The owners of Savage Land Pizza plan to reopen the longtime Spokane Valley family restaurant in mid-May, about a year after it was destroyed by a suspected arson-caused blaze.
Pamela Veach-LaRochelle, who owns the business with her husband, Ian LaRochelle, says construction is well under way on an $800,000 replacement structure at 700 S. Dishman.
"The walls are up, the roof is on, and they're putting in wiring and plumbing," Veach-LaRochelle says.
Spokane Structures Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on the design-build project.
The rebuilt restaurant will have about 8,700 square feet of floor space, roughly the same amount of space as the original building, but will be configured more efficiently, Veach-LaRochelle says. The one-story structure will have its kitchen on one end rather than toward the center, where it divided the seating area in the original building, she says.
A kids' play area will be expanded, and some of the dining space will be partitioned for private parties. Savage Land Pizza will have about 30 arcade-style games and activities for kids and seven large-screen TVs for sports fans, she says, adding that miniature golf and basketball courts will remain outdoor staples at Savage Land.
Veach-LaRochelle says it has been a challenge to rebuild the restaurant, in part because the previous building was underinsured, and her longtime bank was reluctant to finance the project. Commercial Lending Northwest Inc., of Spokane, arranged financing for it.
She says youths who enjoyed parties and games at the restaurant provided needed encouragement, and one girl even sent her a $2 contribution toward the project. "It gave me a bizarre strength to keep going," she says.
The restaurant will have a seating capacity of 200, including a 60-seat bar where beer and wine will be served. Veach-LaRochelle says she plans to obtain a liquor license at some point in the future.
She doesn't plan to change the menu, which in addition to pizza will include sandwiches, burgers, appetizers, and a soup and salad bar.
The restaurant will have 20 to 25 employees, several of whom will be relatives who worked there before the fire, she says.
"My family worked there, including my sister, my daughter and son-in-law, and a niece and nephew," she says.
Veach-LaRochelle, a former district manager for CLC Restaurants Inc., a Missoula-based Taco Bell franchisee, bought Savage Land Pizza LLC in September 2006. Her husband has since become her partner in the business.
The restaurant, originally named Savage House Family Pizza Parlor, opened there some 30 years ago and is the last outlet remaining of a four-restaurant chain that was founded in Cheney and at one time included outlets in Airway Heights and North Spokane.
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