August 7, 2004 in Voices

Otis Grill fills former landmark red barn

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The red barn isn’t red anymore.

The Burger Barn at Harvard Road and Wellesley Avenue was a Valley icon for decades before it closed in December. People often gave directions based on the distinctive building.

When Vance and Ronda Emerson bought the restaurant in June, they painted the building a light brown. “We took a lot of flack when we painted it,” Vance Emerson said. “It’s a landmark, you know.”

The business, now known as the Otis Grill, was completely remodeled inside before opening July 8. “We’ve done pretty much a complete restoration of the building,” Emerson said. “The business had been let go. On one Saturday, fourteen of our friends and family came down and helped us clean.”

All the equipment was repaired and cleaned as well. “We did all new booths and all new countertops. It seemed like everything was broken.”

The Emersons said they spent about $70,000 remodeling the building, but declined to say how much they paid for the restaurant. “We just decided it was time we did something for ourselves,” he said of their decision to purchase the business. “We saw the opportunity here and decided to give it a shot.”

Emerson said he was surprised at how many people came in the first week they were open even though the restaurant is the only one in the area. “We’re the only game here in Otis (Orchards),” he said. “We see a lot of the same people come in all the time.”

The Otis Grill serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. The breakfast menu is extensive and most other items fall into the burger, sandwich, chicken or steak categories. There are also occasional specials such as spaghetti night.

The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

New restaurant supply store

Restaurants in search of supplies won’t have to drive to the Cash and Carry Store on North Division anymore. Smart and Final Inc., which owns the Cash and Carry chain, plans to open a new Valley location by the end of the month.

The company is leasing the old carpenters building at 211 S. McKinnon, said marketing director Bruce Varney. They will sell pretty much everything used by restaurants — produce, fresh meat, dairy, equipment and janitorial supplies. “If you’re a restaurant business and you need it, you can get it from us,” Varney said.

The Division store has been open for four years and there was always a plan to open another in the area, he said. “We have a lot of customers from that area.”

The store caters to businesses rather than customers off the street. “We’re kind of a business to business thing,” he said. “We’re really not set up for individual customers.”

The new store will be open seven days a week, though the exact hours have not been set. The Spokane Valley store will be the 47th store in the Northwest and will employ five or six people.


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