A popular West Richland restaurant that pairs chicken wings with wine and occasionally live music is coming to Pasco.
The Chicken Shack will open its second Tri-City location, 8921 Sandifur Parkway, in a couple months.
Owners Tracy and Steve LaMarr hope to open by mid-January but the date depends on paving the parking lot before cold weather sets in.
The West Richland eatery is a Tri-City take on a concept that launched in Henderson, Nev., in the late 1990s: Fresh, never frozen chicken wings and fingers cooked to order and served with a long list of sauces and side dishes prepared in-house.
The small-but-growing brand includes 13 locations in six states.
West Richland is one of just two in the Pacific Northwest. The other is in Klamath Falls, Ore.
Steve LaMarr credits his niece with introducing him to The Chicken Shack.
The Lamarrs own and operate StoneCrest Builders, a Tri-City home builder with interests in commercial construction. They were looking to diversify beyond construction, but didn’t have a particular industry in mind.
Their niece manages a Chicken Shack in Redding, Calif.
She told them its story, how the original in Nevada opens to lines at 10 a.m. every day and how its restaurants in Redding are successful.
LaMarr thought it sounded “hokey,” but agreed to check it out.
He was impressed with the potential. And he liked the founder’s philosophy — do one thing and do it well. The couple decided to franchise the brand in the Tri-Cities.
They scouted the Tri-Cities for locations without much luck. They ended up buying the former Red Mountain Feed and Irrigation building in West Richland.
Doubters said it was too far from the center of the Tri-Cities to work.
The LaMarrs were confident in the location. They live in West Richland and build homes there. They knew there was an audience for a family-friendly spot to eat.
They transformed the old feed store into a restaurant and wine bar, with room left over for a real estate office.
Renee Fulfer, former executive chef to County Gentleman in Kennewick, signed on to manage the restaurant.
The Chicken Shack franchise agreement gives operators latitude to customize restaurants to suit the local market. In West Richland, that means the menu includes carb-free and keto-friendly options, fresh hamburgers, wraps, soups and sandwiches.
It also operates in tandem with a neighboring wine bar and offers weekly live music on the outdoor patio during the warm weather months.
The wine bar is technically distinct from The Chicken Shack, but its customers don’t see it that way. Wine bar customers order food from the restaurant — so much so that it dropped its independent menu.
Fulfer has capitalized on the interest, pairing wine with chicken wings and other menu items.
The West Richland spot has paid off in the three years since it opened.
“We’re very, very happy to report we are ... exceeding anything we ever thought we would be doing,” LaMarr said.
For Pasco, the LaMarrs bought next to an emergency pet clinic at Road 90 and Sandifur Parkway. StoneCrest is building two buildings, one for the restaurant and the second as a commercial rental.
The new restaurant won’t be attached to a wine bar, though Fulfer said it will have a limited selection of wines by the glass and bottle.
The LaMarrs have purchased a Kennewick building for its next Chicken Shack but have no immediate plans to open. The building is leased to a thriving business. But if it ever moves, the couple will turn it into its third Chicken Shack.
The original Tri-City Chicken Shack is at 4390 W. Van Giesen St., West Richland. Business hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Follow its Pasco progress on Facebook @TheChickenShackTC.
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