Eatery at the Grant House, the long-time restaurant located on Officers Row on the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, will not reopen, according to a Jan. 10 Facebook post made by the restaurant’s owners Scott and Sarah Flury.
The post states: “2020 was not only an interesting year, it was devastating to many businesses large and small. At some point emotions need to be put aside and one must look at situations with a logical mind. That being said, after much praying and discussion, it is with a sad and heavy heart to share that we will not be reopening the Eatery at the Grant House. It was not an easy decision, but one that we have made and are at peace with. We have met some amazing people and created life-long memories. We appreciate all the support that we have received from the community the past 4 years and look forward to see what the future holds for us in the next chapter of our journey. Much love, Scott and Sarah.”
Scott and Sarah purchased the restaurant in 2017, which was at the time called The Grant House, from Suzy Taylor. Taylor had co-owned the restaurant with her husband Jon and sister Lynn Rullman since 2004. Scott and Sarah also own Latte Da Coffee House and Wine Bar in uptown Vancouver.
“When we bought the restaurant four years ago we had high expectations,” Scott said in an email to the VBJ. “We wanted to be part of the community and become a model for others to give back to the community. We teamed up with other businesses to help us on our efforts. iQ Credit Union always stepped up for the Easter Egg Hunt. The first year there were about 300 kids. We knew it was going to grow, so we received permission from the National Parks to hold it on the parade grounds. Seven hundred kids were at that one. The third on was canceled from COVID.”
Scott said that when COVID-19 hit the Southwest Washington area, he assumed it was going to be a temporary event – three weeks, a month max and they would be back on track. He said they had weddings scheduled, parties reserved, businesses had paid down payments to hold meetings at the restaurant.
“We were off to a good start,” Scott said. “We were still planning the Easter Egg Hunt and planning the menus to start back up Sunday Suppers. Reality set in. We were not going to be able to do inside dining for a bit longer. We were doing OK, we had the patio and the veranda, all tables separated six feet. We had a sanitizing schedule in place and our staff was doing a great job making our guests feel safe. The sun was out and we were seeing a bit of a change.”
“Then the rain started, and the wind,” Scott continued. The temperatures dropped and we realized that people did not want to travel out of their way to sit on a veranda that acts like a wind tunnel from the east winds. We were more of a destination spot, they wanted to enjoy dining in the place where generals made life changing decisions for our country. They wanted the history experience. Even when the rules changed to allow dining inside, 25% capacity made it difficult to make ends meet. The rules changed again and back to outdoor dining.”
Scott said they are today faced with a similar situation – the governor, with a stroke of a pen, can choose to allow inside dining one week and take it away two weeks later.
“What are places supposed to do with all the product they have invested in to open back up? When we closed the first time we gave away almost $8,000 of food to our employees and food banks. We didn’t want it to go to waste,” Scott said.
Scott said that he and Sarah are sad and emotional that it has come down to them having to close the restaurant.
“We have unfulfilled hopes and dreams that will not reach fruition,” he said. “It was not an easy decision, but the only one that made sense. We have a great relationship with the Historic Trust and are happy that they understood our position and are working with us to put closure on this chapter.”
Scott said their other business, Latte Da Coffee House and Wine Bar, remains open and “with the heated tent and walk-up window should be able to weather the storm.”
“I will be spending more time up there and am excited about reaching out to the community more and making a difference in our neighborhood,” he said. “At this time it is too early to say if we will open a new chapter in the same field (another restaurant), we just want to grieve the loss of this closing the Eatery so both Sarah and I can make logical decisions.”
Even after a year, I can’t tell you how much I miss this place.