Lacey resident launches petition to save Hawks Prairie Restaurant

By Rolf Boone

The Olympian

A longtime Lacey resident wants to save the Hawks Prairie Restaurant and Sports Bar, a business that appears set to give way to Thurston County’s first Chick-Fil-A and a Taco Bell, according to city and state information.

A nearly 5,000-square-foot Chick-fil-A is set to occupy the west side of the lot, close to Marvin Road, while a nearly 3,000-square-foot Taco Bell will be built on the east side of the lot. Building designs include drive-throughs.

The land-use application notes that an existing building on the site will be demolished. That would appear to be the longtime Hawks Prairie Restaurant. However, it still was not clear Sunday whether this means the business will close or move.

Jim Kerzie, whose father, Ken, started the business, declined to comment on Sunday.

But Candice Schibel of Lacey has plenty to say.

“It means so much more to me than just a restaurant,” said the woman behind the petition to save the restaurant.

Schibel has been dining at the restaurant since 1987 and still meets her parents weekly at the business. Her husband met his biological father at the restaurant when he was 22, she said.

“We have plenty of fast-food restaurants in Lacey and Olympia, but we don’t have a lot of sit-down family restaurants,” Schibel said.

Not wanting to lose the landmark, Schibel launched a petition through to save the business. More than 3,000 people have signed it since late October.

“They have employees that have worked there for 30-plus years,” Schibel said in a message to The Olympian. “Think of the economic devastation it will have on their families. It’s a family restaurant with a family atmosphere.”

Longtime customer Denise Berns, who ate there Sunday morning, also called it a landmark. She used to come weekly, but now visits about once a month, she said.

Although the restaurant’s future remains unclear, Chick-fil-A’s plans are set.

In October, Chick-Fil-A announced in a legal ad that it was seeking coverage under a general stormwater permit from the state Department of Ecology. The project address is 8306 Quinault Drive SE, the same address as Hawks Prairie Restaurant.