Food & Wine

New diner brings good ’50s fun to Richland’s popular dining location The Parkway

Look out for Richland’s Hot Mess Burgers & Pies, opening in May

A new restaurant Hot Mess Burgers & Pies is opening in May in Richland.
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A new restaurant Hot Mess Burgers & Pies is opening in May in Richland.

It wasn’t the opportunity anyone wanted.

When Tamara Felton Hoover Krieger, the owner of Richland’s beloved Cheese Louise died last year, her family elected to close the business she’d loved.

The decision left fans heartbroken and a 2,500-square-foot space vacant at The Parkway. And it left serial restaurateur Chris Nokes and his wife, Allyson, with a dilemma.

Should they move up their plans to open a diner by four years?

The answer was yes.

“We just fell in love with the space. The Parkway is just a wonderful location. It’s becoming a dining destination for the Tri-Cities,” Nokes said.

The couple signed a month-to-month lease for 619 The Parkway.

They are converting the former Cheese Louise into Hot Mess Burgers & Pies, a burger and pie joint that will reflect the campier aspects of the 1950s, from horror-themed beach parties to sci-fi spectacles to counterculture and rockabilly.

“Richland has always had a fascination with the ’50s. Our history is so ingrained with the ‘50s,” Nokes said. “We want to shine a light on the good aspects of the ‘50s and keep everybody welcome to our shop.

They tapped their retirement funds and other savings to launch the venture. They also have a $10,000 Kickstarter campaign to help with unexpected remodeling expenses.

The 87-seat restaurant debuts in May.

Nokes is a Tri-City native who began cooking in his teens. He attended the Oregon Culinary school in Portland and worked as a chef at Paragon Restaurant and Bay 13 in the city’s trendy Pearl District.

When he returned home, he worked in a series of local kitchens before joining Fat Olives, where he served as executive chef for five years.

He launched Hot Mess as a microbakery at Kagen Coffee and Crepes in Richland’s Uptown Shopping Center.

It was supposed to be a side gig, but Nokes joined Kagen full time when a manager left.

He intended to help Jennifer and Kagen Cox with their expansion plans, then launch Hot Mess as a standalone business.

The Cheese Louise spot was too enticing to ignore.

The theme of Hot Mess will complement — not compete with — The Parkway’s growing roster of restaurants, he said.

The neighborhood is home to Frost Me Sweet Bistro & Bakery, Porter’s Real Barbecue, Graze A Place To Eat, Miss Tamale, Foodies Too, Stone Soup, Casa Mia and Miss Rhoda’s Wine Garden.

The remodel is substantial. Cheese Louise was a retail shop with a small kitchen and deli. The restaurant requires a much larger kitchen and new interior configuration.

Nokes said the remodel has revealed plenty of surprises, befitting the building’s age and long history. The florist’s refrigerator is a favorite. It maintains temperatures suited to storing food but has sliding glass doors to show off the contents.

“It’s one of those quirky things about the location,” he said.

Hot Mess promises to be a quirky take on the classic 1950s diner, with black and white checkered floor tiles, vinyl booths and drive-in horror movie classics.

The menu will showcase locally sourced ingredients in playful dishes, such as a teriyaki burger with a teenage beach party massacre theme, poutine with waffle fries smothered in brown gravy and cheese curds and a vegan Mummy Burger with Egyptian felafel.

Follow its progress on Facebook @hotmessburgersandpies.

A Foodies in Richland, too

Speaking of The Parkway, the long-awaited Foodies Too opened at 701 The Parkway in Richland — the spot once occupied by Paper Street Brewing.

Foodies Too is the latest offering from owners Joanna and Terry Wilson, who also own and operate Foodies Brick and Mortar and 4th Base Pizza and Wingz in downtown Kennewick.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Monday to Saturday. Follow it on Facebook @foodiestoo.

Chukar Cherries honored

Prosser-based Chukar Cherries’ has taken home honors for gourmet food gifts from the largest home and design show on the West Coast. Chukar’s Original Assortment was named best in category for Gourmet Food Gifts at the Law Vegas Winter Market, which attracts more than 4,000 visitors.

The “original” assortment is Chukar’s best-selling gift and includes chocolate-covered dried cherries, nuts and berries in dark and milk chocolate.

Auction of Washington Wines honors

Chris Gorman of Gormon Winery and Scott Williams of Kiona Vineyards were honored as Honorary Vintner and Honorary Grower for 2019 by Auction of Washington Wines for their leadership and contributions to the industry.

Gorman established his winery in 2002, using fruit from Kiona Vineyards. In 2017, his 2014 vintage of Zachary’s Ladder was included in the Wine Spectator Top 100 list.

Williams and his wife, Vicky, moved to Red Mountain in 1983 to help his parents plant one of the first vineyards. Kiona supplies fruit to some of the most significant wineries on the West Coast. The couple own more than 260 acres in the Red Mountain AVA.

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Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.