KENNEWICK -- A new restaurant is planning to open this spring in one of the Kennewick's oldest buildings, the Reed Building at 4 N. Washington St.
The plan is to have Odditty's, a restaurant, lounge and catering business, open by early April.
It's not the menu that will be odd, but the decor, said Greg Crook of Pasco. Since buying the building last fall, Crook's been gathering photos and memorabilia of all the oddities that have happened in this area.
"Like when the Columbia River first froze over and people were out there walking on ice, finding Kennewick man, things like that," he said.
He's still working with the title company to get the paperwork finalized.
"It was built in 1906 and has had a lot of owners, some of whom are deceased. It's a long process," he said.
In the meantime, Crook has permission to begin remodeling.
"I plan a full restoration, at least of the exterior. The interior will need more modernizing, especially the apartments upstairs and restaurant area," he said.
His aunt and uncle, Richard and Melody Crook, will run the restaurant.
"They have over 30 years experience in the restaurant industry. I have none," he said.
What he does have is a love of history and old buildings.
"I've been looking at that building almost 10 years, which is about as long as it's been for sale. The numbers finally made sense so I bought it," Crook said.
As he searched for information about the Reed Building, he discovered it originally was built as a bank. Over the years, as it changed hands -- it became a bar, a nightclub, even an automobile shop. The ground floor was remodeled as a restaurant -- the Pollyanna -- in the 1940s.
It's been the site of several restaurants, most recently Cornell's Family Restaurant.
One of the things Crook learned about his new building was that the builder, a Mr. Beach, seemed to be stubborn and opinionated.
"He said early on that there were so few buildings on Kennewick Avenue that it should be moved 50 feet to the south. So when he built the Reed Building he put it right in the middle of the street," Crook said.
Longtime Kennewick resident Ken Silliman wrote in an article for the East Benton Historical Museum in Kennewick: "A man named Beach had bought some land south of the railroad tracks thinking the town would be built there. When it moved to the north side, he got mad and built two buildings right in the middle of Kennewick Avenue. That's the reason for the jog in Kennewick Avenue and Washington Street."
That's why anyone driving east on Kennewick Avenue has to turn right onto Washington Street and then make an immediate left turn to get back onto the avenue.
"That's another oddity," Crook said.
The Crooks are planning a country-style menu for Odditty's with plenty of healthy options. They also are planning to be open 24 hours a day serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lounge will have a full service bar.