Construction underway for Richland’s pancake restaurant

Construction is underway on the Tri-Cities’ second The Original Pancake House and if the winter weather cooperates, it could be open by summer.

The 4,544-square-foot restaurant at 424 Keene Road in Richland, in front of Yoke’s Fresh Market, will offer occupancy for 214 people and a covered patio area, according to a building permit approved by the city of Richland on Dec. 20. The project is valued at $681,000.

“Right now, we are anticipating a July open, but it could move forward or back depending on many factors during the construction process, weather being a big factor during the winter months,” said co-owner Ryan Medford.

He pointed out that construction of the Kennewick restaurant was delayed because of last winter’s snowfall. It was expected to open in early 2017, but the 4,500-square-foot facility opened in the Southridge area of Kennewick in April. It’s near Bob’s Burgers & Brews, Hampton Inn and Trios Southridge Hospital off Highway 395.

Medford said when his company first started looking at the Tri-City market, it wanted to open in Richland first.

“Due to the difficulty in acquiring the land, we chose to move forward with the Kennewick site first,” he said, explaining the Keene Road property has been secured and fallen through multiple times.

Richland’s economic development manager N. Zach Ratkai said he’s excited “to see new breakfast options in town, as well as a ‘sit-down’ restaurant along Keene Road.”

Medford said the south Richland area surrounding Keene Road continues to see wild residential growth supported by schools, parks and retail shops.

“All factors we believe are perfect for the ideal The Original Pancake House target market. We expect to hit the ground running this upcoming summer. We are anticipating an even busier opening than we saw in Kennewick based on the time of year and the increased exposure to the The Original Pancake House brand having been open in Kennewick for over a year,” he said.

The Tri-Cities has embraced the Southridge location, Medford said.

“We’ve consistently had the best opening performance of any of our restaurants. With the Southridge store being our first in a new market, we inevitably had some challenges to overcome that should be greatly lessened in Richland,” he said, explaining the difficulty of training a new staff without an existing location.

Medford said each restaurant employs more than 35 people.

“We’ve been fortunate to find and hire an outstanding team since opening (in Kennewick) last April. We can only be as good as the people who prepare our food and serve our guests. The Kennewick community has greatly exceeded our expectations. We anticipate the same out of the Richland area,” Medford said.

Over the next several months, Medford said the restaurant will start hiring for the Richland eatery and “this time have the luxury of a training store in Kennewick.”

The popular Portland-based franchise, established in 1953, has found a niche for serving up made-from-scratch breakfast items all day. Most of the menu features buttermilk-based pancakes that require a fermenting process.

In addition to pancakes, customers will find eggs, crêpes, French toast, waffles and meat on the menu.

Medford, whose wife grew up in Richland, and co-owner Blake Williams, both of Puyallup, operate four Pancake House franchises including the one in Kennewick.

They opened their first one in Puyallup nine years ago.

The Maple Valley location opened in 2013 and Tacoma in 2014.

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