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Fire closed this Kennewick landmark. Now, Hill's Restaurant is rising from the ashes

Hill's Restaurant employees Shayla Burruss, Maddy Bartleson, Teresa Edie, owner Nancy Galstad and Sonja Weber, from left, pose Tuesday in front of the fire damaged building on Vista Way in Kennewick. It was the first day of demolition before reconstruction begins.
Hill's Restaurant employees Shayla Burruss, Maddy Bartleson, Teresa Edie, owner Nancy Galstad and Sonja Weber, from left, pose Tuesday in front of the fire damaged building on Vista Way in Kennewick. It was the first day of demolition before reconstruction begins. Tri-City Herald

A beloved Kennewick dining joint is expected to reopen this fall after a devastating fire shut it down more than a year ago.

Hill's Restaurant is being substantially rebuilt at 24 Vista Way. G2 Construction expects to remove much of the fire-damaged building this week, setting the stage to rebuild a new, modern restaurant in its place.

The "new and improved" Hill's is to reopen about Nov. 1, said owner Nancy Galstad.

"We're looking forward to seeing old friends and new ones," she said. Earlier this month, she shared a Facebook post of a sign announcing the rebuild with the comment, "Can we get an amen!"

Hills demolition start
Steve Campbell of G2 Construction uses an excavator to move the former front entryway of Hill's Restaurant into the fenced off parking lot for crunching on the first day of demolition of the fire damaged building. The popular eatery is being rebuilt and expected to re-open later this year. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

The original building was built in 1950 and was too old and damaged to rebuild without substantial demolition.

Kennewick officials confirmed they issued a permit for the work late last year and transferred it to G2 more recently. G2 confirmed it is taking on the project in a web post:

"The community will enjoy the familiar location but with a new, modern interior, new kitchen, restrooms, counter bar area, and better flow for the servers. Same great food, brand-new look. Thank you to the owners for choosing G2 for this project. We look forward to getting this business back up and running!"

Owner Nancy Galstad tells about the call she received informing her of the fire that damaged her business at 24 Vista Way in Kennewick. Fire Inspector Brian Ellis also releases preliminary information about the Kennewick Fire Department's investig

The building is owned by CHM Development Co., based in Ketchum, Idaho.

A fire that apparently began in the kitchen closed the restaurant in October 2016, leaving the damaged shell of a building surrounded by a temporary chain link fence for months.

Galstad bought Hill's from founders Ronna and Tom Hill more than 20 years ago.

The couple opened the original restaurant in what is now the Columbia Center mall area. It moved to the former Max's Broiler on Vista Way in the early 1990s.

Roasters gives back

Tri-Cities-based Roasters Coffee raised $3,541 for Autism Help Group during its April 30 Community Giving Day. Roasters donated all profits from all drinks sold at its locations to support the Richland non-profit.

The fund raiser is the first of 12 community days. Profits from all drinks sold in the last Monday of each month will support local programs. Roasters, led by Wes Heyden, operates 10 locations in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and West Richland.

More pancake house

A second-edition of a pancake concept that originated in Portland is set to open this summer in Richland.

Puyallup-based BTE Breakfast Co., the franchisee that brought The Original Pancake House to Washington in the Great Recession, opened the first local restaurant in 2016 near Trio Southridge Hospital.

A second location is under construction on Keene Road, near Yoke's Fresh Market in south Richland. BTE is led by Ryan Medford and Blake Williams.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514
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