Now Hiring: Jobs in Issaquah Highlands

RegalJob hunting? A great career opportunity may be right on your doorstep at Grand Ridge Plaza. Many merchants are hiring for management roles, as well as full-time and part-time positions.

Merchants with current job openings include:

  • Jos. A. Bank
  • Safeway
  • DICK’S Sporting Goods
  • BevMo!
  • Ulta Beauty and The Salon at Ulta
  • Zumiez
  • Francesca’s Collection
  • Soma Intimates
  • Marshalls
  • HomeGoods
  • Agave Cocina & Tequilas
  • Regal Cinemas
  • Chinoise Café & Sushi Bar
  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • barre3 Issaquah Highlands

To learn more, visit each merchant’s website or drop by Grand Ridge Plaza.

Issaquah Job FairJob seekers also have the opportunity to meet potential employers at the City of Issaquah Job Fair from 2 to 5 pm on Tuesday, May 17. Held at Pickering Barn – across from Costco at 1730 10th Avenue NW – the annual job fair welcomes people of all ages seeking full-time and part-time. The event is sponsored by the City, the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, the Issaquah School District and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County.


PinkaBella Cupcakes: Bakery On the Rise

PinkaBella Cupcakes Issaquah Grand Ridge Plaza

PinkaBella Cupcakes 1It’s Olive Crest’s biggest event of the year and there’s not a moment to spare. The Seattle-based non-profit is counting on PinkaBella Cupcakes to transform their gala’s dessert dash into the Grand Prix of fundraisers. With a commitment to donate 46 freshly-baked cakes, PinkaBella founder Margo Engberg has a tall order to fill. Working through the night, her team creates the most tempting cakes you’ll ever see. At the gala, the cakes alone raise more than $16,000 for child abuse prevention.

Giving back to the community is a key ingredient for PinkaBella Cupcakes, a locally-owned and operated small business. Founded in Redmond, Washington in 2009, Engberg brought her secret recipe to Grand Ridge Plaza in 2014.

PinkaBella has established a reputation for consistently delicious cupcakes. The bakery also specializesMargo Engberg in custom cakes for weddings and birthdays, as well as business and community events. More than 100 flavors are available. The most popular? Red Velvet, Coconut and Salted Caramel.

Engberg’s story started with a birthday party: “When I adopted my three children from Guatemala, I learned they had never had a birthday party. So, it was a thrill to bake cupcakes just for them. When they started school, I volunteered to be the birthday party mom and created one-of-a-kind cupcakes for kids whose families couldn’t afford treats for their birthdays. It was a simple way to make the day very special. Several moms suggested that I explore the idea of opening my own bakery – and it grew from there.”

PinkaBella Cupcakes 2Engberg’s philosophy of giving back to the community is integrated into every aspect of PinkaBella. To date, she’s donated more than 500,000 cupcakes and $500,000 to local non-profits and community events, including the Issaquah Schools Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Engberg emphasizes helping families and kids, and is especially motivated to support causes that help the disenchanted – people who are hurt and lonely. Sleepless in Seattle, an organization that gives sleeping bags to the homeless, is among the charities that benefit.

PinkaBella’s next big move? In addition to creating new cake flavors, the company launched franchising opportunities with hopes to expand across the Pacific Northwest.

Engberg is also busy on another front: starring in the new TV series, Relative Race. A cross betweenPinkaBella Cake The Amazing Race and Who Do You Think You Are?, the series features her racing across the country with her husband Doug to discover long-lost relatives. Relative Race is currently airing Sundays on BYUTV.

PinkaBella Cupcakes is located at 936 NE Park Drive and features a party room for birthday parties, baby showers, meetings and special events. You can even throw a tea party and decorate your own cupcakes. To learn more, visit All special orders can be picked up at Grand Ridge Plaza.

Cake photo courtesy Olive Crest – Ilya Photos with thanks.


Dining out with kids, Part II

What are your dinner plans? If you can’t face another bowl of spaghetti, there are plenty of options for dining out as a family at Grand Ridge Plaza. In this second blog in a series, we’ll pay a visit to three restaurants that have a knack for making kids – and their parents – very happy. These sit-down, full-service restaurants offer something for everyone.

ChinoiseChinoise Café: Founded by chef Thoa Nguyen, Chinoise Café features Pan Asian cuisine in a modern  atmosphere. Chef Thoa brings together favorite dishes from the kitchens of Japan, China, Hawaii, Thailand and Vietnam, with menu choices ranging from sushi to Cashew Chicken and Beef Tenderloin Pho.

Chinoise Café is a great place to eat family style or split a  dish between two kids. Kids love the Basil Green Bean Beef and Shanghai Noodles. For those who don’t love sharing, options on the kids menu are in the $7 to $8 range and include Teriyaki Chicken with Broccoli, Ninja Noodles and Kids Pho. Each kids meal includes a choice of juice, soda or milk.

AJI SushiAJI Sushi & Grill: Chef Danny at AJI Sushi & Grill has made a convert out of many a skeptical kid who wouldn’t try sushi. AJI is a family favorite thanks to its varied menu options. Whether you want to eat family style or choose your own dish, everything is made fresh-to-order.

Chef Danny will create a dish that meets your needs, so feel free to make special requests. The menu spans sushi offerings that change daily to hot, cooked dishes such as Chicken Teriyaki and Seafood Yakisoba.

The RAM IssaquahThe RAM Restaurant & Brewery: Mini cheeseburgers, flat bread pizza and salads are just a few of the kids menu choices at The RAM. Known best as a sports bar and brewery, The RAM is a fun place to dine out as a family. Most items on the kids menu are priced between $7 and $8, and include carrots and a choice of fresh fruit, RAM chips, fries or salad. We recommend dining at The RAM on Monday nights when kids eat for just $1 with the order of an adult entrée.

