Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Former South Pacific Restaurant Finds New Owners

Tumwater Restaurant Will Become a Filipino-American Eatery
Above: The former South Pacific restaurant on the corner of Custer Way and Capitol Boulevard will become Florante's Restaurant and Sports Bar.
By Janine Unsoeld

The Tumwater Brewery District will be seeing new life with the recent purchase of the former South Pacific Restaurant at 3507 Capitol Boulevard.
New building owners Norma and Florante Allarde will soon bring good food to the corner of Custer Way and Capitol Boulevard near the closed brewery. They are renovating the dilapidated space into a new Filipino-American eatery.  
The name of the new restaurant is Florante's Restaurant and Sports Bar.

Norma Allarde says the restaurant will feature traditional Filipino foods and some American foods. A few common Filipino dishes include Adobo, Pancit, Lumpia, Sinigang, Kare-Kare, Kaldereta, Menudo, and Asado.
“Our goal is to open by Spring 2015,” said Allarde in a telephone interview today. “We’re working with the city, the health department – everyone’s so excited.”

Above: Demolition by J&D Contracting, LLC has already begun inside the building.

The Allarde’s bought the restaurant, built in 1964, on December 16 for $300,000 from Ng Ping. The restaurant has two floors - the first floor is just over 4,500 square feet, and the top floor is a 528 square foot loft.

According to Thurston County property records, the market value of the restaurant has fluctuated: currently it has a market value of $504,200.  In 2011-21012, it peaked at $843,850.
Allarde admitted that it will be a lot of work to bring the restaurant up to date.

“It needs a lot of TLC - the whole building is not up to code – everything’s been grandfathered in for the last 30 years and held together with Band-Aids with no permits, so we’re going to take it to the basics and renovate it. We’re in no rush – we’re going to do it right.”
The Allarde’s have many years of experience of ‘doing it right.’ The Allarde’s own and operate three local adult family homes, Norflor Manor, two in Olympia, and one in Lacey.
Norma's husband, Florante, is a certified dietary manager, and currently cooks for the family homes. Coming to the United States in 1992, Florante learned to cook, and until recently, cooked for Panorama in Lacey.
“After opening the first one in 2004, I asked Florante to resign from his position as dietary manager at Panorama to help me run the home. We've worked together ever since, side by side for almost 10 years now.  He has supported me in my dream to have one adult family home and now it's turned into three homes. It's my turn to give him support in following his dream of becoming a restaurant owner,” Norma says.
A nurse for 24 years with an eight year military background, Norma Allarde says she and her husband met at Panorama when they both worked there.  Norma is proud of what she and her husband have accomplished so far.

"We're not political people. We work hard, live a quiet life and thank God for everything we have….Florante’s dream has always been to open a restaurant,” said Norma. “He’s just been looking for the right place. The South Pacific (location) felt right to him….I fully support him, just as he’s supported me in my business decisions all these years. It’ll be a lot of work, but he’s going into it with his eyes wide open. He’s excited – so very excited!”

“Our hope is to provide people with good affordable food in a place that provides good hospitality and makes people feel at home...just like back home in the Philippines.”

Above: Capitol Boulevard is a gateway from Tumwater to Olympia. Picture is taken from the corner of the restaurant's parking lot.

The Brewery District Planning Project
The Brewery District, located near the Deschutes River, includes the former Olympia Brewery and the triangle of roads formed by Custer Way, Cleveland Avenue, and Capitol Boulevard. The district extends north to the Sunset Life property and south to "E" Street.

Planning for the area is a priority of the City of Tumwater Strategic Plan. The former South Pacific Restaurant is located at the crossroads of this major gateway between Tumwater, Olympia, and I-5.
The Brewery District Planning Project involves the city of Tumwater, the Thurston Regional Planning Council, and public input to develop a vision and transformation of the area around the former brewery. Three community meetings held in 2013 have helped to gather input on how the area would be revitalized around the brewery, which closed in 2003.

In 2014, efforts will move toward plan adoption, along with more open houses and public hearings involving code and zoning amendments.

Upcoming Brewery District Events:
January 15, 2014, at 5:30 p.m.: Focus Group Meeting #8 (Fire Station on Israel Road)

January 28, 2014, at 5:30 p.m.: Joint Planning Council/City Council briefing on Brewery District Plan (Fire Station)
February 18, 2014, at 7 p.m.: Joint Planning/City Council hearing on Brewery District Plan (Open House at 5:30 p.m.)

For more information about the Brewery District, go to the Thurston Regional Planning Council, www.tcrp.org or contact Tim Smith, Planning Manager for the City of Tumwater, tsmith@ci.tumwater.wa.us, (360) 754-4212.
Above: The triangle of roads of Cleveland Avenue, Custer Way, and Capitol Boulevard as seen from the parking lot of Baskin and Robbins ice cream shop in Tumwater. The former brewery is in the distance, behind Florante's Restaurant and Sports Bar.