KENNEWICK — There's a new restaurant in Kennewick in a very familiar building.
Will and Maigh Willingham of Kennewick have opened their life's dream, Willingham's Grill at 335 W. Columbia Drive, across the street from Hubby's Pizza.
"People think there's been a lot of different business in there," said Tim Dalton, executive director of the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership. "But really there have only been five restaurants: the Hickory Rib Pit, Big Mama's, Francisco's, Between the Bridges and now Willingham's."
But Willingham's is a much different restaurant, he said. "The menu is amazing."
Maigh Willingham said the menu includes traditional items like pasta dishes, burgers, omelets and sandwiches, but also offers flatbread pizzas for breakfast, falafel pita sandwiches for lunch or surf 'n turf sushi with grilled shrimp and barbecue chicken.
Sauces and dressings are all made in-house, and many are her own recipes. And there are vegan and vegetarian items on the menu along with a few gluten-free offerings. The children's menu offers a vegan mac 'n' cheese.
The Willinghams have 30 part-time employees. Some worked with the Willinghams at Ice Harbor restaurants before opening the grill.
"We've been planning this for six years," Maigh Willingham said. "We just had faith that this is the right time and that we can do this. It's a calculated risk."
The interior's been repainted and redecorated. Dalton said grant money from the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership paid for a facelift to the building's facade and for adding a window in the bar.
"Now you can sit in the lounge at night and see the cable bridge," he said.
Maigh Willingham said they are excited to be part of the Port of Kennewick's and Kennewick Partnership's vision for renovating the area between the two bridges and up into the historic downtown area.
"We want to be part of the local restaurant movement for this area," she said. "There's Cedar's, the two Ice Harbor restaurants and now us."
Willingham's can seat just more than 100 and there's a full bar, stocked with Mid-Columbia wines. The beer lineup includes Ice Harbor Brewing's India pale ale.
Hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. The bar is open from 10 a.m. until closing daily.
To see the full menu go to www. willinghamsgrill.com/menu.html. Phone, 509-987-1096.
* Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org