Famous restaurant to leave Snoqualmie Valley

FALL CITY Since the 1997 fire that destroyed the Herbfarm in

Fall City, the owners of the restaurant have been trying to reopen the

world-class Valley eatery. But, after years of

frustration and delays, owners Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van

Dyck have decided to move the business to Woodinville.

"We spent two years trying to rebuild and get the permits, but it

took way too long and cost way too much money," Van Dyck said. "So it

was more reasonable to relocate."

Their new restaurant _ the acquisition of which is still under

negotiation will be located next to Redhook Ale Brewery and the

new Willows Lodge hotel. The Herbfarm will occupy a one-and-1/2-story

building, with the 50-seat restaurant on the first floor and office space on top.

Van Dyck said they also looked at relocating the restaurant to

Newcastle, Kirkland or Stanwood, but the Woodinville location was available

the earliest. The relocated Herbfarm is scheduled to open in June.

The owners still plan to hold several classes at their new restaurant

and will share garden space with Willows Lodge to grow their ingredients.

As for the property in Fall City, Van Dyck said, they have to let it go.

"We hope someone wants to purchase the gift shop, gardens,

nursery and school," she commented. "We don't have a choice. We can't

afford to keep it because we lost money with the permits.

"The whole community is losing something of value," Van Dyck added.

Food critics and visitors from around the world have enjoyed

the Herbfarm's ever-changing menu since 1986. Since Memorial Day, the

four-star restaurant has been serving up its famous nine-course dinners at

Hedges Cellars in Issaquah. The Herbfarm proper - which also includes the

nursery, gift shop and school - has been in Fall City for the last 25 years.

Van Dyck said the company literally grew from her

mother-in-law's garden.

"Lola [Zimmerman] had extra chive plants one year and she

couldn't bear to throw them away so she potted it and sold it," she said. "And

the following year she grew some extra ones on purpose."

Since then, the company has blossomed in the Valley. Now, the

owners hope to keep the Herbfarm's tradition going a little further to the north.

"We're excited about being able to have a space for a restaurant, but

we're very sad about having to leave," said Van Dyck.

To make a reservation for the Herbfarm restaurant in Issaquah,

call (425) 222-7103.

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