It's an age-old question that almost everyone seems to ask every time a vacant lot springs up in an area of commercial real estate in the Wenatchee Valley; "I wonder if we're getting a....", and nine times out of ten, whatever comes after that 'a' is a restaurant chain.

Yeah, from Skipper's to Sonic and Shari's to Big Boy, I've seen a lot of 'em come and go over my nearly-fifty years in the Wenatchee Valley, and most of them have actually stuck around.

But no matter how many chain eateries we ever have at any given time, everyone always seems to feel like we could use one more.

Why even now, with the future of the old Department of Transportation property on North Wenatchee Avenue still uncertain, a bounty of names are being bandied about, from Chik-Fil-A and Buffalo Wild Wings to IHOP and Popeye's.

Now as much as I think we'd all like to see a new name in the chowing game come to town, Wenatcheeians also need to be realistic about their expectations. Yes, we're a rapidly-growing community to be certain, but there are still a fair number of places that, like Santa Claus in July, just ain't comin' to town.

And so I present you with a list of ten restaurant chains that you are likely never to see set up shop in the Wenatchee Valley.


Current Number of Locations: 749
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Yakima, WA - 79 miles

I actually hear people saying that this famous seafood chain which has been around since 1968 is still coming to Wenatchee. But as a lifelong resident, I've been hearing those rumors since I was a kid in the 1980's, and the pessimist in me still doesn't believe it.


Current Number of Locations: 4,846
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Osoyoos, British Columbia - 143 miles

With almost 5,000 locations, you'd guess that just about every town with at least a few thousand people would have a Tim Hortons. But with most of the chain's locations being on Canadian soil and the closest one in the United States some 2,113 miles to the east in Roanoke, Indiana, chances are this quick stop for donuts, coffee, and soup won't be skating into the Wenatchee area anytime soon.


Current Number of Locations: 270
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Longview, WA - 254 miles

True enough, Sizzler is a Western-based restaurant chain. It's been around since 1958 and I can clearly remember seeing many ads for it on television when I was a kid.

But Sizzler has been in decline for sometime now and it's doubtful the Wenatchee Valley would be on its list for expansion plans, even if it experiences a rebound.


Current Number of Locations: 181
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Richland, WA - 119 miles

I honestly never thought I'd see the day when there was a Bonefish Grill in Washington State, let alone in the Tri-Cities of all places!

The higher-end restaurant chain known for its seafood is quite prolific in the Southeast, especially Florida, where I have dined at a number of its locations.

But even though Richland might have one today, I would think it very remarkable if Wenatchee hooked a Bonefish at any point in the future.


Current Number of Locations: 300
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Lynnwood, WA - 131 miles

Chang's is an upscale Asian chain that's been around since 1993. And while it's true that it has plenty of locations in the Western United States, including here in Washington, it would seem we're fortunate enough to have a Panda Express and won't be dining at a local Chang's for a very long time...if ever.


Current Number of Locations: 78
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Beaverton, OR - 308 miles

This Japanese steakhouse has been thrilling its patrons with flamboyant displays of grilling since 1964, but the thought of one opening in the Wenatchee Valley is quite honestly, laughable.


Current Number of Locations: 377
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Scottsdale, AZ - 1,376 miles

One of the oldest fast food chains in the United States. White Castle basically invented the slider, along with the notion that one could be square-shaped within the world of burger geometrics.

But despite its nearly 400 locations nationwide, White Castle is predominantly a Midwest and East Coast operation. And with no locations within over 1,300 miles and the borders of several large Western states, chances are there won't be one in Wenatchee until we shift into the fourth dimension.


Current Number of Locations: 387
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Keizer, OR - 364 miles

Well, you never know, because this burgeoning burger joint is expanding fast and is a huge hit everywhere it pops up. But my guess is Wenatchee's gonna be more 'Out' than 'In' the chain's plans for the foreseeable future.


Current Number of Locations: 185
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Seattle, WA - 167 miles

Although I'd love to see a Hard Rock Café Wenatchee t-shirt, I imagine such a thing will only remain a novelty of bogus origins until the sun burns red and swallows up the Earth in about six billion years.


Current Number of Locations: 430
Nearest Location to Wenatchee: Rohnert Park, CA - 838 miles

If you're screaming out loud about now, "Hey! There's a Hooters in Seattle!", you'd be wrong. That one permanently closed its doors not too long ago. In fact, not only are there no longer any Hooters restaurants in Washington, but there aren't any in neighboring Oregon or Idaho either.

The closest place to overpay for even the most basic of menu items just to leer at college-aged waitresses in tight-fitting uniforms is Northern California.

I remember doing a bit on the radio when I was still a baby DJ back in 2001 where I jokingly said that a Hooters was coming to Douglas, Washington...and at least one caller believed me and was already drowning in his truly sad.

Yes, lovers of avian raptors and large breasts here in North Central Washington will just have to get used to the fact that there'll no doubt never be a Hooters within any distance of a Link Transit stop at any point in human history.

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