Cheers to retiring founder of The Hardware Store Restaurant

Her engagement in hard work was only matched by her deeds of big-heartedness and altruism.

Okay, now is the time for applause — or, to lift a beverage high, in a toast to celebrate all she did and all she will continue to do. I’m paying tribute to Melinda Powers, the imagineer, creator and successful mastermind of The Hardware Store Restaurant, who has retired from that endeavor with very little fanfare but a very ambitious bucket list of what’s next. No doubt that list is well-considered.

Perchance you don’t remember, or were not here, when the all-resourceful Melinda took on the Hardware Store project, which was to convert a hardware store into a restaurant which included appeasing King County over parking, light posts and too much more to be listed — but prevail she did.

Who among us has not celebrated an event, had a meeting, brought your out-of-town visitors — whose palates would not be disappointed — into the warmth and ever delicious fare at The Hardware Store Restaurant? Who hasn’t benefited from Melinda’s generosity as she welcomed guest bartenders for fundraising, troubadours for entertaining, vendors for farm standing and artists for exhibits in a gallery she created, supported and provided the best appetizers to be found?

And let’s not forget the July 4 fireworks, free for all, fun for each. Her engagement in hard work, including often waiting on and wiping off her tables, was only matched by her deeds of big-heartedness and altruism. The result: an enduring and endearing dining and meeting place we would be sorry without; and an achievement and source of pride from which she can move on with her typical grace and style. So, who’s with me? Thanks, and a round of applause for Melinda Powers.

— Margaret Heffelfinger