daily.

Lion's Share offers a variety of breads, scones, croissants, pastries and other baked goods filling the counter display. Soups, sandwiches and salads are served for lunch.

Viegas has begun to prepare egg breakfasts on request. He's found that customers trust him enough to just let him create something for them.

"All I need to know is whether they have an allergy or are a vegetarian," Viegas said.

Schamp noted while most items on the menu rotate, one thing is guaranteed to be there everyday: croissants. She said people drive from as far away as Portland to buy the delectable creations.

"It's gotten to the point where we are not allowed to not have one," Schamp said.

The couple is constantly experimenting with recipes, with Viegas the creator and Schamp the menu "gatekeeper," making the final decisions on what will be served. Viegas uses a unique gauge for success when trying out something new.

"Doing dishes is the greatest way to find out if you are as great as you think you are," he said laughing. "Doing your own dishes and taking out your own trash, you see what was scraped off. And when you see clean plates, you think `That was a great day.'"

Coffee, Croissants and a Smile

What: Lion's Share Coffeehouse & Bakery.

Where: 286 S. Main St., Independence.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On the menu: Drinks: espresso, brewed coffee, teas, and cocoa; food: baked goods featuring breads, scones, croissants and other pastries, as well as sandwiches, salads, soups and quiche.

Contact: 503-837-0324.

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