The opening of Banyan’s on the Ridge signifies a general trend in the Pullman dining experience, said Fritz Hughes, executive director of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce.I have being hearing the Olive Garden rumors for a long time. Starbucks is a logical move, as they lost the location at Stadium and Main last year. Plus, Starbucks stores all over the country have been utilizing recycled fast-food restaurants with drive-thrus. I can think of two such locations available in Pullman currently (Burger King on Stadium and Taco Bell/KFC on North Grand).
“What’s really happening here in Pullman is that local people are investing in the community, like Tom Handy of the Old Post Office,“ he said. “We want to have good product out there.” Hughes believes that a Starbucks drive-thru “might have a presence” in Pullman soon, and said Olive Garden has been evaluating the Palouse for a potential space in the last few weeks.
Two years ago, the Chamber of Commerce surveyed WSU students, and found Red Robin to be the most highly desired restaurant, Hughes said. However, the corporation felt the community was too small to sustain a venue.
“We try to balance,” Hughes said of potential new restaurants. “I really hope we get some high-end things, and a variety, to try to meet everyone’s needs.” Banyan’s on the Ridge will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and be open seven days a week.
I would love a Red Robin. I would also love a Target. But Pullman has been repeatedly rejected by both as not being big enough. That's why I always tell people, "Let Wal-Mart come first, and the stores you want will follow."
Speaking of Wal-Mart, I wonder if we will see any calls from PARD for economic impacts studies on Banyan's, Olive Garden, and a new Starbucks? After all, Banyan's on the Ridge will compete with the Hilltop Restaurant, Olive Garden will compete with Basilio's, and a drive-thru Starbucks will compete with the drive-thru Daily Grind locations.