The Lodge at Columbia Point is adding a proper restaurant

The Lodge at Columbia Point is sacrificing two guest rooms to make space for a proper kitchen for its Drumheller’s restaurant.

The wine-themed boutique hotel opened with 82 rooms and no restaurant in 2017. It initially offered wine tastings and bar service on the first floor, with event space on the second.

It added Drumheller’s Food & Drink – named for The Lodge’s late founder Tom Drumheller – in a second-floor meeting space a year later, served from a small kitchen next door. The small kitchen supported room service and dinner but prevented The Lodge from providing a full food program.

Michel Gabbud, who was named general manager five months ago, said the commercial kitchen and full restaurant space in the former ground floor lobby will allow The Lodge to serve food from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., whether it is through the guest room menu or walk-in customers.

With the support of its owners and Cannon Beach, Oregon,, management company, Escape Lodging, The Lodge is pressing ahead with the $1.5 million renovation, while promising to minimize the impact on its overnight guests.

Construction is limited to business hours and the property is borrowing its founder’s motto: It’ll be fun.

Still, the expansion of its dining program involves sacrifice. The decommissioned guest rooms generated about $50,000 each in annual revenue.

“We’re obviously hoping to make up that loss by increasing fee revenue, which we’re confident will happen,” he said.

The restaurant remodel began in the fall, when the two guest rooms were decommissioned. The upstairs kitchen will provide breakfast and limited service through the end of the month.

In January, work shifts to the main floor, where the commercial kitchen will be constructed with all-new equipment and the lobby/dining area will get a proper makeover.

A temporary wall is dressed with photos supplied by Tri-City photographer Scott Butner.

Until the new kitchen is ready, The Lodge will rely on a rented food truck backed by the Water2Wine commissary kitchen to provide breakfast service to its guests as well as a limited menu. Guests will order from room service and not the food truck window, Gabbud said.

The new Drumheller’s is set to open in March with expanded seating both inside and on the patio. The new restaurant will seat 78-54 inside and 24 on the fireplace deck.

“The hospitality industry provides significant benefit to our community and it’s exciting to see continued investment into the visitor experience from our hotel partners. The new main floor renovations will drive economic impact and support the growing tourism industry. We’re excited to experience the new amenities this spring,” said Kevin Lewis, president and CEO of Visit Tri-Cities.

Gabbud envisions all-day food service, a far cry from the limited offerings The Lodge opened with. He would like to offer brunch seven days a week, saying it is easier on staff and the kitchen to avoid the transition from a morning meal to an afternoon one by simply offering everything at once.

The longer hours will better serve guests, who typically check in between 3-4 p.m. and often want something to eat.

“We want to respond to that instead of losing them to Starbucks or whatever,” he said.

The renovations will upgrade special event offerings too, by expanding the River Room, The Lodge’s private event room on the second floor. The old kitchen is shrinking, with the space being added into the meeting room. It will expand seating by about 20% to serve up to 95 people, adding to its capacity to serve larger groups.

Chervenell Construction Co. of Kennewick is the contractor. Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates of Culver City, California, is the interior designer.

The Lodge at Columbia Point overlooks the Columbia Point Marina at
530 Columbia Point Drive in Richland. It is one of 48 Washington hotels rated four stars or above on Google and is the only one in southeastern Washington.

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