A distinguished downtown building — that goes all the way back to Redmond’s days as a rough-and-tumble logging town — is about to be revived.
Oddfellow’s Grill is scheduled to open this summer in the former Odd Fellows Hall at 7979 Leary Way NE.
The Odd Fellows was a fraternal organization named for its unusual kindness toward the down-and-out, including plague victims, in 17th century England and 18th century America.
Redmond’s Odd Fellows Hall, built in 1903, was a thriving community center and dance hall, drawing folks from miles around, throughout the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition and World War II. The building has been dormant for the past couple of years, after a 30-year tenant, Edwardian Antiques, closed its doors.
Now, business partners John Comstock, Jimmy Boyle and Joel Coval are working tirelessly to open a casual, neighborhood bar and grill where soups, salads, burgers and quick service will be the highlights.
“We really want to retain the feeling of the old building,” said Comstock, who is also an attorney and came across the Odd Fellows Hall while checking out office space.
Although a lot of labor and additional permitting are needed to freshen up the vintage building, “when we saw this place, we fell in love with it,” he said.
Boyle is an experienced restaurateur whose Burger Grill near Sun Valley, Idaho started out as StockPot Soups’ flagship store. As such, “five big steam kettles of soup, a buffet line and seat-yourself booths and tables,” will be what patrons see when they enter the new restaurant, with seating for about 100 people.
They’ll be open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and Happy Hours.
In addition to charming structural features of the original wood-frame building, the owners are incorporating stained-glass windows and church pews left behind by the former antiques dealers and tables reclaimed from an old bowling alley in Burien, as part of the bar and grill’s decor.
Although the restaurant won’t have any reserved parking, the partners don’t see that as an obstacle.
“With Palmer’s, The Matador and other restaurants down the street, this could be a lively downtown center more like Kirkland, encouraging people to get out and walk,” said Comstock.
Comstock’s wife, Linda, noted that she’d visited the office of the Redmond Historical Society to research the site and “loved hearing about the spirit and life behind the building. There were great stories about people like a woman who used to play the piano (which is still there) during silent movies.”
With the City of Redmond beginning a downtown revitalization process this summer, the Odd Fellows Hall and the surrounding area may not be so silent anymore.
The exact opening date for the Oddfellow’s Grill has not yet been determined.
Mary Steven Decker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (425) 867-0353, ext. 5052