PULLMAN – A Pullman couple has purchased Cougar Country Drive-In and aims to reopen the iconic restaurant in August.
Mike and Terry Wagoner, owners of Zoe Coffee and Kitchen, purchased the restaurant from Rhonda DeWitt-Miller on Monday.
“We are hoping to open it in a few weeks,” Mike Wagoner said. “Definitely before the first (Washington State University) football game, for sure.”
The Wagoners, who are WSU alumni, have fond memories of Cougar Country. They took their four children to the restaurant for Cub Burgers and Jim Dandy bars.
“It’s been part of our growing up and our existence here,” Wagoner said. “When we heard the owner was having difficulties, we contacted her right away.”
DeWitt-Miller closed the restaurant in February after more than 46 years of operation. The restaurant was founded by DeWitt-Miller’s father and modeled after Dairy Queen.
The Wagoners didn’t disclose financial terms of the sale.
The Wagoners will keep the Cougar Country name and menu. They are bringing the building up to code, installing a specialty grill, ordering supplies and planning to hire and train a crew of 40 employees.
The Wagoners aren’t strangers to owning businesses in Pullman. They purchased University Printing and Copying in 1983, after it was on the verge of bankruptcy. The couple added branches in Colfax and Moscow, Idaho, before selling the business in 1992.
The Wagoners have operated Zoe Coffee and Kitchen in Pullman since 2006 at various locations.
Mike Wagoner said he’s looking forward to carrying on the Cougar Country tradition.
“It’s going to be a fun place to work. It’s going to be fast-paced, and we’re providing something that people really want,” he said. “Everybody goes there for the experience and the tradition. I’m really grateful we will be able to provide that for people.”
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