South Carolina

The Lodge at Columbia Point is adding a proper restaurant

The Lodge at Columbia Point sacrifices two guest rooms to make room for a full kitchen for Drumheller’s restaurant.

The wine-themed boutique hotel opened in 2017 with 82 rooms and no restaurant. It initially offered wine tasting and bar service on the first floor and event space on the second.

A year later, it added Drumheller’s Wine & Food — named after The Lodge’s late founder Tom Drumheller — in a second-floor meeting room, served from a small kitchen next door. The small kitchen supported room service and evening meals but prevented The Lodge from offering a full dining programme.

Michel Gabbud, who was appointed general manager five months ago, said the commercial kitchen and full restaurant area in the former lobby on the ground floor will allow The Lodge to serve food from 6:30am to 11pm, be it over the menu of the guest room or walk-in customers.

With the support of the owners of Escape Lodging in Cannon Beach, Oregon, The Lodge is advancing the $1.5 million renovation while promising to minimize the impact on its overnight guests.

Construction is limited to business hours, and the property borrows its founder’s motto: It’ll be fun.

Still, the expansion of the dining program requires sacrifices. The retired guest rooms each generated approximately $50,000 in annual revenue.

“We certainly hope to offset this loss with an increase in fee income and we are confident that will happen,” he said.

The renovation of the restaurant began in December when the two guest rooms were closed. The upstairs kitchen offers breakfast and limited service through the end of the month.

In January work will move to the ground floor where the commercial kitchen will be built with all new appliances and the lobby/dining area will receive a proper makeover.

A temporary wall is adorned with photos by Tri-City photographer Scott Butner.

Until the new kitchen is complete, The Lodge will rely on a hired food truck supported by the Water2Wine commission kitchen to offer breakfast service and a limited menu to its guests. Guests order from room service rather than the food truck window, Gabbud said.

The new Drumheller’s is slated to open in March with expanded seating both indoors and on the patio. The new restaurant offers 78 to 54 seats indoors and 24 on the fireplace terrace.

“Hospitality provides significant benefits to our community and it’s exciting to see our hotel partners continue to invest in the visitor experience. The new ground floor renovations will drive the economic impact and support the growing tourism industry. We look forward to experiencing the new amenities this spring,” said Kevin Lewis, President and CEO of Visit Tri-Cities.

Gabbud envisions all-day food service, a far cry from the limited offerings The Lodge opened with. He wants to offer brunch seven days a week because it is easier for the staff and kitchen to avoid switching from morning to afternoon meals by simply offering everything at once.

The longer hours better serve guests who typically check in between 3pm and 4pm and often want to eat out.

“We want to act on that instead of losing them to Starbucks or whatever,” he said.

The renovations will also enhance the special events offering by expanding the River Room, the lodge’s second-floor private function space. The old kitchen is shrinking, the meeting room is being expanded. It will expand seating by about 20% to accommodate up to 95 people, increasing its capacity for larger groups.

The contractor is Chervenell Construction Co. of Kennewick. Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates of Culver City, California is the interior designer.

The Lodge at Columbia Point overlooks Columbia Point Marina
530 Columbia Point Drive in Richland. It’s one of 48 hotels in Washington with at least a four-star rating on Google, and the only one in southeast Washington.

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