Creating a warm and lively atmosphere
For enthusiasts that frequent Prineville Reservoir in the summer months, a popular icon that travelers are accustomed to visit along the way has changed ownership and recently been remodeled.
One year ago, Xane Olson and business partner John Abell bought the former Richi's Place, Grill and Spirits (formerly Richi's Place), located on Juniper Canyon Road, approximately 14 miles southeast of Prineville. The building, formerly owned by Richi Redwine, consisted of a store, restaurant and gas station — and has long been a popular stopping place for tourists and visitors who are heading to Prineville Reservoir State Park. It is also a meeting place for locals who live in the immediate area.
Upon taking ownership, Olson and Abell immediately assessed the property and made the decision to remodel the building to better utilize the space. They wanted a larger restaurant and long-desired by customers bar area. The store will still offer snacks, soda, beer, and such — but will be downsized considerably. The gas pumps will open soon upon the state fuel tank inspection.
The building now boasts new cedar tables, booths, and a remodeled restaurant and additional bar area. The wood accents create a warm atmosphere. By mid-June 2020, Olson realized they were ready to begin opening.
"We got to the point when we realized we could open," Olson said.
They opened on June 26, to the delight of local customers who eagerly waited for the remodel completion.
"Other than a few bumps, it's gone extremely well," he added.
Olson pointed out that they are still working on the lottery area, as well as waiting for state approval. They are also putting finishing touches to the store. In addition, they are adding a patio to the side of the building to provide a stage for bands and shows and space for outdoor seating.
"We have plans for an actual stage in the future in a different part of the property. We have actually really big plans, it's a large property so we want to utilize all of it," he said.
They are currently utilizing one-and-a-half acres, but there are four acres total. They are also hoping to add a catering hall.
Before the remodel, the building had a large store, which Olson felt was underutilized. They decided to make use of the largest portion of the building by creating a bar area, which is now referred to as The Cedar Room. On the other side is a restaurant, with booth seating. There is a long counter, also made of cedar, that extends to portions of the two areas. There is extra seating in the bar area as well.
The menu has been altered to focus on burgers. Olson makes the patties from scratch and cooks them to order. Barbecue pork is also a staple all times of the day. Olson hails from St. Louis, Missouri, and he has a passion for pork and barbecue.
"We have my barbecue pork, which I use in all three phases of the day — breakfast, lunch and dinner. Barbecue pork scramble actually seems to be a real hit for breakfast."
The dining area serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the weekdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar stays open until 10 p.m. each evening. The dining menu includes an emphasis on burgers and sandwiches and finger foods. For dinner, there are also options such as chicken-fried steak and smoked pork with his famous barbeque sauce. The bar menu is the same during dining hours, with a limited menu after 8 p.m. They are also considering offering a delivery option for food in the Juniper Canyon area. They are currently working on the logistics of that possibility.
On Wednesday, July 22, there will be a social-distancing car show on the grounds. There will be approximately 15 cars, and they will be parked apart and limiting groups to 10 to meet all the distancing guidelines.
Richi's Place, Grill and Spirits
Business Owner: Xane Olson
Address: 14749 S.E. Juniper Canyon Road, Prineville, OR 97754
Restaurant Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday through Thursday
8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday
Cedar Room hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days per week.
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