Ben Herreid made a tough financial decision this week to close his fresh pasta restaurant, Arista, and its sibling business, Roasthouse by Arista in Parkland.
But the closure of Arista lasted only part of a day. Puyallup business owners and politicians rallied Wednesday to get the doors back open.
The restaurant will serve dinner Wednesday and remain open for dinner service Tuesdays-Saturdays.
The future of Roasthouse by Arista is also something they’re discussing, although that restaurant remains closed for now.
“It’s amazing. I can’t believe it. I’m super humbled,” said Herreid about the sudden turn.
Herreid opened Arista in downtown Puyallup in 2014 with a focus on fresh-made pasta. He opened Roasthouse by Arista in Parkland in October with a menu of roasted meats paired with side dishes made of vegetables grown on his Clarks Creek Farm in the Puyallup valley.
Herreid had financed his restaurants through higher-interest loans, and the payments on that debt caught up with him as well as unexpected expenses that led to his ultimate decision to close.
After he announced his closure Tuesday on Facebook, local restaurant owners began talking with one another about what they could do.
“I got a call from Tim Mellema (the co-owner of downtown Puyallup’s The Forum) and he said, ‘I’m having an intervention and you’ve got to come with me.’ And I said, ‘I’ll meet you at the Hard Luck,’ ” said Herreid with a laugh, noting the fitting name of the bar for the kind of discussion they were to have.
That night and continuing through Wednesday morning, more restaurant owners showed up to give support and help come up with a plan. Tim Hall, of HG Bistro in downtown Puyallup, Bryan Reynolds, of downtown Puyallup’s Anthem Coffee, and Jason Maggard, a former Tacoma restaurant owner, arrived to help. Other restaurant owners called or stopped by, as did current and former Puyallup officials.
Mellema and Herreid pored over his books and devised a short-term plan while working on a longer term vision.
“I think we’re going to find a path forward. It’s an evolving situation and I don’t know how it works, but over a few too many IPAs we hammered out that we’re not going to let this drop, and they’re going to assist in any way they can to make it go,” said Herreid.
Mellema, who has a financial lending background in addition to his restaurant ownership, pledged to help Herreid figure out how to refinance his debt.
“He’s such a good person,” said Mellema. “His business is very important to downtown Puyallup, so we decided, he is not closing. We’re not allowing it.”
“It’s going to be full steam ahead,” said Herreid.
As for his other restaurant, the one that opened in October, he’s uncertain what the future holds, but he’s also working to reopen it. “Roasthouse is on hold for the moment until we find a different structure for what’s going on over there. It’s under discussion how we will proceed. For now, the focus has to be where the heart is, and that’s here in Puyallup,” said Herreid.
Where: 109 W. Pioneer Ave., Puyallup; 253-604-4288 or facebook.com/aristarestaurant.
Hours: 3-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.