Harvester Restaurant was once Gig Harbor’s favorite breakfast spot. Soon it might be again.
The Gig Harbor investor whose group bought the closed restaurant last July confirmed Monday that it had signed a lease with The Original Pancake House, a family-owned chain with seven other locations in Washington, including one in Tacoma,
âIt’s a perfect fit for Gig Harbor,â said Carl Swanes, a local attorney who created Gig Harvest LLC to purchase the Harvester when its previous owner retired. âThis is a breakfast-only restaurant, but it is still in the Harvester tradition, with a great menu and much of it made from scratch.â
The lease for the iconic building at 5601 Soundview Dr. was signed last week, Swanes said, and could last up to 10 years.
âIt’s a pretty firm commitment, and they’ve wanted to be in Gig Harbor for a while,â he told The Gateway. “The two owners I have worked with are really keen to make a positive impact in the community.”
The opening will be “as soon as possible,” Swanes said, and teams are already working on the building. The supply chain and labor shortages make the actual opening date uncertain, he said.
âThey have the keys and they are working on it right now,â he said.
The Original Pancake House was founded in Portland in 1953 and built its reputation on a menu consisting of international specialties such as French pancakes, Belgian waffles, Swedish pancakes, German apple pancakes and the ‘Dutch Baby’, a puffed pancake soufflÃ© served with sugar and lemon powder.
The chain is owned by the family of founders’ successors, Les Highet and Erma Hueneke, and has around 100 franchises across the country, according to the company’s website. The franchise locations in Washington are Tacoma, Puyallup, Maple Valley, Redmond, Bothel, Kennewick and Richland.
The Gig Harbor location will be managed by BTE Managment Co., the principals of which are Blake Williams and Ryan Medford. The company also operates the Tacoma Restaurant, at 601 S Pine St., just off Sixth Avenue, which opened in 2015.
Neither owner was available immediately.
Harvest Restaurant closed on June 30 after nearly four decades. Its longtime owner Kirby Tweten, then 68, said he decided to close the restaurant after going through a year of the coronavirus pandemic. He wanted to retire, he said, and his two sons were not interested in the business.
According to state tax records, Swanes’ group, Gig Harvest LLC, purchased the property for $ 1.35 million. Other members of his family, some linked to the Northern Fish Co., are among the investors, but he is the largest shareholder, he said.
Swanes, 41, is a lawyer practicing in Seattle but considers himself a “guy from Gig Harbor,” he told The Gateway in July.
Buying the Harvester was “definitely a leap of faith,” Swanes said this week, especially during the pandemic. It was a cash deal and investors committed a lot of capital, he said.
âWe are really betting on the strength of Gig Harbor,â he said. “And I think we were right.”
The Harvester has been a Gig Harbor landmark for 38 years, known for its American-style comfort food like country fried steak, beer-battered shrimp, and six kinds of stacked burgers. Breakfasts were generous – stuffed hash browns, Egg Benedict, corned beef mince, top sirloin, Tex-Mex omelets.
There were a crowd of regulars, including a group of fishermen who turned up for breakfast almost every morning, said Tweten, who opened the restaurant in 1984. His parents owned the original Harvester in the city. Tacoma stadium district.
Swanes said he and his group of investors wanted to continue this kind of tradition.
âWe’ve had a lot of interestâ in the property, he said. âBut we also reached out a lot. We wanted a nice family home for breakfast, and I knew the Tacoma restaurant from a brother who attended the University of Puget Sound. It seemed perfect.
Harvester regulars will find exotic new menu entries including grilled coconut pancakes, Georgia pecan pancakes, and Hawaiian pancakes, as well as familiar menu items. The Original House of Pancakes menu includes standards such as corned beef and eggs, pork in a blanket and sausage, Canadian bacon or sliced ââham and eggs.
The new operators were delighted with the building, Swanes said, as it will require very little modernization.
“The Twetens have really kept him in good shape,” he said. “He won’t need much more than a little paint.”