King Solomon's Reef in downtown Olympia is officially open. After two fires and 15 months of restoration, The Reef's curse has turned into a blessing.
The restaurant hosted its grand re-opening May 18, complete with hundreds of Facebook posts and spotlights in the parking lot.
"It was a really great day, everyone was in good spirits; the staff killed it," said P.K. Ruloph, a bartender at the Reef who helped serve libations to anxious customers. "I can tell it's going to be a good summer,"
I stopped in the week prior to chat with owners Lindy and Justin McIntyre as they took care of final touches before their re-opening.
We joked about the Reefs rumored curse and Justin told me he's had several people offer to smudge the building. But it's not necessary; the old-fashioned elbow grease of a hard-working family has done the job.
The inside is immaculate. In the restaurant, the original booths have been refinished to a smooth charcoal vinyl. The ceiling is pressed tin and creates a fascinating pattern. The wood paneling has been recreated. Everything is ship-shape, yet you can still feel the nostalgia the building holds. The bar is still swanky, with a few upgrades - diamond tuck bar stool coverings to match the bar, carpet pulled up exposing a concrete floor washed with an orange glow. Most of the bar retains its old glory, with its lounge-y feel and interesting décor. Perhaps the owners' proudest bar upgrade?
A 1981 Frogger video game machine.
When I ask owner Justin McIntyre how he and his wife Lindy juggle the demands of two small children and the most-anticipated restaurant re-opening in Olympia, he replies simply, "We just make it happen."
The McIntyres and their army of employees and friends have worked to restore The Reef to its original condition as a part of Olympia history and culture.
"The staff is very excited," said Lindy McIntyre. She talks of the sense of pride everyone has felt throughout the reconstruction. The staff cleaned, decorated and even designed merchandise. There will be plenty of Reef memorabilia to purchase, such as hats, hoodies and even earrings made with poker chips from the card room of the original Reef.
The menu will stay mostly the same, with favorites like the Pac Man and Fried Chicken and Waffles. The homemade sausage and pies are still there. One big bonus is The Reef now offers a kid's menu.
Another upgrade the business acquired was an automated computer system that will expedite food orders. The heating and cooling systems were upgraded as well.
The Reef, 212 4th Ave, Olympia, (360) 742-3199, Open every day from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m.