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The newly expanded Black Sheep restaurant and bar is now located at the former Goat Mountain Pizza space. // Photo by Christa Yaranon By Christa Yaranon Amidst the chatter of customers seated outside of a front patio, by an entrance decorated with string lights and an eye-catching atmosphere, the newly expanded Black Sheep restaurant located on West Holly Street reopened on June 10. The building, which once housed the former Goat Mountain Pizza, has gone through new changes within the past few months.  Charlie Pasquier and Chas Kubis, owners of both businesses, closed Goat Mountain Pizza on March 31 and moved Black Sheep next door into the vacant space. Pasquier and Kubis had various reasons for their new business direction. One of these reasons was to focus more on Black Sheep, which has shown success as a late-night bar frequented for its original cocktails and homemade tacos. We needed to let Black Sheep grow and next door was kind of staring at us in the face,” Pasquier said. “Goat Mountain Pizza was always meant to be in a smaller space, as a little neighborhood slice pizza shop and we had envisioned the Black Sheep taco bar in a big space.” With these changes, Pasquier hopes that customers can continue to support the business despite its new direction. “The Bellingham community is kind and wonderful. They’ve supported us as we grow and evolve and we’re really excited to continue offering new things to all friends and neighbors around town,” Pasquier said. “Hopefully the community likes the move and loves the new space as much as we do. We really tried to bring the same energy over from next door and then expand on it.”  Employee Anna Blades has already witnessed community support since its expansion by observing audience interaction on a day-to-day basis.  “Everyone that I've talked to has been really positive,” Blades said. “Most people like the fact that they can come in here and won’t have to worry about not getting a table when it gets busy, so that's been really nice to see.” [caption id="attachment_32376" align="alignnone" width="860"] Customers enjoy outdoor seating in the front patio of Black Sheep. // Photo by Christa Yaranon[/caption] Pasquier said the restaurant also focused on adding new features with the move, such as more seating, tall brick walls, giant skylights, living plants and natural light, adding to the atmosphere the owners originally envisioned for the space.  One factor that lead to expanding the business focused on how the original restaurant couldn’t accommodate as many customers as well as its staff workspace.  “I was mostly looking forward to a bigger space for the restaurant,” employee Tabitha Gilbert said. “Those both go hand in hand. I bartend here so it's nice to have a lot more room behind the bar and we get to work with more people which is great. I also like that we have a lot more space for guests to come and to be able to experience it more.” The original Black Sheep was known for having a longer wait time as seating was limited every day.  “In the previous place it was smaller so it would fill up really fast,” Gilbert said. “A lot of people didn't get the chance to come in because of that. But since we've moved over, they've come more than they ever had when we were next door, so it’s been really great to be able to accommodate that as well.” Blades shares similar thoughts on the restaurant’s progression and newfound feel, which helps to liven up the downtown scene.  “With the new space, I like the fact that there's just way more room and we don't have to go on a wait so much,” Blades said. “I also really love the whole vibe that fits here now. It’s become more welcoming.” Some of the newest additions joining an evolving menu include fresh juice, margaritas, fish tacos, churros and tortas. “Everyone has really liked the new offerings that we've added to our food and drink menu,” Blades said. “The menu now has more options and a lot more drinks. We've gotten really creative with some of our cocktails.”  As for the future of Goat Mountain Pizza, Pasquier said they are looking for a new spot that the business will come back to in its original form. The original Black Sheep space will be turned into a new cowboy-themed bar called Boy Howdy. With its new changes and support from the community, Pasquier hopes to continue progressing with more ambitions in the works.  “[We want] to continue growing with the best intentions of our community in mind and keep our customers happy,” Pasquier said.

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