Well the first week was not so bad.... the the unthinkable happened... realize that Steve literally planned for everything but this...a freak snow and ice storm that knocked out power for most of the city for two days.  We spent 48 hours in the dark.  We only lost some salad greens from the restaurant because Steve went out to get some dry ice from Fife to keep the food cold. However, we lost a bit of the momentum we had been building. I am convinced it will build back up because the people we have had come in love the menu and his food.  Not only are the number of regulars growing but so are the number of people who are stopping in an then telling friends.
Everyone loves our chalkboard tables. I do not know who loves them more - the kids or the adults.  I don't think there is anyone who hasn't written something on them. I want to take pictures of the best drawings and putting them on a bulletin board. Some of them are really good. The first night we were open, one guy drew a picture of a piece of macaroni being chased by the cheese. When the pictures are that good, it is sometimes hard to erase them. But we do so that the next group has their fun...
This one was done by an eight year old... And it is the first one I took a picture of. I am going to try to take pictures of more of them.
Well, at the end of the first week, we are exhausted!!!!!! But it is a good exhaustion.  All of the people who have come in have been very understanding as we work out our kinks in our systems. And they have all left happy.  They have also loved Steve's food.  As I have said before - the man can cook. We also have gained a couple of regulars. All in all, it has been a good start.
It is interesting to see a dream come true. What I think is that most people don't realize the amount of work that making a dream happen entails. A little over  month ago, we signed for the keys and since then we cleaned, painted, and painted somemore. Everytime we thought we were done, something else would need a coat of paint. But it was worth all of the hard work. I think we have created a trendy and edgy place that still gives you the comfort foods of the past. The walls are a bright orange with green and yellow accents, trimmed in black.  The tables are painted with blackboard paint and are meant to be written on.
So here we are the day before we open the doors for the first time.  The tables are set up, the equipment is in and the food is on the shelves and in the kitchen.  All stands ready like players in a theater set to perform. However, unlike a theater performance there are some thank yous that I want to say before we open!

All of our artwork is done by a local River Ridge graduate - Wyat Taylor.  He is a photographer and artist that is currently studying at Washington State University (Go COUGS!). You can find his FLICKR page here.
Karl Mitchell and his son rebuilt the brick wall so that it is sturdy. They cut a new door and created the chalkboard door to nowhere. They refinished the kitchen and built the cashier counter. If you are ever looking for a great contractor, look them up. Their company is called "It's All in the Details."
I guess I should say that opening a restaurant has been a 25 year journey. We did not know what kind of restaurant we would open or where it would be, but it was a dream that we talked about often. I would say we seemed to discuss it everytime we went out to dinner. We thought of a trendy expensive place, a bar and grill, a diner and then finally Steve decided on the comfort food with a twist concept. And since he is the one cooking - it is only fair he decides.
When I joined the Army, we made a deal that he would follow me around the world and when I retired, he would get to decide where we lived once. When we moved to Lacey in 2004, Steve fell in love with the fact we are close enough to both Portland and Seattle to get a taste of the big city when we wanted it. Yet we live in a safe and friendly neighborhood in a place that has a small town feel. I was lucky enough to be able to stay at JBLM and after the last deployment decided to retire. Steve's first instinct was to stay here. Two of our kids have graduated from River Ridge and the third will graduate next year. One graduated from Washington State and the other attends University of Washington. You could say that as a family, we have put down roots.
For the last two years, Steve has concentrated on finding the perfect place. It has kind of felt like we were in a version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears...The first place we looked at was too expensive.  The owner wanted to sell a failing place but have us pay off all of his bills.  The second place just kind of petered out. The third and fourth places went to other folks who were interested in them. And then finally we found the place that was just right.  Each time though, Steve did his research and we refined our concept and menu.