Mark Palmer has a vision, and it is coming to fruition: He is creating a neighborhood gathering spot for friends to meet up and have a great time. He wants Thurston County residents to be able to walk into the restaurant, bar or casino, and have the staff greet each patron while creating an environment for guests to get to know each other as well.
Women in their 20s, 30s and 40s choose it for a Girl’s Night Out. Guys gather there to have a locally brewed beer and play a few hands of poker. Retirees meet to socialize and play a game of Spanish 21.
Families love the kid’s menu in the restaurant, and parents enjoy the variety of the Fresh Sheet menus that change every week.
Everyone enjoys fresh baked pizza, smoked wings, or breakfast; it is all right there at a Hawks Prairie Casino.
Palmer is the manager of Hawks Prairie Casino and the Riverbend Restaurant. He assumed management of the establishment over a year ago, and he is excited about the changes that are taking place. “Ninety percent of our customers are on a first-name basis with our staff. It is very much a local destination. People know they will have a great time here. We provide fun, local entertainment in a smoke-free environment,” he said.
There are three areas in which Hawks Prairie really distinguishes itself: fresh, ‘made from scratch’ food in the restaurant, a bar that has the largest inventory of spirits in the county, and a smoke-free casino.
Riverbend Restaurant: Fresh, Made From Scratch Food
Tim Wingate, Executive Chef, grew up in the kitchen. He prides himself on creating fresh food that is made from scratch. The restaurant has a smoker, a wok, and churns out pizza complete with hand stirred sauce and dough.
Wingate offers a variety of menus for his customers to choose from. Smoked wings, fresh pizza, and amazing Asian food are his specialties. Each week he creates a Fresh Sheet menu that offers five or six specials. “The portions are huge! The first time I ordered a plate of wings I was confident that I would be able to polish them off myself, but when they arrived I knew there was no way I could finish without help,” said Palmer. The restaurant opens at 9 a.m. daily for breakfast and closes at 3 a.m.
Full Service Bar: “Best Happy Hour in the County”
The bar is located between the restaurant and the casino. It has an open, lively atmosphere and provides plenty of room for all types of gatherings.
“We have the largest selection of liquor in the region, over 13 beers on tap, and the best happy hour in the county,” said Palmer. Happy Hour is daily from 3-6 p.m. Drinks start at $1.50 for domestic beer and most appetizer items are 20% off.
The Hawks Prairie Casino is non-tribal, which means that the games are cards only, but they offer a wide-variety including Spanish 21, Baccarat, Blackjack, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and Pai Gow. The poker room has live Texas Hold ‘em every day starting at 11a.m.
The demand for smoke-free gaming has also helped attract regulars to Hawks Prairie casino. “We are a smoke-free casino, which is a huge draw for a lot of Thurston County residents who get tired of smelling like a cigarette after they leave other casinos,” said Palmer.
The casino is open daily at 11a.m. and closes at 4 a.m. “A lot of the regulars attend our daily poker tournament at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. We offer great jackpots,” said Palmer.
Whatever the occasion, Hawks Prairie is a great choice to meet with friends for a night out, get together for a Friday office party, or gather with family for a delicious meal.
As Palmer says, “There is always something fun going on at Hawks Prairie.”
Check out their events calendar at http://www.hawksprairiecasino.com/ or give them a call at (360) 528-8888.