Charlo resident fulfills dream of running restaurant

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  • Erika Mastre stands beneath a colorful menu at Stella’s Bakery & Deli in Ronan. Her husband, Joel, bought the restaurant in 2015 and Erika runs the day-to-day operations. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

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    Stella’s Bakery & Deli, located at 62599 U.S. Highway 93, is under the ownership and mangement of Joel and Erika Mastre of Charlo. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

  • Erika Mastre stands beneath a colorful menu at Stella’s Bakery & Deli in Ronan. Her husband, Joel, bought the restaurant in 2015 and Erika runs the day-to-day operations. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

  • 1

    Stella’s Bakery & Deli, located at 62599 U.S. Highway 93, is under the ownership and mangement of Joel and Erika Mastre of Charlo. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

Walking into Stella’s Bakery & Deli, a cozy feeling is fueled by fresh flowers on each table and the smells wandering from the kitchen, filling the air.

Located at 62599 U.S. Highway 93 in Ronan, the restaurant is owned by Joel Mastre and run by his wife, Erika, both of Charlo.

Stella’s beginning came from a woman who owns the building, and named the restaurant after her mother. After running the restaurant for nearly a year, it was sold to Jayna Brown, who “made it what it is” with organic products and fresh produce. That owner had Stella’s for about four years.

Mastre worked at Stella’s for a couple months when it went up for sale in 2015. That’s when Mastre’s husband, Joel purchased the deli and bakery. Mastre said the transaction was official Dec. 1, 2015.

“I sort of always wanted to run a restaurant. It all worked out pretty well,” Mastre said Friday morning.

Mastre, who originally hails from Western Kansas, came to Lake County three and a half years ago to teach at Mountain Heights Mennonite School, working with first and second graders.

Since then, her sister, Tressa, has moved to help run the business, along with several friends from the area. There are four people who make up the staff, Mastre said.

Each day, an employee arrives about an hour before Stella’s opens to begin baking and cooking for the day, Mastre said.

One side that is a hit with customers is the bacon broccoli salad.

Starting out as an occassional side dish, Mastre said it is made more often these days.

“If we don’t have it, people get grumpy,” she said, adding, “Now we’re at the point we have to make it every day if we don’t want to upset the loyal clientele.”

The menu has been in place a while, Mastre said, and most items are named after mountains and roads in the area.

Something that is new, however, is a pie freezer stocked with frozen pies, ice cream, cookies and casseroles, available for purchase.

Stella’s has a loyal fanbase, Mastre said, but that the summer months help with business due to tourism.

“I think being connected to (Dobson Creek Coffee) helps,” she said. “It’s been awesome.”

The restaurant is connected to the coffee shop by a walkway.

Stella’s is open year round Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and closed Sundays.

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