Mr. Ed's to reopen after community outpouring

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WALLA WALLA -- Mr. Ed's is making a comeback.

The Isaacs Avenue restaurant known in its nearly 40-year run for comfort food and where the servers and cooks know regulars by name will re-open for business Thursday, roughly a month after its closure.

Co-owner Dan Givens said this morning the operation will be slightly different than before with reduced hours and a tweaked menu.

New hours of operation will be 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The changes are expected to reduce the overhead costs, he said.

The business had closed Feb. 12 because of financial setbacks from rising food prices, a reduction in crowds and the effects of being under-insured for a devastating 2009 fire.

But Givens said he and business partner Craig Potter were so overwhelmed with feedback from the public about the closure.

"It was an amazing thing," Givens said. "I guess the biggest common thread of all the comments was how affordable the food was."

Inspired by the outpouring, he, his wife, Linda, business partner Craig Potter and his wife, Deb, worked to see what they could do to get the business going and the 12 to 14 employees they had back to work. With the changes to the menu, some of the prices are lower than they were when the business closed.

Givens said it's tough to explain how that happened, but it's largely due to the fact that with dinner gone during the weekdays there's less need for certain inventory.He hopes to work up to having the house-smoked meats once a week.

"If I have to have those available every day, there's an amount of waste there," he said.

"Plus, you have to have enough meat onsite for future smoking. You can have thousands of dollars sitting there until you're ready, and that's expensive."

He said he and Potter have received a little extra help by reduced rent from building owners Robert and Kathy Remus.

The building, however, remains for sale with an asking price of $360,000.

Givens said he and Potter would like to eventually purchase the property.

"I apologize that we've had to put our staff and our customers through this," he said. "It certainly wasn't easy for us or anyone else."

He hopes that the customers who've been saying they've missed it will be eager to return, as well as new ones.

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