Entrepreneurs make leap from Cinnabon, pretzels to brunch

For almost two decades, Chris and Lore’K Garofola have been hard-working franchise owners of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Cinnabon.

The couple own four Auntie Anne’s – two in the Tri-Cities and two more in Southern California. They own two Cinnabons, with one in the Tri-Cities and the other in Southern California.

But now, the couple are diving into the full-service restaurant here in the Tri-Cities with Bougie Brunch.

“We’re trying to open this in late June,” Lore’K said.

The restaurant at 3320 W. Kennewick Ave. will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day of the week.

California inspiration

The Garofolas spend half of their year living in the Tri-Cities and the other half in Palm Springs, California.

One of the things Lore’K fell in love with in Palm Springs was the local brunch scene – places such as Cheeky’s, Grand Central or Wilma and Frieda.

“In places like these, you’re either fancy, or you think you’re fancy,” Lore’K said. “People love to eat brunch in Palm Springs. I love to eat brunch in Palm Springs. It’s a whole way of life down there.”

She said she came up with the concept for Bougie Brunch in March.

Bougie (pronounced boo-gee) comes from the French “bourgeois,” as in someone aspiring to be a higher class.

Lore’K is taking some of the better ideas she’s seen and experienced as a customer and spinning them into the new restaurant.

“We originally thought about a franchise,” Lore’K said. “But rules are strict. Some want you to open three of them in one year, or you have to have a lot of cash.”

So the Garofolas opted to do things themselves.

“We decided to completely start up something using our own concept,” she said. “Our travels over the years had us looking at different things. We thought, ‘We know franchises. We know the business. Let’s take our expertise and open a restaurant.’ ”

That was something they didn’t plan on doing at the outset.

A vibe-worthy spot

Lore’K said she came up with the concept first, “and then we scouted out places. We literally drove everywhere.”

At one point the couple considered the empty Old Country Buffet building by Columbia Center mall in Kennewick. But then they found the Chicken Shack building on Kennewick Avenue which closed last fall.

“We needed a kitchen, and it looked really good inside there,” she said.

It’s next door to KNDU-TV.

The building has housed many bars and restaurants over the years.

Before it was the Chicken Shack, it had been Barley & Hops, Jackson’s Sports Bar, Wooly Bully’s, and way back in the 1970s, it was Pizza West.

Besides the kitchen, what also appealed to the couple was the large patio in the back.

“The place has this beautiful, big patio that will be perfect half of the year,” Lore’K said. “There are 25 tables inside, another 25 tables outside.”

Umbrellas will be out on the patio, and there are plans to add games, such as cornhole and Connect Four, for the kids.

The atmosphere is what Lore’K calls “a vibe.”

Music will start out softly as the restaurant opens early in the morning, but by late in the morning and into the afternoon, expect a good beat.

Reasonable price points

The first menu, although not available to view, is almost complete.

“I want it to be a fancy, trendy, happening breakfast and lunch place,” Lore’K said. “We’re going to add things people haven’t heard of to the menu.”

She plans on making changes to the menu as time goes on. There will be a children’s menu.

To complement meals, there will be a bloody mary bar, mimosas, beer, wine and champagne.

Lore’K says that while she expects the food to be high quality, “it’s not going to be expensive. Breakfast is cheaper than any meal. It’s very reasonable. We’re going to try to do our best to keep things reasonable.”

In early June, the restaurant was holding on-site interviews to hire hosts, bussers, a sous chef, servers, bartenders, line cooks, expos and dishwashers.

The Garofolas already have a general manager and executive chef.

But the rest of it is new ground for the couple.

“We’ve been in the Tri-Cities for 18 years with our first Auntie Anne’s franchise,” Lore’K said. “We employ 45 people (in our six franchises). With Bougie Brunch, we’ll need another 20 to 25 people.”

She said a number of their franchise employees have asked to come work at the restaurant.

“I never thought we would go into a full restaurant situation,” Lore’K said. “It’s a whole different world from franchises. But the brunch life in Palm Springs is like nothing else. That’s why I wanted to bring it here.”

Bougie Brunch: 3320 W. Kennewick Ave.; 509-221-1162; Bougiebrunch.net; Facebook page. The restaurant is expected to open in late June. Planned hours are
7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

 

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