Historic Fall City restaurant 'on the brink' of possibly closing

The Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn has been a staple in rural Fall City since the early 1900s. Its unmistakable and historic building can be seen in the heart of the community.

Co-owners John Manning and Cynthia Heyamoto said the restaurant and inn is on the brink of possibly closing.

"We're at the point where we're at maybe a month, or two, maybe three months where we might have to close these doors," said Manning. 

If there's anything to say about the location, known simply as the "Roadhouse" is that it's historic whether it's inside or outside.

"We think that the building is approximately 105 years old. It hasn't been designated as historical, but it is recognized in Fall City as a historical building," said Manning. 

Manning and Heyamoto first started working there several years ago. Manning was a dishwasher and cook, Heyamoto worked as a hostess, they said. Eventually, the previous owners came to them with the proposition for them to own it.

"The offer had come to us, and it was a no-brainer for us. We just looked at each other and said, what else are we going to do," said Manning. 

Up until March, the business was doing well. According to Manning, the Roadhouse would average between $54,000-$62,000 a week. 

But since March, the business would be lucky to reach half that.

"Since COVID, back in March, we have not had a single-month done over $30,000 in an entire month," said Manning. 

They've also had to let go of dozens of employees. Manning and Heyamoto are left doing many of the jobs themselves.

"If we're checking-in guests, when they leave, we're up there cleaning rooms, or we're boxing to-go orders or back in the kitchen cooking," said Manning. 

Now they're left with three kitchen staff and one dishwasher. Before the closures, they had 49 employees. 

"The regulars that used to come in are now sending us emails saying hang in there," said Heyamoto.

It's also taken an emotional toll.

"You wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes you're angry. You wake up in the middle of the night, and sometimes you're in tears," said Manning. 

The historical Roadhouse Inn and Restaurant was also seen in the hit TV Show 'Twin Peaks.

For Misti Straight, Manning's daughter-in-law, she's hoping a GoFundMe Page can help them out. 

"Even if my parents didn't own the restaurant, I would still go because you just enjoy the atmosphere in general," said Straight. "The last three years, he's poured everything in there. Making changes, moving with the times."

And because it's in rural unincorporated King County, delivery services aren't feasible, said Straight.

"My parents live in Carnation. Even if she wanted dinner, it's 20 minutes there and then you wait if you're going to get it to go. Then it's 20 minutes home. So you're looking at an hour before you get a chance to eat it," said Straight. 

Neither is setting up an outdoor seating area because of its proximity to two gas stations, said Manning. 

They hope that things change soon. And they hope that this dream that they had, doesn't go by the wayside.

"We sit here and go, what next," said Manning.