Paul Le said it has been “crazy and a lot of work,” opening a second restaurant just three months after opening the first.
The Sushi Joint opened at 1887 Main St., Ste. “D,” in downtown Washougal, in October 2015.
He oversaw the soft opening of Smiley’s Yogurt and Deli, at 1801 Main St., Jan. 21.
“An opportunity came up when River Dogs closed,” Le said Thursday, as he sliced swiss cheese for sandwiches.
River Dogs & Growlers, which opened in mid-August 2015 and closed a few months later, sold hot dogs and craft beer.
“This is not your average sub shop down the street,” Le said, regarding Smiley’s.
“There have been a few equipment changes,” he added. “We sell sandwiches, not beer.”
The menu written on the chalkboard, subject to change daily, recently included prime rib dip, ham and cheese panini and carved turkey feast sandwiches, as well as red potato cream soup and Caesar salad. Homemade cole slaw and potato salad are among the sides.
Dannon YoCream soft-serve frozen yogurt flavors include blackberry, cookies and cream, dutch chocolate and salted caramel. Gummy Bears, coconut, kiwi lime dessert sauce and miniature M & Ms and chocolate chips are among the toppings to choose from, and customers pay 50 cents per ounce.
Beverage options include Mexican Coca-Cola and Fanta orange soda, as well as Jarrittos fruit punch, bottled water and canned Diet Coke.
There are three flat-screen TVs, as well as books, board games and playing cards for customers to enjoy while dining at Smiley’s.
Le, 51, remembers being a part-time dishwasher at King’s Table, in Portland, when he was 15.
“I am still washing dishes today,” he said.
“Along the way, I developed a passion for food preparation,” Le added. “I enjoy cooking and good food in general. I enjoy building restaurants. I got that from my commercial real estate background.”