Sano Café

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Photo credit: Sano Cafe

The homemade energy balls at the Sano Café taste like cookie dough, a surprise to anyone who expected the health-oriented café to be as vegetal as the “Green Machine” kale smoothie on the menu. Owner Lisa Nordstrom opened the crisp, modern café in the former Roberto’s spot, a place the life-long islander had grown up patronizing. And with the stylish café, she has created a place she seems most at home: face-to-face with customers in a space that is at once welcoming with warm wood and gleaming with a bright wholesomeness where customers delightfully indulge in clean eating.

“Isn’t it great?” She asks enthusiastically to a young customer walking out the door with his smoothie bowl. The acai bowl, filled with a mix of berries, bananas, and almond milk and topped with more fruit and local or homemade granola, are one of the top sellers. Another is the avocado toast, which is drizzled with lemon olive oil and sprinkled with hemp seed and sea salt. The toasts, made on Macrina bread and with the option to add cured wild salmon, are one of the only menu items that deviate from Nordstrom’s own diet of gluten free, vegan foods.

Photo credit: Sano Cafe

In fact, it was her own experience trying to eat out with dietary restrictions that led her to open Sano: “I wanted to provide a place people could eat in a healthy, but also delicious way,” she says, adding that she wanted it to feel welcoming for everyone – regardless of age and familiarity with the kinds of health foods she offers. Today, the mix of ages and backgrounds of customers streaming in and out of the café throughout the day show her success – a taste for her enticing, ultra-healthy food options has clearly taken hold on Mercer Island.

Sano Cafe is located at 7605 SE 27th St #111, Mercer Island, WA. Learn more at

Written by Naomi Tomky