LE COURANT: Start of construction of the new Hoptown Pizza site in Sunnyside |

With the help of Sunnyside Harbor officials, groundbreaking recently took place and construction is underway for the new HopTown Wood-Fired Pizza location in Sunnyside.

Sunnyside Harbor Commissioners Arnold Martin, Tyler Schilperoort and Jim Grubenhoff joined Hoptown Pizza owners Carrie Wright and Lori Roy for the Dec. 15 ceremony at 400 S. Sixth St., with entrepreneur Matt Sevigny doing also part of the event.

Adam Smith, project manager at the Port of Sunnyside, said the HopTown Pizza project was made possible by the ability of the economic development agency to acquire a vacant property in the town center and then secure a grant from the EPA for necessary brownfields cleanup.

“The property originally housed the Planters Hotel, but it burned down on February 9, 1968, and was demolished,” Smith said. “The current building was constructed and at one time housed Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

Smith said the HopTown Pizza project will renovate the 2,500 square foot building to serve the local food and beverage industry and is expected to create 20 full-time jobs. Completion is scheduled for June 11, 2023.

Wright and Roy operate the original HopTown Wood-Fired Pizza location in Donald, just off Interstate 82 near Wapato. It has been offering handmade pizzas with local ingredients for 15 years, as well as local wine, beer and cider.

The Sunnyside location plans to have up to 16 beers on tap and will help Wright and Roy offer catered events in the Yakima Valley. It will have an outdoor patio as well as an indoor bar and restaurant.

Wright said they plan to hire between 20 and 30 “HopTowners,” some part-time and some full-time, and they plan to bring in a few employees from Donald’s Restaurant to help with training.

Wright said she and Roy had been discussing a location in Sunnyside with Port of Sunnyside executive director Jay Hester for several years.

“Jay first contacted us when they first knew Varietal Brewing was coming in. They wanted us to go next to them. It was not the right time for us and we were ready to open up to Donald,” Wright said. “We stayed in contact with Jay for several years, but we didn’t think we were looking for a second location.

“Jay contacted us two years ago and told us about a new location – 400 S. Sixth in Sunnyside. We were ready to think about a second location, and our first location was setting up and running. He came up with a deal we couldn’t pass up, she added.

“It took a bit of time to get to this point where the construction actually started,” Wright said. “Jay and the Port of Sunnyside team have been involved from the start and are a pleasure to work with.”

For current hours, menu and more information, visit the HopTown Wood-Fired Pizza Facebook page.

Union Gap El Porton to rebuild

Good news for fans of El Porton restaurants in the Yakima Valley: After being badly damaged by a fire on Labor Day weekend, the Union Gap restaurant will reopen in 2023.

Owner Rodrigo Galvin said he hopes to reopen the El Porton at 2512 Main Street by the summer. A temporary roof was built over the restaurant to replace the badly burned roof and to protect the interior during the winter. Construction should begin when the weather improves.

On Sunday, Sept. 4, a fire was reported at 4:30 p.m. and started on the restaurant’s roof, causing damage estimated at $1.8 million, Yakima Fire Department officials said. Everyone was evacuated safely.

El Porton restaurants remain open in Yakima and Zillah; visit elportonyakima.com or elportonzillah.com for more information.

Commercial information

• Because we can’t get enough pizza and beer news, Flame & Brew Wood Fired Pizza opened earlier this month at 302 W. Nob Hill Blvd. (at the southwest corner of Third Avenue and Nob Hill). Offering pizzas, wings, salads, cheese bread and a variety of local, imported and craft brewed beers, wines and ciders, the restaurant is open daily at 11 a.m. for dine-in and take-out . Call 509-895-7017 or visit their Facebook page.

• The Mercantile, a business that combines a cafe with homemade, vintage and collectible goods for sale, opened last month at 218 W. Yakima Ave. Everything from coffee and pastries to plants, board games, clothing and gifts is available. For hours of operation and more details, visit their Facebook page or call 509-367-6099.

• Looks like another restaurant might be coming to the building at 2201 W. Lincoln Ave. in Yakima. A sign reading “Y Kitchen and Bar” was put up last week at the location, which more recently housed Mexican restaurant Mercedes and Family.

• Drink ‘n Games, a bar and game room at 509 W. Yakima Ave., closed two weeks ago. On the company’s Facebook page, owner Jamie Burns posted the following on Dec. 10: “It’s not easy for us, but unfortunately tonight will be our last night in business. It’s been a hell of a journey and we’ve had some of the best times of our lives and met the best people along the way, but being in business during a pandemic and now a recession, it’s been hard to say the least.

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