Get your favorite breakfast foods served all day when The Original Pancake House opens in Kennewick and Richland.
The 4,500-square-foot Kennewick restaurant will open in early 2017 near Bob’s Burgers & Brews, Hampton Inn and Trios Southridge Hospital off Highway 395. It will be able to seat about 140.
This will be BTE Holding Co.’s first standalone restaurant. The company employs just over 100 people and expects to hire on 35 to 40 people at each Tri-City restaurant.
Co-owner Ryan Medford said his company is negotiating terms of a lease for a property in Richland. “We’re committed to opening two locations in Tri-City area. Ideally Richland will open six months after Kennewick,” he said.
Medford said he is excited to join the Tri-Cities community. “We want to be a place where everybody feels welcome and confident that they can enjoy an unmatched breakfast experience,” he said.
The popular Portland-based franchise is found in 28 states and has found a niche for providing “a fine dining experience and quality breakfast that’s comfortable for the whole family,” Medford said.
It costs about $60,000 up front to buy the franchise plus requires providing an ongoing percentage of the sales, he said.
Medford is quick to point out that BTE Holding Co. has complete autonomy and operates as a small business. “It is an important distinction for us because there can be stigmas or ‘big business’ perceptions that come with national franchises,” he said.
Medford and his partners did a market analysis of the Tri-Cities and liked what they saw. “It’s exploded in the last 10 years. Commercial and residential growth in the Queensgate and Southridge area — they’ve all taken off,” he said.
Made from scratch
Customers won’t find a freezer or microwave in a Pancake House restaurant. “We make everything from scratch,” Medford said.
And that includes the three- to seven-day process of aging the pancake batters. Most of the menu features buttermilk-based pancakes that require a fermenting process, he explained.
“We take a lot of pride in our food. We don’t use a pancake mix. We have a lot of guests who come in and want to buy our mix,” he said.
The restaurant also makes all of its syrups to complement the light and fluffy pancakes, Medford said.
In addition to pancakes, customers will find eggs, crêpes, French toast, waffles and meat on the menu. A side of bacon features 1/4-inch thick slices that weigh a half pound.
The Pancake House’s most popular menu items are bacon and eggs, apple pancakes and corned beef hash, which is brined and slow roasted for 12 hours before grilling to crisp it up.
Medford assures that the coffee is good, too. It’s a proprietary blend roasted by Boyd’s Coffee in Portland. The restaurant also features gluten-free pancake options.
“We’re trying to fit a niche in the breakfast market we don’t think exists,” Medford said, emphasizing the restaurant’s focus on attention to detail in how the food is prepared and the atmosphere.
Ties to Tri-Cities
Medford, 33, and co-owner Blake Williams, 34, both of Puyallup, operate three Pancake House franchises. They opened their first one in Puyallup seven years ago. The Maple Valley location opened in 2013 and Tacoma in 2014.
Medford said he and Williams grew up together and decided to launch their own company, BTE Holding Co., to operate The Original Pancake House franchise.
Then they got to work. Medford worked for Lamb Weston, and Williams dropped out of law school and learned to cook. Both men also cooked full time for two years at their Puyallup restaurant.
“We’re excited to come over to the Tri-Cities,” Medford said.
He’s familiar with the area because his wife Elizabeth (McNair) Medford grew up in Richland, graduating from Liberty Christian High School in 2002. The couple have four young children.
“Through our market research and my time living in Richland (years ago), it is clear that there is pride and a sense of community that many places simply don’t have,” he said.
Rounding out the management team are Luke Absher, partner and director of operations, of Puyallup, and Brian Carle of University Place, partner and director of food and beverage.
Absher began as a server at the restaurant and was the first manager when the second restaurant opened. He went on to earn his master’s in business administration.
Carle, who has years of experience in the food industry, will be moving to the Tri-Cities to oversee the restaurants.