After eight months of construction and a heaping of blown openings, Golden Corral swung open its doors on Thursday.
“Boy oh boy, what a wild ride,” said franchise co-owner Ramsey Zawideh, who told The Columbian shortly after receiving final permits from the city of Vancouver.
Its opening, at 11801 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd., ends a drawn out saga where the all-you-can-eat buffet blew by opening dates in October, December and then again on Valentine’s Day.
After the latest delay, spurned diners took to the restaurant’s Facebook page to either express frustration — some called for a boycott — or plead for rationality from their “hangry” peers.
“Lighten up folks. It’s just a restaurant, and they’re working hard to get things right,” one poster wrote.
Zawideh and co-owner Sunny Burden have maintained that the delays stemmed from numerous construction problems, like mistimed delivery of equipment, weather problems and long waits for inspections or permits.
Zawideh, however, said he understood the frustration.
“If we could have been here sooner, we certainly would have,” he said. “All we can do is, going forward, do the best job we can.”
The location marks the first Golden Corral, headquartered in North Carolina, in the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area. The next nearest location is Marysville.
Golden Corral will open 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, and 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. It seats 400 people.
The 11,000-square-foot restaurant is set to anchor a new strip mall called Orchards Crossing. No other tenants have been announced.
The restaurant will have 181 parking spaces and more than 200 employees.