KENNEWICK -- The Blackwell family opened its first Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar in Spokane 10 years ago.
Now it has four, and the fifth will open this fall in Kennewick.
The Blackwells have leased 6,700 square feet next to Talbots in Columbia Center mall.
"It's a new space, one added to the mall when we added the lifestyle spaces on the Columbia Center Boulevard side of the mall," said Barbara Johnson, mall manager.
"We hope to open at the end of September, though it may be mid-October before everything is ready," said Trevor Blackwell, director of operations for the family-owned chain.
Johnson said the mall has been looking to add a restaurant.
"About two years ago, our leasing person and I met with the owners of Twigs, who said they were thinking about coming to the Tri-Cities," Johnson said.
The Blackwells also considered leasing space in a new building in Richland, but it was never built.
"Then, about nine months ago, Jeff Blackwell called and asked if we still had spaces available," Johnson said.
The Blackwells owned 11 fast-food restaurants before selling them and opening a small restaurant in the food court of River Park Square. It was small, just 50 seats with a walk-up counter for deli sandwiches and quiches.
"We didn't know anything about sit-down restaurants, but we jumped in anyway," Blackwell said. "Martinis were coming back into popularity, and we said, 'No one's doing that in Spokane,' so we did. The martini side of things really took off."
In 2006, they moved the original Twigs to larger quarters within River Park Square. The Blackwells also own Stix Bar & Grill in Spokane.
The number of people who visit Columbia Center mall, the huge parking lot and the traffic along Columbia Center Boulevard attracted the Blackwells to Kennewick.
"It's a good fit for us," he said.
The Kennewick Twigs will have a full bar and seating indoors and out for 267, including a banquet room seating 30.
The menu, Blackwell said, "is value driven. We don't want to be a special destination where you go only on certain occasions. We want to be your local hangout."
The majority of the entrees are priced from $13 to $18, and sandwiches and pizzas run $10 to $13. The most expensive item on the menu is a 12-ounce, center-cut choice New York strip steak for $28.
The menu offers vegetarian and gluten-free options. There are seven choices on the children's menu, and each costs just $6, including a small soft drink.
"We have the same menu all day long. You can have a steak for lunch, if you want, or a sandwich for dinner," Blackwell said.
Twgs serves breakfast until 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
If their new Twigs does well, expect to see more Tri-City locations.
"Our intentions are to continue to expand," Blackwell said.
For more information on Twigs, go to www.twigsbistro.com.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; email@example.com