A new bear-themed restaurant in Lewis County has a diverse menu to satisfy a variety of customers, even those as picky as Goldilocks.
Papa Bears West, a diner with an attached bar, is now open in the former location of Spiffy’s Restaurant and Bakery just off Exit 68 along Interstate 5 and U.S. Highway 12.
The new eatery opened at 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning and will continue opening at that time every day. Even on its very first day, patrons were waiting at the door to try the food inside the facelifted building, decorated with wooden bears, bear photos and paw print decals on the bathroom floors.
Papa Bears “Den,” as the bar is called, has its own walkway and entrance so guests don’t have to walk through the dining area. Food served by the restaurant varies, with owners stating plans for typical diner menu food including all-day breakfast, pasta and occasional seafood cooks.
“The excitement, seeing the people, the customers taking a chance to enjoy a new restaurant: That's what it's all about. That’s the satisfaction for me, is people getting to enjoy a good quality meal,” said Owner Shawn Crittenden on Tuesday morning.
The new joint will be run by Crittenden, 52, and his wife Kim Crittenden, 45, Morton residents who are parents of nine and grandparents of 12.
The duo opened Papa Bears East in Morton about six years ago. Last June, they opened the Backyard Grill, a seafood eatery, also in Morton. Already, they’re onto the next venture, extending their reach to the western half of Lewis County.
Crittenden said in April he was spending about 90 hours per week working on the new spot and showed The Chronicle around the building while it was in the remodel process. After reporters again entered on Tuesday morning, it was clear he and staff had put in a tremendous amount of time and effort on painting, carpeting and replacing nearly all the kitchen.
Once the site of armed protests against statewide COVID-related measures, Spiffy’s closed permanently in August 2021 after accruing fines of over $400,000 for refusing to stop in-person dining in 2020. The fines were halved by the state, according to reporting by KELA, before the restaurant eventually closed. Owner Rod Samuelson took to Facebook at the time, citing staffing shortages and delivery difficulties as the reason for closure.
Papa Bears West owners in April stated they would give first hiring priority to former Spiffy’s staff. Crittenden said on Tuesday they have not had trouble hiring folks for the new restaurant, though they may eventually need to hire another cook.
There may be a grand opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting sometime in the future. Follow @papabearswest on Facebook for announcements.
If You Go:
Address: 110 U.S. Highway 12, Chehalis.
Hours: Sundays through Thursdays 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays through Saturdays 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.