Since 1947, Harold’s Burger Bar has been a Centralia staple for fast, drive-through burgers, milkshakes and fried delights.
Except for the last few weeks, when it has been closed.
But Harold’s is coming back after Christmas, thanks to a new-to-the-area family team that fell in love with the joint so hard they wanted to make it their own.
The family has never run a business together, but Kyle Dyer — who has received the official title of “Burger Lord” from his family — says his managerial experience at the Astoria Golf and Country Club, in fast food and at Starbucks has prepared him for this job. With clear communication and well-defined roles, everybody should be able to “stay in their lane,” he said, which will help them operate with little stress.
Dyer’s sister, Aryelle Newton, is the business's general manager, bookkeeper, graphic designer and accountant.
“Both Aryelle and I have culinary experience,” he said. “Food and eating and tasting new things is really kind of my life.”
Brenna Kinsey, Dyer’s wife, will be running the social media and website. Lottie Dyer, Newton and Kyle Dyer’s mother, is going to be “The Boss, with a capital T,” the family said.
With each family member bringing diverse strengths, the group is confident they can keep Harold’s Burger Bar’s longtime identity intact while expanding and improving offerings to make the place their own.
“This place was probably really hopping in the 50s. And it's kind of my hope that we can really kind of give it some new life now,” Kyle Dyer said.
Though, bumps in the road are to be expected. The clan thought buying an already-running business would be an easy, week-long turn around from purchase to opening.
“The amount of stuff that goes in to start it, even if you're taking over a business, the stuff that it takes to get a small business together is tremendous. I’ve worked for a lot of small businesses before and there’s definitely a lot of love, a lot of extra stuff that isn’t necessarily there when you are starting a franchise company. It’s something that’s completely independent. So, that’s been a fun challenge for us to navigate,” Kinsey said, adding later: “I mean, I knew there was going to be problems from the start, (but) not big problems like electrical.”
Still, considering the family bought the joint on Dec. 1, and expects to open the week following Christmas, the team feels highly optimistic. After walking through downtown Centralia and visiting local events and stores, becoming part of the thriving culture in the area is compelling to the family members. They intend to host community events at the site and possibly have other offerings such as a free library stand.
While some menu items such as the popular “Husky Burger” will remain the same, Harold’s will also be serving new recipes created by Kyle Dyer.
Currently, Harold’s has no set date for reopening, but the team will hold a soft opening as soon as they get “all their ducks in a row.” The Google information on the restaurant will be updated in the next few days with a new website, phone number and social media links.
“I'm just really excited because my family is going to be together and we're going to work together,” Lottie Dyer said. “We're going to make this work.”