Half Lion Brewing to open restaurant at Kent’s Riverbend Golf Complex

City staff makes lease deal to try to snap streak of failed eateries

Courtesy Photo, Half Lion Brewing

Courtesy Photo, Half Lion Brewing

After three consecutive restaurant failures at the city-owned Riverbend Golf Complex, Kent officials have cut a deal with Sumner-based Half Lion Brewing Co., to try to make the new tenant successful.

The Half Lion Public House is scheduled for a soft opening in May and a grand opening in June at 2019 W. Meeker St. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serve traditional American pub food and feature a full bar.

“Much like the Half Lion Brewing Co., Taproom in Sumner, the Half Lion Public House will be offering a rustic and comfortable space that will be another great place for family and friends to gather and have fun,” according to a statement on Half Lion’s Facebook page.

The company opened in Sumner in February 2016. Half Lion beer is on tap at more than 200 locations from Tukwila to Olympia. The Sumner location hosts weekly trivia, live music and private events. And the name comes not from a lion, but a Great Dane, which owners Jason Nelson, David Westby and Adam Shay explain on the company’s website at halflion.com.

The City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement on Jan. 15 with Half Lion. It’s a 10-year lease with three, five-year options. The lease requires Half Lion to pay $3,000 per month, a big change from previous restaurant agreements.

City Parks Director Julie Parascondola told the council prior to its vote that changes needed to be done to try overcome the failures of Scotch and Vine, which closed in April 2017 after less than a year in business; Mick Kelly’s Irish Pub, which closed in June 2015 after a five-year run; and the Fire Creek Grill, which closed in 2010 after nine years.

“One of the challenges is whether it’s the term or the option, every restaurant has ended up defaulting and owing the city revenue,” Parascondola said.

The three restaurants still owe the city a total of about $175,000, Parascondola said. The city has written off those losses.

Parascondola said city staff looked at ways to consider the new tenant a partner and how to help the restaurant survive. So instead of the city taking a percentage of the gross revenue, the new contract includes a flat monthly fee.

Scotch and Vine had a lease to pay 8 percent of gross monthly revenues to the city, with a minimum of $5,000 per month and a maximum of $12,000 per month.

“There is a very small net profit margin (for restaurants),” Parascondola said. “When Kent was taking a percent of gross profits, it was proving to be too much for the restaurants to handle. This is a tenant/landlord agreement, but we are also a partner. We need to see them as that.”

Half Lion also will pay 45 percent of the utilities. Mick Kelly, who ran the Irish pub, complained to the city about how he had to pay for all utilities even though the facility had no separate meters for the restaurant and 18-hole clubhouse next door.

Councilman Dennis Higgins said prior to the vote he liked the new lease agreement negotiated by Mayor Dana Ralph and Parascondola.

“After Scotch and Vine left, I made the remark we had three different restaurants fail in that space so we must be doing something wrong,” Higgins said. “I want to thank you mayor and Julie for re-thinking how you are going to run that lease.”

Higgins also welcomed the new owners to the golf complex

“I’ve been to your brewery and I’m excited to have you there,” Higgins said.

In addition to serving golfers at the 18-hole course, Parascondola expects Half Lion to be a good fit for the new Marquee on Meeker Apartments under construction across the street from Riverbend.

The council sold that land, the former par 3 course, for $10.5 million to a mixed-use developer to eliminate the Riverbend Golf Complex fund’s debt of about $4 million and to spend about $6 million to improve the 18-hole course. Parascondola will update the council in February about changes at the course and driving range under the city’s new business plan to help Riverbend break even rather than losing money every year.

Marquee on Meeker eventually will have about 500 upscale apartments targeted for millennials (born 1981-1996).

“We had to think different because we have the golf customers but we also have the Meeker corridor,” she said. “It’s a going to be a lot different corridor bringing in the millennials.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Business

t
Two new murals decorate downtown Kent businesses exterior walls

Colorful art along West Meeker Street and West Harrison Street

t
Saar’s Super Saver Foods opens on Kent’s East Hill

Along 104th Avenue SE across from Home Depot

Dave and Buster's restaurant and entertainment venue looks to hire 130 people to staff its Bellevue venue, set to open in August. Photo courtesy Dave and Busters.
Dave and Buster’s hiring 130 for August opening in Bellevue

Dave and Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue opens in downtown Bellevue on… Continue reading

State Rep. Debra Entenman, D-Kent, will be one of the speakers at the second annual PNW Economic Equity Summit virtual event on June 23. COURTESY PHOTO, House Democrats
Local chambers of commerce to present PNW Economic Equity Summit

Virtual event at 11 a.m. on June 23 offered by Kent, Renton, Seattle Southside groups

The winning bid hit $28 million for a seat on New Shepard’s first human flight into space by Kent-based Blue Origin. COURTESY PHOTO, Blue Origin
It took $28 million for winning bid on Kent-based Blue Origin’s space flight

Winner’s name to be released later; nearly 7,600 people from 159 countries placed bids for seat

t
State Sen. Keiser disputes that unemployment pay hampers hiring

Says ‘unemployment benefit is not keeping people from work’

Images of dishes from Issaquah’s Umi Cafe posted on the SMORS page. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Ho)
Facebook page promotes minority-owned restaurants across Puget Sound region

Miya Nazzaro used to be a member of Facebook pages that were… Continue reading

Courtesy Photo, Amazon
Amazon hiring in Kent and across the nation

Open roles offer an average starting pay of over $17 per hour

Merle and Marti Reeder. COURTESY PHOTO
Merle Reeder joins Kent’s Team Marti of John L. Scott real estate

Husband to work with wife as operations manager and broker-partner

The Moe Vegan food truck serves meals at the city of Kent’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21, 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
King County fire marshals offer regulatory relief to food trucks

39 fire authorities have reportedly agreed to standardize fire codes and inspections.

(Pxfuel)
Federal Way approves $3 hazard pay raise for grocery store workers

The city ordinance was passed with a 5-2 council vote on May 4.

Courtesy graphic, Hydro
Kent aircraft parts supplier to lay off 46 employees

Kent one of four U.S. locations for Germany-based Hydro Systems USA