Daffodils, and other new life, are springing up at an empty restaurant building on the Heights.
With the creation of Tilly Jane’s restaurant and sports bar, what was once Shari’s will become — after extensive remodeling — a new family-style restaurant.
Owner Lucas Ward, who also owns Red Carpet Inn on West Cascade, said he hopes to have Tilly Jane’s up and running by Memorial Day.
“It’s a little terrifying,” said Ward, a 2005 HRVHS graduate, “but that location has kind of a storied history in Hood River just like the Red Carpet did. In someone else’s hands it might have had the bulldozer taken to it, but I saw it as an opportunity to put something there that would be accessible and friendly.”
The restaurant chain Shari’s abruptly closed the Hood River location in January. Built in 1980, it was the last place in Hood River to serve food 24/7. It is located on the Heights in the Hood River Shopping Center adjacent to Rosauers.
Tilly Jane’s will be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and a wide-ranging menu, including burgers, ribs, steaks and salads, and be accessible and welcoming to all ages.
“We will be easy and affordable,” he said. “That kind of go-to place you can go with friends when you’re not sure where to go.”
The kitchen is getting “a really deep clean,” he said, as part of a near-total interior and renovation.
That work, outside and inside, was all but completed last week, by Ward, family members and contractor Hale Construction of Hood River.
Ward said he will keep the outer-ring of window booths, but the counter and all other seating will be replaced. Bathrooms will be gutted and redone.
He plans a new bar, crafted from black walnut trees cut down a year ago from property at 13th and Sherman streets.
Though some of the booths remain, they will be reupholstered and throughout the interior, “everything pink is going away,” Ward said. The roof will be given what Ward called “a refined look to match the roof line of its neighboring buildings.”
The restaurant’s namesake is Mrs. William Ladd — fondly known as Tilly Jane. The Ladds were philanthropists instrumental in creating access to the Cloud Cap area on the north face of Mount Hood in the 19th century. Collectively, the Tilly Jane cabin, campground and trail are iconic alpine places, and ones Ward visited often as a child and now, with his wife, Becca, and their son, Luca, 8 months.