Golden Corral shoots for December opening

By Troy Brynelson, Columbian staff writer

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Hold your horses, Clark County, at least for a little while longer.

Golden Corral, the North Carolina-based chain of buffet restaurants, has overshot its expected opening and now plans to open in mid-December. Franchise owner Ramsey Zawideh called the earlier October deadline “optimistic.”

“My contractor was telling me mid-November, and he was being more realistic. Now we’re both being realistic,” he said.

Some pretty typical construction-related hiccups led to the delays, Zawideh said. For example, some equipment arrived later than expected, as well as components for such important utilities as heating and air conditioning, he said.

“It has been a cascade” of factors, he said. “It hasn’t been one thing in particular.”

Crews first broke ground on the buffet restaurant over the summer. It will anchor a retail center called Orchards Crossing near the intersection of Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard and state Highway 500.

Some people have been trying to get an early taste anyway, though. The site has received visitors almost every day in recent weeks, Zawideh said. Some have even walked through the front doors of the 400-seat, 11,000-square-foot restaurant.

“People are pulling up and walking in the building, wanting to know when we’re open,” he said. “(The site supervisor) starts freaking out because he wants everyone in a hard hat if they’re in the building.”

For many, Golden Corral can’t open soon enough. Retired Vancouver resident Paul Presler said the area has been starved for solid buffet options.

“Vancouver’s been really lacking,” the 63-year-old said. “It’s just too old of a scene. People want fresh.”

Presler added that he has been “telling everybody” about the new Golden Corral opening up nearby.

“We’ve been telling a lot of friends of ours about it, and they’re looking forward to it, too.”

With 170 parking spaces, controlling traffic congestion has been a focal point for Zawideh. Orchards Crossing will offer some overflow parking, at least during Golden Corral’s busy opening days.

“We want to be ready for that, to accommodate people,” he said. It’s our goal to be able to accommodate as many people as well as we can. We’re anticipating there’s going to be lines.”

Golden Corral will have a staff of about 120 people, Zawideh said.