The plan was to open at the start of golf season. Everything was on track, too—until the day before the new restaurant was slated to start operating.
“Our opening day was supposed to be the day after we had to shut down,” says Jim Harbour, who co-owns the new Round Top Public House at Washington State University’s Palouse Ridge Golf Club with Spokane banker Wade Dissmore. “We were prepared to open on St. Patrick’s Day.”
On March 16, Gov. Jay Inslee mandated the closure of restaurants and bars statewide due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis delayed Round Top’s opening by three months and threw Harbor and Dissmore off-course. While waiting to open their new establishment, they also had to pivot at the restaurants they already owned and operated.
It was, Harbour says, “an emotional rollercoaster.” He describes the first two weeks of the lockdown as “some of the most intense times of being in business I’ve ever experienced just because of the unknowns…All of the sudden, we didn’t know what the rules were, and we didn’t know the timeline.”
Harbour and Dissmore also own Pullman’s South Fork Public House and Fork in the Road Catering. Round Top is their biggest restaurant endeavor. And it’s only the second restaurant at Palouse Ridge since WSU’s 18-hole golf course opened in 2008. Banyans on the Ridge closed after 11 years in December.
Remodeling started in early January. The new concept: eclectic but elevated dishes—think colorfully plated flat iron steaks, house-made tamales and Creole-style crab beignets—with one of the best restaurant views on the Palouse. Round Top offers sweeping vistas of rolling hills along with a full bar and a varied menu. Look for creamy shrimp pasta, chicken Madeira, Huli Huli chicken and carne asada tacos with arugula, cotija cheese, pico de gallo, house-made guacamole and garlic crema.
You don’t have to be an annual pass holder—or even a golfer—to dine at Round Top, which has been open to the public since June 9. To ensure social distancing, “we removed the tables. It makes it easy. There’s no confusion about where people can sit,” says Harbour, who also owns Pullman’s Porch Light Pizza. “Eventually, as we’re able to entertain more people, we hope it becomes one of the premier destination dining and event spaces on the Palouse.”
Round Top Public House
509.335.8474 | roundtopph.com
1260 Palouse Ridge Drive | Pullman, WA 99164