MARYSVILLE — After considering the option of running the Cedarcrest Restaurant itself, the city of Marysville has instead chosen to lease it to a new manager, who will not be a city employee.
“We did explore that option,” city of Marysville Chief Administrative Officer Mary Swenson said. “After talking with the new leasee, though, we decided to go with a straight lease instead. We believe it works better for both of us if he is separate from the city, and not an employee, so that we only have one relationship with him, and he conducts the hiring and restaurant operations.”
Robert Thomas, a self-described lifelong veteran of food service management, is the new manager. Pat and Kathy Regan, who ran the restaurant for more than six years, agreed to leave in November of last year, after receiving checks from the city to cover their legal fees, and being allowed to stay and run the restaurant rent-free from June through October of 2009. The settlement was agreed upon by the city and the Regans in July of last year, after months of legal wrangling between the two sides.
Swenson explained that one key difference between the city’s arrangement with Thomas, versus the one it had with the Regans, is a profit-sharing deal that kicks in after Thomas’ first year of running the restaurant.
“Past a certain dollar amount of profit made by the restaurant, the city gets a portion of that profit,” Swenson said. “It’s an incentive to do well. It doesn’t kick in during the first year because it takes time, energy and money for any start-up business to become successful, and we want them to become successful. This provides us with more revenue than we’ve seen in the past.”
As for Thomas, he’s proud to show off his remodeled restaurant interior, which now features a larger bar and a walled-off dining area that can host more personal gatherings.
“The colors you see on these walls are my living room’s colors,” Thomas said. “My kids helped build the kids’ menu, and they’re the reason we have carrots with ranch and applesauce. The chicken alfredo and the ranch burger with an egg on it are my wife’s favorites. I want this to be a place where I can bring my own kids and not feel out of place, but I also want the lounge area to be a place where you can get away from the kids too.”
Thomas admitted that he once thought that only those who used the Cedarcrest Golf Course could eat at the Cedarcrest Restaurant. As someone whose house is only a three-minute drive away from the restaurant, he hopes it can serve as a community gathering place for those near his neighborhood, who don’t look forward to driving all the way to State Avenue for a sit-down meal.
“What people pay for at a restaurant is convenience,” Thomas said. “They want excellent service from good staff, and good food at a fair price. They want their food dishes to appear and their empty plates to disappear, and our job is to make that happen so smoothly that they don’t even notice it happening.”
The Cedarcrest Restaurant is located at 6810 84th St. NE and can be reached by phone at 360-659-3566.