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The Marquam restaurant is getting closer to a grand opening, the date still to be decided



TYLER NIZER - Markum Inn owner Mark Burnett, Father Philip Waibel, OSB, pastor of St. Mary Church in Mount Angel, and General Manager Julio Valera are ready for the blessing of the building.Mark Burnett, owner of the new Markum Inn, isn’t taking any chances.

The landmark eatery in Marquam, a few miles from Molalla on Highway 213, has burned down twice in recent history, once in the 1950s and the second time in 2014. So Burnett and General Manager Julio Valera invited Father Philip Waibel, OSB, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Mount Angel, to perform a Blessing of the Building Tuesday morning.

TYLER NIZER - The pizza oven uses live fire at the new Markum InnTwo features of the new building use live fire — one in the wood-burning pizza oven, and the second in the grill for steaks, Valera said. “And the significance of the blessing is the history of the building – it has burned down twice— so with the blessing of the building, we want to move forward, having fire as a friend,” he said. “The primary reason for Father Philip is we are looking for any help we can get.”

The Blessing:

“Lord we ask you to bless this new building, the Markum Inn. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. We ask to bless the owners and patrons of this place of gathering eating and enjoyment . . . Bless all who come to this town to enjoy the bounty of the valley and the great food to be offered here at the Markum Inn. Grant that all the activities that take place here build up the spirit of community among us and lead to the well-being of all.”

Burnett, who purchased the property in January from former owner Ward Frederick, had originally hoped to open the doors for business in September or October. But he told the Pioneer at the time that realistically, it might take longer to have everything ready to go.

“It’s not worth a day, a week, or even a month of revenue if we open prematurely and disappoint anybody,” he said at the time. “If everything falls together and we get our staff trained correctly and feel like we’re ready to meet the needs of our guests, we’ll open. My goal is that everyone who walks in here leaves happy and is glad they came. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”

Now that preparations for opening are in the final stages, Valera declined to name an actual opening date. “When all our permits get passed and our cooks are ready, and our staff is trained, then we will announce our opening in the paper,” he said.

TYLER NIZER - This new Markum Inn building is the fourth one since the restaurant's founding in 1895 in Marquam, on Highway 213 near Molalla.“The community is really open to the Markum Inn reopening,” he said. “They grew up here, their parents used to come here. It was ripped out of the hearts of people here when the building burned down.

“Something about this little hamlet — the area of Marquam used to be a thriving community with lots of businesses, but as the economy changed, it sort of dwindled away. The three buildings that have remained prominent here were the Marquam store, the church and the restaurant. Those have been here for many years. So bringing this restaurant back is like saying the town of Marquam is whole again.”

Burnett, who previously owned four different restaurants in Springfield, Illinois, has spent enough time in the restaurant business to be wary.

But he said last fall that what has made the Markum Inn successful over the past 100 years has to do with the location. The restaurant is central to many communities — Molalla, Silverton, Mt. Angel — and really belongs to them all.

TYLER NIZER - Last details of construction are underway inside the new Markum Inn building.With the new Markum Inn, he has kept the local community feel, working with local companies from the start, including general contractor C.L. Rose of Silverton and Kaster’s Kustom Cutting of Mulino for the redwood that has gone into the custom-made bar. The metal visible on the walls came from an old local barn. And, other than the bar, all the wood used in construction, including the interior and the siding, came from Withers Lumber.

“We are trying to keep our sourcing for the building and operating the restaurant as local as we can,” Valera said.

For the menu, fresh produce will come from places like Diggin’ Roots Farm of Molalla, and the beef from Coleman Farms, Molalla, providing the restaurants signature prime rib dinners and fan-favorite Markum Inn Burgers.

“Those are the things I’m excited about, bringing back part of the past while building something new and incorporating as many people and products from as close to home as I can,” Burnett said last fall. He embraces made-from-scratch cooking in a big way, and is confident that his formula will appeal to local diners.

“I’m very optimistic,” Burnett said at the time. “As a business person, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it would be a viable business, and it will always be a customer-based business first.”

The new building, at about 3,000 square feet is significantly larger than the old one. And with its high ceiling and big windows, it brings the outdoors in.

There is a patio with a fire pit going in on the east side nearest Highway 213, and plans call for horse shoe pits and a bocce ball court in the open area on the south side — all of which Burnett hopes will help to create a family-friendly atmosphere.

“Mark has tried to build a building that will withstand the test of time,” Valera said.

– Molalla Pioneer advertising representative Tyler Nizer contributed to this story

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