TUMALO, Ore. - Tumalo Feed Company, a Highway 20 landmark restaurant for more than a quarter-century and a general store for decades before that, has been sold for more than $1.1 million to a Bend developer and his partners, who say they plan some improvements, but not enough to ruffle the feathers of the regulars.
Compass Commercial announced Thursday that brokers Pat Kesgard and Kerri Standerwick represented sellers John Bushnell and Robert Holley in the sale of the 9,600-square-foot restaurant, which sits on 3.5 acres.
The real estate company did not provide details of the transaction, but Deschutes County property records list sale of the property by Bushnell and Holley to Bend developer Larry Kine's company, Kine LLC, for $1.125 million on Oct. 31.
Back in November of 2014, NewsChannel 21 interviewed Bushnell about the general store turned soda fountain and later steakhouse, which they had just put on the market for $1.29 million for the land and buildings and $219,000 for the business.
After decades in the restaurant business and as managers, Bushnell said there 'just comes a time to move on."
As the Western-themed restaurant's online history tells it, back when the 20th century arrived, the Tumalo Feed Company was a general store and "crossroads for travelers from all corners of the Pacific Northwest." It became the Tumalo Emporium in the 1950s and featured a full soda fountain, which is still in a dining room.
Since Bushnell and Holley bought it in 1991, the restaurant has been featured in Sunset magazine as one of the "Top Steakhouses of the Great West." Along with a menu featuring "legendary" steaks, seafood, poultry and pork, the place offers live music, a saloon complete with Western swinging doors, "jartini" cocktails and a "Buckaroo Kids' Menu," with kids under 5 eating free.
Mitch Thisius of Bend told NewsChannel 21 Thursday he has come aboard in the past few weeks as operating manager and co-owner with his wife, Jen, ahead of the deal becoming official on Jan. 1
"We're going to be doing a grand reopening in early spring," Thisius said. "For now, we're going to keep everything exactly as it is. We are indeed going to keep it as a steak and seafood restaurant -- the same kind of vibe, the history and everything is going to be embraced."
But Thisius, who previously worked as a food development chef for Made in Nature, a healthy and organic snack maker, said while they can't yet go into specifics, the new owners are also "going to make some enhancements, revamp somewhat, to get a new vibe going."
"All the old favorites are going to be there" on the menu, he assured, but "people can look forward to seeing some fresh, new items."
Thisius also said they are working on a "smooth transition" with Bushnell, and that all of the two dozen employees who want to stay on will be able to.
"My wife and I are full-time managers," he said. "We're really excited to make some enhancements."