Many colors to paint the town


The Red.

This isn’t our lively and sparkling new Red Monkey Downtown Lounge; it’s the old Red Apple where my grandparents would go to the bar on a Saturday night and then again for brunch on Sunday morning.

It’s the Red Apple where college students could drink coffee and study next to teenagers out until curfew (yes, back when there was a curfew) eating french fries and drinking chocolate malteds.

The payphone was down the hall near the bar where music and loud laughter would float out into the quieter dining area.

One of our own local historians, Joe Drazan, recently sent me information about the The Red Apple. I had fun reading an ad from the early 1970’s about an entire turkey dinner for $1.50.

Is that even possible? I suppose if I were to investigate salaries and grocery prices, a dollar-and-a-half wouldn’t really be that unreasonable. But it makes me wonder how much my children will be paying for a turkey dinner in 30 years!

Coffee Connection Café, owned by Greg Clayton and Laurie Keef is now located in the building where The Red Apple served malteds and fries for more than 50 years. They pay homage to the bygone years with an antique apple-shaped cookie jar the owners found as they were remodeling the space.

Coffee Connection is a lot more elegant and brightly lit than I remember the Red Apple — but it still has the same warm feeling. I enjoy taking my children there for breakfast on occasion.

Now a Saturday night in Walla Walla may again bring energetic young people along the color wheel with a visit to the Blue Mountain Casino, a tavern still known for some of the best sandwiches in town, then on to The Green Lantern where a fire pit and ping-pong enliven the crowd. and ending up at the Red Monkey for dancing at the end of the night.

Walla Walla has so many other great night spots: Sapolil, Public House 124, Marcy’s and Vintage Cellars are all stylish and fun — despite the lack of color in their names.

Be it the Red, Green and Blue trifecta or one of the many other happening downtown restaurants, time out in Walla Walla is a guaranteed good time.

Sara Van Donge is a Walla Walla native and middle school dual language teacher. She can be reached at


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