Feast your eyes on Golden Corral, Vancouver

North Carolina-based buffet restaurant breaks ground

By Troy Brynelson, Columbian staff writer

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Rejoice, Clark County. You’re getting a new buffet after all.

Golden Corral, a North Carolina-based chain of buffet restaurants, broke ground this week on a new location in the North Image neighborhood. Like other buffets, it charges all-you-can eat prices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It is the first Golden Corral in the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area, despite the chain having close to 500 locations across the country. Franchise owner Ramsey Zawideh said he hopes to get it built and open by late October.

“It’s been a project in the works for a long time and you know we’re just so happy to have broken ground now this past week,” he said. Permits were first filed for the restaurant in spring 2015.

Besides its food offerings, Golden Corral will be the economic center of a new development, Orchards Crossing, at the southeastern corner of the intersection of Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard and state highway 500. No other tenants have been announced, he said.

The building is poised to be about 11,000 square feet, according to permit applications with the city of Vancouver. About 120 people will be hired to staff it, said Zawideh, who is based out of Tigard, Ore., and owns a handful of other restaurants in the Portland suburbs.

Zawideh is going into business with Golden Corral because of its 40-year history, he said, and he was impressed by the loyalty its employees seemed to show.

“There are a lot of people, whether it’s management or people who work in the stores themselves — servers, cooks, whatever — there are a lot of people who have been with this company for decades, and that’s a little unusual,” he said.

He and business partner Sunny Burden chose Vancouver, specifically, because it was more affordable to open a restaurant here, he said.

“Trying to put one of these in downtown Portland would not have worked for us because the site would be so expensive,” he said. “We’d have to charge $90 for a meal or whatever the heck it is.”

The restaurant will come with 181 parking spaces and will be accessible via Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard and Northeast 121st Avenue.