Picazo 717, a Prosser restaurant that has been embraced by the Washington wine industry and relies on Yakima Valley farmers, is relocating this spring to Kennewick. The popular restaurant also plans to maintain a presence in Prosser.
Frank Magaña and his wife, Tricia, will keep their popular downtown Prosser restaurant open through Yakima Valley Spring Barrel Tasting weekend, which is April 15-17, then plan to open in the Southridge area of Kennewick by May 1.
Picazo will take over space vacated by the tasting room of Canyon's Edge Winery, as well as two adjacent spaces. It will give Picazo almost 4,000 square feet of space and room for 110 seats, up from 60 seats in its current location. It also will have a full bar.
Since opening Picazo in October 2007, Magaña has gained a reputation as a wine country chef. Two-thirds of his business is catering, and 90 percent of that is with wineries throughout the Yakima Valley and Tri-Cities. By relocating to Kennewick, he hopes to expand his catering business into Walla Walla and its more than 100 wineries.
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"We're very plugged into the wineries," Magaña said. "If we can do in Walla Walla what we're doing in Prosser and Red Mountain, we'll be able to carve out a nice niche."
Magaña also runs Mojave by Picazo, a restaurant inside Desert Wind Winery in Prosser that is open for lunch and private dining. In April, that will change to lunch and dinner, so Prosser residents still will see plenty of Magaña.
"We really want to remain in Prosser and stay on good terms with the people who have helped build us up," he said.
"Picazo" is Magaña's mother's maiden name, and "717" is the address on Sixth Street. Even though Picazo's address will change to 3617 Plaza Way in Kennewick, Magaña will keep "717" as part of the name, as he has invested a lot into marketing.
Picazo is known for its "local fare with a Spanish flair." Magaña relies heavily on Yakima Valley farmers for the majority of his ingredients and is a regular at the Prosser Farmers Market. He's now excited to have access to the Kennewick Farmers Market, which is held in the parking lot outside his new location, as well as the Pasco Farmers Market.
The move also will provide him with the opportunity to expand his award-winning wine list, which now is heavily focused on Prosser wineries. He plans to add wines from Tri-City and Walla Walla Valley wineries.
Picazo employs about a dozen people year-round, and that number doubles in the summer, when catering is busiest. Magaña said many of his summer employees are college students. Picazo also will provide lunch service this summer at Columbia Crest in Paterson. It will run every other weekend, he said.
Magaña grew up in Tacoma and studied at South Seattle Community College's vaunted culinary arts program. As the executive chef for a catering company in Gig Harbor, Magaña got to know many winemakers and winery owners in the Seattle area, which inspired him to relocate to wine country in 2007.
He plans to continue living in Prosser for now.
"I love living in Prosser," he said. "I live on a vineyard, and I love it and believe in Prosser. This is just a business decision to do what we love."
-- Andy Perdue is editor of Wine Press Northwest, a quarterly consumer magazine owned by the Herald. For information, go to winepressnw.com.