Spokane Journal of Business

Couple constructs new building for Liberty Lake restaurant

Barlows eatery to relocate to larger structure in front of retail center, add services

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The owners of 4-year-old Liberty Lake eatery Barlows Family Restaurant are constructing a new, larger building to house the establishment and say they plan to move the restaurant to the new location in January.

Michael Fry, who co-owns Barlows with his wife, Alicia, says the new restaurant will be located on a 1.6-acre site at 1428 N. Liberty Lake Road, in front of the Liberty Lake Town Center retail complex. Fry says the new building will be nearly double the size of its current, 3,400-square-foot building, at 1400 N. Meadowwood, which the Frys lease from neighboring business Clark's Cleaner's owner Clark Kelsey. Kelsey, Fry says, is a longtime friend, and Barlows got its name from him. Barlow is Kelsey's middle name, Fry says.

"Clark and Alicia have been really good friends for about 15 years," Fry says. "He was looking to expand his real estate holdings and we wanted to start a restaurant, so we got together and got this going. We liked the name Barlows because it's gender-neutral."

He says the new space will allow Barlows to add dinner service, a banquet area, outdoor seating, and a lounge with a full bar.

Currently, the restaurant only offers lunch and breakfast. Fry says it also will be adding new vegan and vegetarian menu items to its lineup of home-style American food and scratch-made soups. The new dinner menu will include dishes such as pastas and a dry-aged rib eye steak, as well as current menu staples like pot roast, meat loaf, and fish and chips.

"We are a family restaurant that strives to be affordable for an entire family to dine out," Barlow says. "We will have soft-serve ice cream for the kids and a great bar menu for mom and dad."

Fry says he and his wife bought the land for the restaurant from Vandervert Developments LLC. Vandervert Construction Inc. is the contractor for the building, he says, and Russell Page Architects, also of Spokane, is the designer.

"We've outgrown our current location," he says. "We had an opportunity to get this property from Vandervert, so we took it."

Fry declines to disclose the cost of the project, but building permit information on file with the city of Liberty Lake puts the project's value at about $1 million.

Barlows currently has nine employees, not including the owners, but will be adding 18 more once the move is complete, including a head chef, Fry says.

The new restaurant will have a total capacity of nearly 300 people, Fry says, and will feature a fireplace in the main dining room and another in the lounge area. Fry also says the new restaurant will be all on one floor. The restaurant currently is spread over three floors, he says, which makes it a challenge to operate efficiently.

Katie Ross
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Reporter Katie Ross covers manufacturing, hospitality, and government at the Journal of Business. An outdoor enthusiast and snowboard fanatic, Katie is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University.  

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