Taz Davis started baking 26 years ago. He baked as a hobby when he wasn’t working at his management job. “I managed things for other people for 25 years,” he explains. “I wanted work that would make me happy. As a manager I had to sit down with people and ask if that job really made them happy. I looked in the
mirror and had the same conversation with myself.” The answer changed everything.
About a year and a half ago, Taz set up a stand with his baked goods at the Astoria Sunday Market and saw instant success. “The support from the community right from the beginning was great,” he says. As the season progressed he started sprinkling in new products and he incorporated goods from other vendors at the market in his products. “I think that interaction between us in that environment is important,” he adds.
Taz is originally from California. He moved to Oregon about 17 years ago for work. He was supposed to be in Portland for just four months, but he ended up on the north coast long term. “I came from a beach community in Southern California,” he shares. “I fell in love with the Oregon coast because it reminded me of home. I found a great house with a yard for the dogs. I found a place to plant some roots.”
Taz opened a Table 360 storefront about three months ago, just a couple of weeks before Christmas. The business saw a lot of success from the market, so opening the storefront was easy. His partner saw the storefront on Commercial while the market was still going on, but Taz wasn’t quite ready. He didn’t think it was going to work out since he was just starting to look, but he hit it off with the landlords right away and decided the spot near 12th Street on Commercial in Astoria was a great match. He made the jump and signed the lease.
He put a sign up in the window during the market season, so people were aware. “This is a great community. We have great customers. We like to treat them like family. They are coming into our living room and getting a bite to share with their friends and family,” he continues.
Next up was gutting the entire space. All three levels are brand new, he even has brand new appliances. “This is the first time in my career I have had new equipment,” he adds. He repurposed 85 percent of materials and gave the rest to the Astoria theater program at the school to give back to the community. “Everything comes back to community,” Taz says.
“I want to create a French bistro meets Astoria waterfront,” he says, explaining his vision. “Something different for the community. Table 360 is all about taking the time to enjoy food. That’s really important in this age with how much time we spend on phones. We want to be that place where people have the option to come in and get something decadent. I use a lot of butter. It brings a smile to people’s faces. Everybody in town does something a little different. We balance each other out. Community is very important. Seeing people happy makes it all worth it.”
His next move is to open the Bistro and wine bar upstairs. Small plates and tapas will be served. He wants to compliment other downtown businesses. “I want to be the spot to meet before dinner or after the theater,” he says. There will be no set menu. The Bistro menu will change every eight weeks to a new continent to take Astoria around the world. Cuisine from Africa, Spain, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, somewhere in Asia, and France will be featured during the year.
Community and food are what really matter to Taz. He has a few favorites. Cupcakes, which are fun to experiment with combinations. Focaccia is how he gets wild and crazy, one of his breads is cherry, Parmesan, and sage, another is Meyer lemon focaccia. And his coffee cake changes every day, some are good, some don’t go over so well. He loves when people come back and asks for flavors again. “It makes it worth it,” he adds. His most popular items are his cinnamon rolls and sticky buns and all seven types of bread. “It’s all about taste,” Taz says. “When people walk in we make sure they get a taste of something.”
He does all of baking and it’s just him in the store a couple of days a week. Taz starts his mornings around 3:30 a.m., but he’s ok with that because he gets to be creative. “I make mistakes sometimes,” he shares. “I make sure everything tastes good before it hits the counter. There’s no errors. It’s fun stuff that’s fun to eat.” He keeps a file of flavors so he can keep track of what works and what didn’t work out.
He gets inspired for flavors based on what’s on hand and he tries to source ingredients locally when possible. For example, one time he got a bunch of figs and created a black tea and fig Danish. He also gets requests from customers. During the market, people would challenge him and he would follow through. A customer challenged him to an Irish car bomb cupcake, now it’s one of his most popular items. He continued the challenge and had one adult cupcake every Sunday. Some of the flavors included margarita, cosmo and chocolate whisky creme. Sometimes he just sees colors and comes up with foods that would go with it. For example, he saw a sun break after a lot of rain and wanted to capture it in food. That’s how he came up with the idea for his Meyer lemon bread.
One of the highlights (besides the food) of stopping by Table 360 is window shopping. Taz rotates the display in his windows and keeps the food in their fresh to entice people into coming inside.
He will be back at the Sunday Market for 2018, but will keep some of the more delicate food inside. He also caters private events and hosts special events at Table 360, such as a Mother’s Day and Easter Brunch.
1184 Commercial Street, Astoria
Tuesday-Sunday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.