It’s hard to imagine a tougher way to make a living than starting and running a restaurant.
From health codes to fair employment practices to the fickle nature of public tastes, opening a restaurant can be a big gamble for the person responsible for keeping all those balls in the air.
Fortunately, the Mid-Columbia is blessed with a hearty crew of entrepreneurs willing to invest their time, talent and money to pursue their dreams.
Here’s a look at some of the restaurants, bars and other dining-related happenings expected to hit the local scene in 2019.
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Frost Me Sweet Bakery & Bistro
710 The Parkway, Richland
The popular Richland bakery and bistro is doubling in size after owners Megan and Jason Savely bought the neighboring law firm building in 2018.
The 2,800-square-foot brick building will add seating capacity and much needed kitchen space for both the bakery and the bistro in 2019.
Demolition work began in September. Work to unite the two buildings began this week and should be finished by late March.
Follow on Facebook @FrostMeSweet.
701-A The Parkway, Richland
Target opening: January
Foodies returns to its Richland roots when it opens Foodies Too in the spot formerly occupied by Paper Street Brewing, right off the Lee Boulevard roundabout in The Parkway.
Owners Joanna and Terry Wilson launched the Foodies brand as Floating Foodies on a Richland pontoon boat before pulling ashore in 2015 when they opened Foodies Brick and Mortar in downtown Kennewick.
In 2017, the Wilsons opened 4th Base Pizza and Wingz at the old Henry’s Go Go spot on South Auburn Street.
Fans of the Kennewick Avenue Foodies will have more cause to celebrate in 2019. The restaurant will add on-street seating through the city of Kennewick’s “StrEateries” program.
Silo’s Sports Bar & Grill
12125 W. Clearwater Ave., Kennewick
Target opening: March
The upscale spots pub and gathering spot near Badger Canyon is on track to open in about two months, said spokesman Phil DeLaRosa.
The ownership group broke ground last fall on the 5,600-square foot restaurant near the roundabout where West Clearwater, Leslie Road and Badger Road meet. “Silo’s” is a nod to the region’s agricultural roots.
The restaurant will marry the best of the pubs and sports bars with higher end cuisine, including local and natural foods. DeLaRosa said the owners were inspired to bring the pub concepts they’ve admired in other cities home to Kennewick.
Conner Construction began work in August.
Food trucks at Columbia Gardens
Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village, Kennewick
Target opening: Late January.
Speaking of Frost Me Sweet, the Richland bakery’s food truck should haul into Kennewick within weeks.
The Port of Kennewick selected Frost Me Sweet and Swampy’s BBQ to occupy the first of six food truck spots at its Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village development near the cable bridge.
The contractor is wrapping up work on the six-station food truck plaza. Frost Me Sweet and Swampy’s will be able to move in right away, possibly by the end of January, the port said.
The remaining four spots will be opened to food trucks following construction of the next phase at Columbia Gardens — tasting rooms for Cave B Estate Winery and Gordon Estate Winery. If all goes well, the port will advertise to fill the four remaining spots by year’s end.
101 W. Kennewick Ave.
Target opening: Late January
Rockabilly Roasting is gaining a new outdoor deck courtesy the city’s “StrEateries” program. The idea is to add vibrancy to downtown by creating outdoor seating in a public plaza and even parking spots.
The city is finishing up construction of a seating deck in the two parking spots in front of Rockabilly. It should be ready within the next few weeks, said Miles Thomas, economic development manager.
The platform includes lighting and safety barriers to protect diners from passing traffic. It will also be accessible to visitors who use wheelchairs.
Follow Rockabilly Roasting on Facebook @RockabillyCoffee.
The Chicken Shack
8921 Sandifur Parkway, Pasco
Target opening: January
The sleeper hit of West Richland debuts in Pasco this month. Owners Tracy and Steve LaMarr brought the Nevada-based Chicken Shack concept to the former Red Mountain Feed and Irrigation building on West Van Giesen Street.
The family-friendly vibe coupled with live music and a neighboring wine bar made it a hit. The LaMarrs, who own and operate StoneCrest Builders, cast around for ways to expand and chose the spot at Road 90 and Sandifur Parkway.
Renee Fulfer, former executive chef to Country Gentleman in Kennewick, runs the restaurants.
Follow their progress on Facebook @TheChickenShackTC.
8804 W. Victoria Ave., Kennewick
Target opening: March
Ryan Wattenbarger, head brewer for Sunnyside’s Snipes Mountain Brewery & Restaurant, will open Moonshot Brewing with his wife, Hilary Bird, at the Richland-Kennewick border.
The couple are building their tap house in a new business mall near Steptoe Street and Gage Boulevard on the Kennewick side of the municipal line. The 3,240-square-foot spot will serve up Moonshot brews and a few guest brews on tap. It is aiming for a soccer bar vibe.
Track its progress on Facebook @moonshotbrewing.
Layered Cake Artistry
117 W. Kennewick Ave.
Target opening: Spring or summer
Sisters Elena Gavin and Concetta Gulluni are converting a historic building in downtown Kennewick into a cake studio to house their young but growing business, Layered Cake Artistry.
The business began in leased kitchen space in Prosser a year ago. In December, it moved to Kennewick’s new Red Mountain Commercial Kitchen. The new home will give Layered Cake Artistry time and space to expand beyond wedding cakes.
The bakery won’t have regular retail hours but will sell the extras it makes on a casual basis. Watch its progress on Facebook @layeredcakeartistry.
Spaces to Watch
▪ Columbia Park Golf Links — CourseCo., the Northern California company that runs Kennewick’s city-owned Columbia Park Golf Links, will seek a restaurant partner to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in its new 150-seat clubhouse. The $1.1 million rebuild began in September and will wrap in April.
▪ Koko’s Bartini — The bar serving designer martinis and upscale food opens “soon” at Cynergy Centre, 4309 W. 27th Place, Ste. 100, Kennewick. Its liquor license was approved in December.
▪ Former P.F. Chang’s spot — An unnamed chain is already generating buzz thanks to news it is finalizing a lease for the 6,500-square-foot restaurant spot near Columbia Center mall that went dark when P.F. Chang’s departed in early 2018. Negotiations slowed over the holidays but are expected to wrap up this month.
▪ Former Dupus Boomers spot — The highly-anticipated restaurant opened in 2016 and closed in late 2017. Its 7,500-square-foot spot across from the current Richland City Hall at George Washington Way and Swift Boulevard remains empty. Its prospects should brighten in 2019, when the new city hall opens nearby, ending more than a year of construction in the neighborhood.
▪ Inca Mexican Restaurant is shifting its Kennewick location to Marineland Plaza at West Clearwater and Edison Streets. The move-in date isn’t confirmed.