Keg & Kork, Maple Moose Coffee Co., Now Open on Hermiston’s Main Street

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From left, Darren Dufloth, Paulette Dufloth, Preslee Dufloth, Amy Smith and Slade Smith sit inside Main Street Keg & Kork on Thursday, June 6 - the first day of business both for Keg & Kork and The Maple Moose Coffee Co. The two new Hermiston businesses are located at 395 E. Main St. (Photos by Michael Kane)

If the first day was any indication, Main Street Keg & Kork and Maple Moose Coffee Co., in Hermiston have a bright and profitable future.

Most of the tables were filled with customers as the two businesses opened their doors to the public on Thursday, June 6 at 395 E. Main St., the former home of the pawn shop, Columbia Outdoor Sports & Surplus.

“The first day is always nerve wracking, but exciting,” said Darren Dufloth, who operates Keg & Kork with his wife, Paulette. The day was highlighted by a late-afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.

Amy and Slade Smith purchased the building three years ago from the former owners. Slade, an electrician by trade, remodeled the former pawn shop. Anyone stepping into the Keg & Kork would not believe it used to be a pawn shop.

“I’m kinda crafty,” said Slade, who built the family home himself.

The plan was to be more landlord than business manager – find someone interested in operating a business out of the building.

“We didn’t want to run it,” Amy Smith said.

Preslee Dufloth serves a customer on Thursday, June 6 at Maple Moose Coffee Co., located in the corner of Main Street Keg & Kork.

They heard Preslee Dufloth was looking to expand her Umatilla coffee business, Maple Moose Coffee Co., and got in touch with her. Following an initial visit with the Smiths, Dufloth brought her father, Darren, to a second meeting.

“That got the ball rolling,” Slade said. Darren and his wife, Paulette, own The Bridge Bistro & Brews in Umatilla and were also interested in opening a restaurant in Hermiston.

After some discussion, the Dufloths could see how the 2,700-square-foot building could be home to both a restaurant with a coffee shop in the corner.

“As soon as we shared our idea with Slade, it was like, ‘That makes sense,’ ” Darren said.

“We always felt like a coffee shop would be a good idea,” Slade added. “But in our second visit (with the Dufloths), it turned into something more. It took a couple of minutes to realize we had an idea that we could be excited about.”

The Main Street location was attractive to the Dufloths.

“We were interested in increasing the traffic in downtown Hermiston,” Darren said. “This is a prime spot on Main Street with all the growth going around.”

Once the idea was set in motion, the Dufloths began envisioning what kind of restaurant they wanted to create. It needed to be more than just a place to eat.

“We wanted to create a space that is inviting, comfortable and safe,” Paulette said.

“We want it to be women-friendly,” added Darren. “We felt we needed something here where you could enjoy a really nice glass of wine – something we haven’t seen here.”

The wines available at Keg & Kork come from wineries from around the region including Sno Road, Good Ridge, Willamette Valley, Maryhill and others.

An afternoon crowd enjoys food and beverages at the Main Street Keg & Kork on Thursday, June 6.

The atmosphere is designed to be conducive to conversation and relaxation, Slade Smith said.

“It’s a very social environment,” he said, pointing to the crowded tables. “Look around you. You don’t see anyone on their phones.”

And, said Darren, “the food lends itself to connecting with people.”

“People get together to talk, to eat and to drink,” Paulette added.

Amy Smith agreed.

“We wanted it to be a little more elegant,” she said. “We don’t have bar food.”

The menu features appetizers or shareables such as smoke steak bruschetta, a charcuterie board, cheese board, Greek salad crostini and sandwiches ranging from BLTs to steak sandwiches.

As for the Maple Moose Coffee Co., that was the brainchild of Preslee, who was still in high school when she began planning her future as an entrepreneur.

“At 17, she had a vision for a coffee shop and had a business plan,” Darren said. “At the time, it was cheaper than buying her a pony. Not so much today,” he added with a laugh. Today, Preslee runs her Umatilla and Hermiston coffee shops with her fiancé, Trevor Wiley.

The hours for the Maple Moose are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Main Street Keg & Kork is open from 3 to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

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