Longtime Glacier restaurant to reopen under new ownership

A longtime restaurant is taking a bit of break but is expected to be ready under new ownership by the time skiers head up to the Mt. Baker Ski Area.

Graham’s Restaurant closed last month after having been operated by Katie O’Connell for a little more than three years. Gary Graham, who owns the building, signed a lease with the owners of the nearby Chair 9 restaurant, who plan to reopen Graham’s sometime in early November “before the snow flies,” said Kirby Cook, who operates Chair 9 with his wife, Connie, son Peter and daughter Amber Hein.

The family is currently doing a bit of cleaning up and getting the various licenses in order, but the most important thing to them is maintaining the Graham’s Restaurant mystique, Kirby said.

“We’re well aware of what Graham’s means to the community,” Kirby said, adding that it has been a gathering point for area residents for years. “It’s an older building, so right now it just needs a little TLC.”

Graham’s Restaurant, which is at 9989 Mt. Baker Highway, will retain its classics like burgers and fish & chips on the menu and may feature a few new items, Cook said. It will have the same hours and live music in the evening.

The building itself opened in 1906 and at various times has had photographs of Clark Gable and Loretta Young, who were in the movie “Call of the Wild,” which was filmed in the Mount Baker area in 1935. For Kirby, one of the features that stands out is the old bar that’s a centerpiece for the restaurant.

“It’s such a unique bar,” Cook said, adding that they are happy with how things are coming together at this point.

Graham said he appreciated the community support of the restaurant under O’Connell’s ownership and believes the Cook family will continue the Graham’s tradition.

“Graham’s usually takes a break at this time of year,” so the timing of the ownership change is good, he said.

The Cooks opened Chair 9 at 10459 Mt. Baker Highway in July 2010, featuring a variety items including pizza from a Wood Stone Corp. pizza oven. Cook said Chair 9 took a couple of years to get a good foothold in the community but has done well in the past couple of years.