Tony Frizelle is living the American Dream.
The naturalized American was born in Ireland, but is proud to call Bellevue his home. He has a wife, two children and celebrates his American citizenship on the Fourth of July. He’s more than a little proud to have opened his own small business at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens after outbidding other competitors.
The Copper Kettle Coffee Bar serves up hot and cold coffee, pastries and Italian cream sodas in the Shorts House at the gardens.
“Business has been really, really good,” Frizelle said. “I want that consistency, I want the summer business of course, but I want to have some regulars who come in all year round.”
The Copper Kettle offers loyalty cards and locally sourced ingredients. The coffee is roasted in Oregon and the pastries are made in Seattle.
And all of this almost didn’t happen. Frizelle was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer five years ago and was told by doctors to make preparations for his death. He had open chest surgery at Overlake Hospital Medical Center and then a stem cell transplant at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and has since made a full recovery.
“It was an eye-opener for me,” he said. “It was like my life had started again. I always wanted to start a business and thought this was the time.”
He approached the Bellevue Botanical Gardens with a business model. The city quickly approved it, opened the slot to the public and when Frizelle made the most compelling offer, he was able to open the coffee bar in late June.
Frizelle and his family live in the Bridle Trails neighborhood of Bellevue. He was a stay-at-home dad with Conor, 9, and Amy, 7, before opening Copper Kettle earlier this summer. His wife, Paula, works in the technology industry in the area.
Copper Kettle is open seven days a week, all-year long. Frizelle and his two employees Chloe and Zelie (a Bellevue resident and Sammamish resident, respectively) sling coffee from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day and longer on weekends or depending on business.
Frizelle is still marked with the Irish lilt he was raised with, but he and his family are American through-and-through. When asked what about Ireland would he more like to see either in Bellevue or at his business, he turned thoughtful.
“There is an Irish phrase, ‘Cead Mile Failte,'” he said. “It means one hundred thousand welcomes. In Ireland we are known for our hospitality, welcoming visitors and putting people at ease. That is exactly what I want to do at the Copper Kettle Coffee Bar at the Botanical Gardens. Making people feel welcome is very important to me.”