People flock to The RAM for their classic burgers, steaks and beer, but there are also entrée salad options and lower-fat/lower-calorie options. The RAM currently offers eight gluten-free choices, including Roasted Mediterranean Chicken. (Like most restaurants, it’s not a gluten-free environment.)


Dining out with kids, Part I

Taking kids out for dinner is never simple, whether you’re picking up take-out or celebrating a special day. But many intrepid parents can – and do – enjoy dining out with kids, especially at family-friendly restaurants.

At Grand Ridge Plaza, all restaurants welcome kids and have menus that combine tasty options with good nutrition. In the first blog in this series, we focus on three restaurants that offer full-service in a casual, sit-down environment: Bai Tong Thai, Agave Cocina & Tequilas and The Big Fish Grill.

Bai Tong Thai Food 3Bai Tong Thai: Locally co-owned by sisters Chadillada (Noi) Lapangkura and Noina Champayom, Bai Tong Thai offers a genuine taste of Thailand. At Bai Tong, we recommend eating family style and sharing multiple dishes. Kids love the noodle dishes, not just the Pad Thai: You can’t go wrong with wide rice noodles like Pad Khi Mao and Pad See-Iew. Another family favorite is the Crispy Garlic Chicken, which is the most requested dish on the menu. When ordering, ask for only one star of spice and let your server know the dish is for young children.

If you love spice and heat, we suggest splitting your choices between the kids and adults (noodles for them, curries for you.) Tip: Try their brown jasmine rice for its unique flavor and texture – and don’t be shy about asking for recommendations. Bai Tong Thai is located at 1520 Highlands Drive NE across from Ulta Beauty.

3Q6A8416Agave Cocina & Tequilas: Locally-owned by the Ramos family, Agave is a perennial favorite of families, and not just because it offers 2 For 1 adult brunch entrées from 10 a.m. to noon on weekends. You’ll be surprised at how eagerly kids gobble down Agave’s bean sides – and everyone loves shareable dishes like fajitas. Items on the kids menu are priced at $6 and up. Options include enchiladas, tacos and quesadillas, plus a grilled cheese sandwich.

Agave has built a loyal following over the years by using no preservatives, trans fats or lard, and most of their menu items are gluten-free with the main exception being the flour tortillas. They also offer vegan and vegetarian options. Bonus: Every Tuesday is Tequila Tuesday with half-price select sipping tequilas and $3 tacos. Agave is located at 1048 Park Drive NE next to Kumon Learning Centers.

Big Fish Grill Food photos 098The Big Fish Grill: Locally-owned by the Orrico family, The Big Fish Grill’s kid’s menu offers dishes in the $6 to $8 range, including Cod Fish & Chips and Chicken Tenderloins. We’ve heard from young diners that the Kid’s Seared Wild Salmon with Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Veggies is delicious (an adult entrée version is also available). Each kid’s meal includes milk, juice or soda, and they’ll substitute fresh fruit for fries.

The relaxed setting and pleasant service make for a great evening out. The restaurant also gets kudos from adults for their Seafood Cobb Salad and Wagyu Bacon Cheddar Burger, as well as their Happy Hour. BONUS: Kids eat FREE on Monday nights. You’ll receive one free kid’s meal with every paying adult at your table. Big Fish Grill is located at 984 NE Park Drive next to Regal Cinemas.


Gear Up for Spring

Zumiez SunglassesSigns of spring are everywhere across the Puget Sound, from the explosion of new plants and flowers to neighbors washing down outdoor furniture. For many, it’s time to emerge from a state of semi-hibernation, dust off sunglasses and get outside for some Vitamin D. Springtime is also when we realize that last year’s children’s clothes don’t fit anymore – and that our hiking shoes aren’t going to make it up Twin Falls again.

Carter's Bathing SuitsWhen it’s time to shop for children’s clothing, we head straight to our Carter’s boutique. New baby and toddler summer lines are in-stock and the designs are adorable.

Known for good quality and great prices, Carter’s has everything from teeny-tiny onesies with matching hats to baby gowns with elasticated bottoms for middle-of-the-night changes. Sizes range from Newborn to Size 8. Preemie sizes are available online. How to Save: Sign up for their email newsletter for coupons.

ZumiezOur Zumiez store is a fun place to shop for kids, tweens and teens. Zumiez carries skateboard and streetwear brands such as LRG, Volcom and Neff (side note: Neff makes the soft cotton t-shirts kids love). Sizing starts at Little Kid Small, which is close to a standard size 5. (The XS fits many first-graders.)

Some of the clothing lines are billed as Boys clothing, but they look equally great on girls. Zumiez also features shoes by Vans and Nike, plus hats, swim suits and socks. How to Save: Sign up for their email newsletter for deals.

DICK'S Sporting GoodsWhen the kids need new cleats – or you need running shoes to keep up with them – DICK’S Sporting Goods is a helpful resource. The children’s section includes footwear for seasonal sports, as well as sandals and water shoes.

DICK’S Sporting Goods has a large selection of kid’s sports gear and clothing, featuring brands such as Under Armor, Jordan and Quicksilver. Sizes range from 2T up to Kids 20. How to Save: Sign up for their free ScoreCard program. You’ll earn one point for every dollar spent: 300 Points = $10 Reward. Their mobile app is handy for finding coupons while you’re in the store.

Photos of Zumiez and Carter’s by Shubha Tirumale Photography.