Tri-Cities restaurants celebrate phase two reopening

KENNEWICK, Wash. – For months, restaurants’ tables have sat empty, takeaway and delivery turned into the norm, as did outdoor dining in the cold.

“It’s eerily quiet,” Kelly O’Leary said.

“We’re doing good but not the best,” Paul Singh added.

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Singh, who owns Maharaja Taste of India, said it’s been a roller coaster ride. They opened last September when Benton County first entered phase two of reopening.

“We just opened for two months and the second lockdown come (sic), so it was hard but we do have 20 employees here. It was a little hard but we still appreciate the people that were [using] takeaway. We have [the] option for patio sitting but this kind of weather people don’t like to sit and freeze,” Singh said.

As a newer restaurant, the owner said they had to work hard just to stay afloat.

“Well, we don’t have another option so we have to do that, we spent a lot of money,” Singh said they started renovating the restaurant’s building during the summer of 2019.

At Hubby’s Pizza in Kennewick, Owner Kelly O’Leary said they’ve been waiting for the day people can come back inside to eat.

“We got the notice yesterday and immediately brought our tables down; instantly pulled the benches off the tables, got the tables all cleaned up and hope that people would start coming in. It’s gonna be great, I’m really looking forward to interacting with our customers again other than like you said the ‘hi bye,'” she said.

O’Leary explained they’ve done their best to comply with guidelines and remain open.

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“Done everything, you know, we require masks, my employees have worn masks since day one,” she said.

While both restaurants have polar opposite cuisines, both owners have something in common: gratitude for the people who support them.

“Thank you for supporting us between the lockdowns,” Singh said.

“We are very appreciative to everyone who’s supported Hubby’s. We just hope they keep coming and actually get to come in and sit down and eat instead of having to take it to go,” O’Leary added.

Hubby’s Pizza is open seven days a week, 11 AM to 8 PM Sunday through Thursday and 11 AM to 9 PM Friday and Saturday. Maharaja Taste of India is open seven days a week, 11 AM to 10 PM.