The Kalispel Tribe of Indians is looking to expand its Fatburger franchise, starting with an outlet in Spokane.
Representatives of the Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority met recently with city planners to look into opening a Fatbuger restaurant in the long-vacant Pizza Hut building at 6022 N. Division, on the North Side, says Michael Wiprud, the authority's executive director of project planning and development.
The tribe had considered remodeling the 2,100-square-foot structure. It had indicated Garco Construction Inc., of Spokane, would be the contractor on the project, and Wolfe Architectural Group PS, also of Spokane, would design it. Since then, however, the tribe has been looking for an alternate site to open its first Fatburger restaurant in Spokane, Wiprud says.
"We learned from the city what it would take to bring it up to code," he says of the former Pizza Hut site. "Now we're looking at other locations in Spokane."
KTEA is the economic development arm of the Kalispel Tribe, which is based on a 4,700-acre reservation about 55 miles north of Spokane, in Pend Oreille County. The authority's offices are located at the tribe's Northern Quest Resort & Casino, in Airway Heights. Fatburger is one of 14 restaurants and lounges at Northern Quest.
KTEA's website says the authority often looks for new business opportunities to ensure the economic diversity of tribal enterprises. The tribe's other franchise operations include a Chevron gas station and convenience store, a Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen restaurant, and a Cravings coffee and pastry shop.
Wiprud describes Fatburger as a fast-casual format restaurant.
Aimee Hubbard, KTEA's director of franchise operations, says the tribe's Fatburger outlet, which opened in May 2009 following a major expansion at Northern Quest, is one of the highest volume of the 150-plus Fatburger restaurants worldwide.
Hubbard says she would expect a new Fatburger in Spokane to employ about 30 people.
Wiprud says the tribe is interested in additional growth within the tribe's franchise area, which includes greater Spokane, and possibly a larger region in the future.
"We're talking to Fatburger to see where that partnership goes," he says.
The property that the tribe had been eyeing, the former Pizza Hut building at the southeast corner of Division Street and Dalke Avenue, a block south of Francis Avenue, was constructed in 1976 and has been vacant for a number of years.
The property earlier had been listed for lease for $5,000 a month.
The Pizza Hut cupola was removed from the structure in 2007, city records show. County records also show prominent Spokane developer and property owner Harlan Douglass owns the property.
Subscribe today to our free E-Newsletters!SUBSCRIBE