Business

Gourmet burgers and a hammerhead shark

NORTH BEND — After 15 years in the restaurant business,


Lance Jensen figures that by now, he knows what he's doing.


The owner of the North Bend Dairy Queen, 736 S.W. Mount


Si Blvd., is preparing to completely revamp the eatery. Instead of a


national franchise, it will become an independent business. Instead of ice


cream, starting Oct. 9 the restaurant will feature a selection of gourmet burgers


and seafood.


At the end of this month, Dairy Queen will close down and


reopen nine days later as Caribbean Burger. It is a dream Jensen, who opened


his first Dairy Queen franchise in Kent in 1985, has had for several years. It


also ends a period of acrimony between Jensen and the Dairy Queen company.


"The service is going to be full service," Jensen said of


Caribbean Burger. "We will have a Red Robin-style of menu, and we will feature


a wide variety of gourmet style burgers.


"When you walk in, it'll be completely different."


Instead of the typical Dairy Queen interior, Jensen has built two


300-gallon fish tanks, each 8 feet long.


"Then we're going to have a 12-foot-long hammerhead shark


reproduction in the lobby," he said. Jimmy Buffet will be playing on the


stereo, and staff members will wear Hawaiian shirts and shorts.


The menu will offer 10 different types of gourmet burgers,


sporting such names as "Bleu Bayou


Burger," "Maui Wowee Burger" and


the "Grilled Onion Burger," which the menu advises, "Get your kissin'


done before this one arrives because no one will kiss you afterward."


There will also be soups and salads, calamari and the traditional


fish-and-chips. Milk shakes, beer and wine by the glass will also be available.


The new restaurant, with its new menu and the new theme, will


become the only non-franchise restaurant along Mount Si Boulevard.


Jensen said in order to continue in the restaurant industry, he wanted his next


endeavor to be fun.


In 1998, Jensen had entered talks with Burger King to turn the


Dairy Queen restaurant into a Burger King franchise. But a rule precluded


Burger King from doing business in the area until 2002. So he sold the franchise


to Behzard Chaudry, who has another franchise in Milton, Wash. — a


move Jensen said Dairy Queen didn't like. He claimed Dairy Queen later


ended the restaurant's franchise designation in retaliation.


Then Jensen decided to buy the business back — his ownership


becomes official Oct. 1 — and move forward with his Caribbean Burger


concept.


A message left at the regional Dairy Queen office in Kirkland


seeking comment was not returned.


Jensen didn't have to get back in the restaurant business. After


selling the franchise to Chaudry, he started Aarrow Inspections in North


Bend. His business provides inspection services to those in the process of


buying a new home.


But the Caribbean Burger idea is something Jensen is proud of, and


its theme will provide a "positive attitude," he said, which can


sometimes be hard to find in the restaurant industry.


Jensen said in talking with friends and family, his Caribbean Burger


concept has met with overwhelming approval.


"Everyone that I talked to about this says that it sounds cool," he


said. "All I've heard is, "Hey, this


sounds like fun."

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