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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
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
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."