Rivers Bar and Grill to open in Washougal

Eatery to occupy former Hearth Wood Oven Bistro location

A man who opened five Massage Envy locations in Oregon during the past decade will operate his first restaurant in downtown Washougal this fall.

Derik Ford plans to serve steak, chicken, fish and hamburgers, at 2 Rivers Bar and Grill, in Washougal Town Square, in the former Hearth Wood Oven Bistro location, starting in October.

“This will be my first venture in the restaurant industry,” Ford said Monday. “I have always wanted to own an (upscale) bar and restaurant, and this was a great opportunity.”

Lunch, happy hour, dinner and possibly Sunday brunch dishes will be available, and there will be a family dining section.

Ford, 42, plans to hire an executive chef and approximately 10 or 11 other employees — including bartenders, cooks and servers — to work at the new restaurant. Some of the positions will be part time.

After opening a Massage Envy in Eugene, Oregon, 10 years ago, Ford has one location each in Medford and Bend, Oregon, and two locations in Portland. Massage Envy is a national franchise with more than 1,200 locations that provide massage and skincare services.

Ford’s wife, Michelle Ford, is a health and physical education teacher, as well as the Camas High varsity girls volleyball coach. The couple married in March.

The now defunct Hearth Wood Oven Bistro opened at 1700 Main St., Ste. 110, Washougal, in 2010, and served the community for the next seven years. But a tough winter in 2017 caused irreparable harm to the business.

“The last eight months have been particularly tough,” Hearth owner David Garcia wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page in April 2017. “Winter was brutal and with the restaurant closing for bad weather, staff illness and just poor turnout, the bank account has dwindled. … With rising labor and food costs, it just does not seem like Hearth can dig its way out of this hole.”

When Ford was asked what makes him feel prepared for the challenge of owning a restaurant, he said opening any business is challenging.

“I have a very strong drive to succeed and I feel if I am prepared, the business will be successful,” he said. “I don’t think about whether or not I will succeed. Failure isn’t an option in my mind.”