A popular West Richland restaurant is expanding to west Pasco and eventually Kennewick.
The Chicken Shack owner Steve LaMarr and his wife, Tracy, are preparing to open a second restaurant near Road 90, not far from Russ Dean RV.
“There’s not a ton of choices for restaurants where we are,” Steve LaMarr said.
The new building at 8921 Sandifur Parkway is expected to be finished and occupied by the end of the year.
The original West Richland eatery opened in 2015 at 4390 W. Van Giesen St. after the LaMarrs licensed the restaurant from The Chicken Shack’s founder, who still cooks chicken and operates a restaurant in Henderson, Nevada.
There are about a dozen Chicken Shack locations spread across six states, including Nevada, California, Oregon, Colorado and Texas.
The restaurant specializes in serving up fresh, not frozen, chicken wings and fingers with 20 homemade sauces and sides.
The Pasco eatery will be in a new 4,000-square-foot building, with The Chicken Shack taking up all but about 1,600 square feet. The building will sit on an acre of land, allowing Steve LaMarr the opportunity to add a second building on the lot in the future.
He is looking to fill the extra square footage with a secondary tenant but is also fielding requests from customers to bring along its partner restaurant, Wine Notes.
“We have a lot of people wanting us to do the same thing in Pasco,” he said.
He’s also heard requests for a live music venue. Neither option is off the table entirely, he said. “Anything is a possibility,” said Steve LaMarr, but he said he’s less inclined to add an outdoor stage to west Pasco.
He already has a full plate managing the gigs at the West Richland restaurant, which offers live music for all ages, every Saturday evening from April 1 to Oct. 31.
Steve LaMarr said he considered an indoor music venue in west Pasco that could keep live music going through the winter months or play host to special events. He calls it a “project in my back pocket.”
The LaMarrs are also undecided on plans for a current vacant lot at 4330 W. Van Giesen, just east of the existing Chicken Shack and the former site of Tri-City Fence. The LaMarrs bought and demolished the building after the fence company closed. A sign with a photo depicting a new 11,000-square-foot building on the site had people excited, along with an announcement from the owners of Richland’s Tumbleweeds that they would be expanding there.
Tumbleweeds eventually withdrew its plans for a second location in West Richland.
Steve LaMarr said he simultaneously has the lot up for sale while also keeping the sign announcing new construction on the site.
“I really don’t know what’s going to happen with that,” he said. “Right now, it’s a parking lot for The Chicken Shack.”
Steve LaMarr said he has had interest in the lot from potential buyers, but wants to make sure any sale, would benefit the community positively, and not just add another car lot.
“We love West Richland and we’re thrilled with what the city has done with the entrance,” he said.
While deciding whether to bring Wine Notes along to west Pasco or keep it exclusive to West Richland, Steve LaMarr predicted the newest Chicken Shack “will be easier to start up than West Richland’s.”
He said the current location is now well established after its launch in late 2015 and “doing very well, but it didn’t start out that way.”
Also the owners of StoneCrest Builders, Steve LaMarr and his wife initially struggled with finding a restaurant supply company to provide the oversized chicken tenders and drumsticks at an agreeable cost.
But now, Steve LaMarr said he’s doubled the original prediction of the amount of food the restaurant would serve. He’s eyeing that same success at the new Pasco location.
Steve LaMarr said he hopes for a third Chicken Shack restaurant near Highway 395 and W. 27th Avenue in the Southridge area of Kennewick.
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