Here’s what’s opening in the Gig Harbor Harvester building (hint: pancakes)
Good news for breakfast lovers: The old Harvester building will remain a breakfast destination.
The Original Pancake House, with locations in Puyallup and Tacoma, is expanding to Gig Harbor and will operate in the building that previously housed the Harvester, which closed in June after 38 years.
The Gig Harbor Original Pancake House will open in 2022.
“It’s the first time we’ve been presented with a scenario like this,” explained Ryan Medford, the franchise operator for The Original Pancake House locations from Puyallup to Tacoma to King County and the Tri-Cities area.
He said although he and his business partner Blake Williams were looking at properties outside Pierce County for the next phase of their expansion, they were actually recruited by the new owners of the building. (Property records show that Gig Harvest LLC, which lists Gig Harbor lawyer Carl Swanes as the managing member, purchased the building at 5601 Soundview Drive in July.)
“The current landlord emailed our franchise and asked if we’d be interested. We didn’t hear about it through normal channels through listings and brokers. He reached out directly to us and we responded directly. It’s been a great negotiation process. It’s been simple and we’ve worked well together,” said Medford.
ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE IN GIG HARBOR
For Medford and Williams – who have expanded to the Tri-Cities and White Plains New York areas in recent years – the decision to expand to Gig Harbor was a fast and easy, “yes.”
“It was a successful breakfast restaurant. It was cherished and loved in its community,” said Medford. “We know that it was a beloved place in the community and we’re thankful the opportunity came to us as a breakfast-only opportunity. We’ve got big shoes to fill and we’re really excited.”
He added, “One of the biggest things we’re excited about is the opportunity to keep the location a breakfast staple in the community.”
Original Pancake House is a Portland-founded company with locations from Washington to New York. The focus is on serving breakfast – and only breakfast. The restaurants typically are open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu is peppered with house-made ingredients unusual for even small chain restaurants, including house-made sourdough starters that take four days to ferment, hand-blended syrups and hand-cut breakfast potatoes.
As the name would suggest, pancakes are a specialty here. The menu offers more than a dozen styles of pancakes – from savory thick-cut bacon cakes to toasted pecan pancakes – served with two eggs ($12.29-$14.59). The menu also lists an assortment of crepes ($10.79-$15.79), seven kinds of waffles ($13.29-$15.29), nine styles of hand-rolled omelettes served with a choice of breakfast potatoes or pancakes ($15.59-$16.79), three styles of Benedict breakfasts ($14.59-$16.59) and traditional breakfast plates such as corned beef and hash ($16.79), country fried steak ($16.79) and biscuits and gravy ($15.59).
For those who loved the Swedish pancakes with lingonberries at The Harvester – this writer included – the Original Pancake House has its own version served the same way – with warm lingonberries.
Medford and Williams opened their first Original Pancake House in Pierce County in 2009 in a busy strip mall off Meridian. In 2015, when Primo Grill left its perch at Sixth and Pine in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood, Medford and Williams expanded to that location. They also have locations in King County (Maple Valley, Redmond and Bothell) and the Tri-Cities (Richmond and Kennewick). If all works as planned, they’ll also expand to Spokane next.
THE REMODEL OF THE HARVESTER BUILDING
They just signed the lease on the Harvester space and the remodel plans are now underway. There’s no real timeline for opening because of the planning it will take for the remodel, but Medford would like to open in the first half of 2022, so long as there are no surprises found during the remodel.
“It’s an older building, but it’s in good shape. It’ll be relatively simple for us to transform to an Original Pancake House. There’s minimal work required. It’s a really great situation for us. Sometimes there’s fear going into a closed restaurant, but those fears were mitigated because we’ve built our brand throughout the Puget Sound, so people know us and they know The Harvester.”
In the kitchen, they’ll need to shuffle some equipment around. In the dining room, they intend to keep the general layout the same. “It’ll end up being a nice blend of our other restaurants. We’ll have a lot of the same color tones and vintage artwork, but part of the allure to this property is the unique style of building. The floor plan in of itself is unique,” he said. “The flow of the restaurant will remain pretty close to the way it is. There are some unique characteristics in this building, like the atrium, the wood beams in the ceiling that are slatted wood. They look really nice and there’s not a lot to be done there,” he said.
The seating arrangements might be reconfigured a bit to make it a more comfortable experience, said Medford. “I feel like I could put a football field inside this restaurant. It’s big, currently around 200 seats,” he said. He added, “We’ll probably take some (seats) out and try and make sure every seat in the restaurant is comfortable. With our other restaurants, we’re usually pinched for square footage and we’re maximizing seating. In this experience, we can take some seating away and feel comfortable with the seat count.”
I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the remodel.
THE ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE
Puyallup location: 16116 Meridian E., Puyallup; 253-604-0791
Tacoma location: 601 S. Pine St., Tacoma; 253-212-0580
Gig Harbor coming in 2022: 5601 Soundview Drive, Gig Harbor
SPEAKING OF BELOVED BREAKFAST SPOTS, THE PINE CONE CAFE IN UP HAS NEW OWNERS
Did you catch my story yesterday about the new owners of the Pine Cone Cafe in University Place? Take a read here in this story – local diners will know the owners! They own two other restaurants in Tacoma.