The parking lot was full last week, but Olympia's Ranch House BBQ Restaurant wasn't open -- not quite yet. Contractors were the ones taking up the parking spaces, but by next week, customers will flood the parking lot.
"We're opening February 9," said an elated Ranch House co-owner Melanie Tapia. She sounded far less stressed than when I last spoke with her in December. At that time, the popular barbecue restaurant was to have opened Jan. 2, but the snow dump delayed that by a month.
It's been a miserable 12 months for Tapia and co-owner Amy Anderson. First, a mudslide in December 2007 closed the restaurant. They moved the Ranch House temporarily to Olympia's Governor Hotel from January to November 2008, but closed that location after their lease expired. Then another tragedy: A roof fire in November 2008 destroyed the roof and some of the interior. And once they got that fixed, the snow caused yet another month-long delay.
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Regulars have been wondering what has changed since the restaurant closed more than a year ago. The answer: only a few things. Tapia and Anderson reconfigured the interior of the restaurant, losing office space and gaining a bar and lounge. But the trophies will still be there, and the laid-back atmosphere remains. The award-winning barbecue menu will remain the same, of course.
As for next Monday's opening, they're hoping the governor will show up and cut the ribbon, just like she did when they opened in their previous temporary location at the Governor Hotel.
Other than that, it will be back to business as usual for Tapia and Anderson, starting next Monday. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m.
Ranch House BBQ: 10841 Kennedy Creek Road S.W., Olympia; 360-866-8704. Website here.