Mill Plain Shari’s gets a makeover

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A tried-and-true stop for meals, pie and coffee, Shari’s Cafe & Pies is bringing a new look to Vancouver.

The chain’s Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard and Chkalov Drive restaurant has reopened this week after a major face-lift, according to Michael Kiriazis of the Beaverton,Ore.-based chain. The work was intended to freshen up the building’s dated exterior and add to the comfort level of dining with new interior fixtures and natural stone and wood finishes.

“We completely gutted the restaurant to pull in a more contemporary feel,” said Kiriazis, the company’s vice president of marketing.

The work included removing the drop ceiling over the venue’s dining room. “It’s very open now,” he said.

The restaurant — among the busiest for the chain because of its east-side location off the Interstate 205 exit — was selected as the first to be updated among the chain’s 98 locations in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Approximately 4,000 employees work for the Shari’s Cafe & Pies chain. Between 40 and 50 people work at the Mill Plain restaurant, part of the Cascade Park Plaza shopping complex. The center is home to busy destination retailers Trader Joe’s, PetCo, Party City and DollarTree at 305 S.E. Chkalov Drive.

The company felt the Mill Plain restauraunt was in need of a face-lift, Kiriazis said. “It’s a great location for us. We have a strong foothold in the Vancouver community,” he said.

The remodeling work involved installation of a huge, curved timber portico over the main entrance to the familiar, hexagon-shaped building. Interior work exchanged dated light fixtures, oak finishes, and upholstery for new materials that have what Kiriazis called a Pacific Northwest look. He declined to comment on the cost of the remodel, adding that the company wants to eventually roll the new look out to its entire chain.

“A lot of our restaurants were built in the ’70s and ’80s, so they’re getting old and tired,” he said. “That one (on Mill Plain) needed some attention to its aesthetics.”