It’s the little details that will make Dupus Boomers a big attraction when it opens in April in Richland.
[blockquote quote="We’re exciting to be providing something new and different in Richland." source="Carla Markel, co-owner of Markel Properties" align="right" max_width="300px"]
From the floor up, the new restaurant will offer Richland diners a new experience.
Greg and Carla Markel, owners of Washington Securities and Markel Properties, have been working on the restaurant project and the renovation of the prime commercial property in downtown Kennewick since 2012.
Greg Markel’s son, Shane, was the project manager on the construction project for the three buildings that replaced a parking lot and 50-year-old brick retail strip center at the corner of George Washington Way and Swift Boulevard.
In its place, the Markels built three modern, attractive buildings.
The 3,500-sq.-ft. building at the corner of Jadwin Avenue and Swift Boulevard is home to a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, which opened in late 2015, and a Taco Time, which opened in early March.
Incorporated within the Taco Time is a ‘Go Green Salads’ shop, a concept being introduced by the Markels. It offers customized salad options, from the types of greens to the toppings. Customers watch their salads being made in front of them and request their toppings.
“We think people are really going to like it,” said Shane Markel.
The 3,500-sq.-ft. building along Jadwin Avenue will be the new home for the Johnson & Orr Law Firm and for a Markel Properties office.
But the two-story, 7,500-sq.-ft. building at the corner of George Washington Way and Swift Boulevard is the showcase of the development. In mid-April, Dupus Boomers will open in the building.
The Dupus Boomers concept is nothing new to the Markels, who opened the first Dupus Boomers in Pullman, where it catered to the college crowd at Washington State University. It closed in 2012.
The name may seem odd, but it actually goes back to the mid-1940s, when a cartoon character emerged that embodied the bumbling government-issue Hanford worker. His name was Dupus Boomer and the cartoon illustrated the frustrations of living and working at the Hanford site. It became an icon of the early Hanford era and Markel owns the Dupus Boomers copyright and trademark.
Framed prints of those cartoons featured on the walls of the new two-story restaurant, which will have an eclectic menu similar to that of the Cheesecake Factory, and the restaurant will feature a large salad bar, said Shane Markel.
Anthony Belsito of Richland will be the restaurant’s general manager and he has a long history in the business.
“We are really excited about it, the building, the menu — everything,” said Carla Markel. “And we’re exciting to be providing something new and different in Richland.”
The restaurant’s bottom level will be home to the bar, where 44 beers will be available on tap, as well as a large selection of wines and liquors. Televisions will line the walls, and the stained concrete floor gives it the space a casual, sports bar feel.
Customers can take an elevator to the second level, or walk up the stairs, which are lined with long, thin vertical bars of steel, that look like rebar, against a concrete wall giving it a cool, industrial feel. Underfoot, the heavy, dark tiled stairs are made out of the thick wood beams that kept the former strip center standing for five decades.
“That was my dad’s idea — to use those,” said Shane Markel.
Upstairs, the family-friendly dining room has floor to ceiling glass, giving diners a great view of Richland — all the way to the river. Tall glass doors can be opened on beautiful spring and summer day to offer open-air patio seating.
The restaurant will employ about 125 workers and applications are being accepted at the site, but opening date has not been set.
“We don’t want to rush it,” Carla Markel said. “We want to make sure everything is ready when we open.”
Shane Markel it was nice to be able to do the project — from the construction of all the buildings to the opening of the restaurants — without having the time restraints of a set deadline, and with the support of his family.
“They gave me the flexibility to make sure everything gets done right,” he said, adding that Carla Markel took care of scheduling details and bookkeeping, allowing him to focus on the site work.
“We couldn’t have done it without her,” he said.
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