Burgers, shakes mainstay at new Ralphie's restaurant

Couple realizes business dream

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The outside of the Ralphie's burger joint in Moses Lake.

MOSES LAKE - Move over Moses Lake establishments, there's a new burger joint in town.

Business owner Ralph Combs, along with his wife Anissa, saw their dream of providing affordable burgers and shakes to the area become reality when the duo officially opened the doors to Ralphie's on August 3.

"It's always been a goal," said Combs of venturing out as a restaurateur.

Combs, who operated a local Dominos franchise for 22 years, knew he wanted to eventually open his own establishment and he knew he wanted to open it in Moses Lake.

Combs didn't spend years of planning for nothing. He wants Ralphie's to become synonymous with good burgers in town.

All of Ralphie's burgers are 1/2-pound patties and all under $10, said Combs. The exception is their Burger Platter, a two-pound masterpiece meant for sharing.

Combs said the restaurant's mushroom burger and teriyaki burger are quickly becoming clear favorites. Both sandwiches come with all the standard toppings and are accompanied by French fries, curly fries, seasoned fries or sweet potato fries.

Ralphie's also offers a twist on the traditional children's menu found at other establishments.

"I hated going to restaurants and not being able to order smaller portions because I wasn't a kid," said Combs.

His frustration eventually led to Ralphie's "young and young at heart" menu. Customers who don't want the larger portions of the restaurant's main menu can order from the kid's menu without any grief, he said.

Combs explained that as an experienced restaurant patron himself, he knows how not to treat customers.

"A lot of restaurants here lack personal service," he said. "They have good customer service but not personal service."

The difference? According to Combs, it's the way you talk to people.

"Franchises treat you like another number... here's your food, goodbye," said Combs.

At Ralphie's, he makes sure guests are treated practically like family. Combs said he trained his servers specifically to start conversations with their diners that go beyond typical waiter-customer exchanges.

And creating that perfect family atmosphere for patrons won't be too hard for Comb's team since his staff includes his three children as well as his nephew.

Although the restaurant has only been open for a little over a week, Combs said he is already thinking of ways to expand the establishment.

"Our main goal right now is to start serving breakfast," Combs said. The restaurant's morning menu should be launched within the next six months.

Inspired by eating challenges made popular on channels like The Food Network, Combs said he will also be unveiling Ralphie's very own burger contest sometime in the next two weeks.

Customers daring enough to take on the challenge will have to consume the Burger Platter's two-pound burger, a 20-oz milkshake and a plate of fries within 30 minutes. Those who succeed get their meal paid for as well as a Ralphie's T-shirt, he said.

Combs also said he hopes to have a second Ralphie's location open for business in about five years.

In the meantime, Combs said Moses Lake residents can count on Ralphie's to provide good food at an affordable price, and like their sign advertises, "lotsa' fun!"

Ralphie's is located at 323 S. Pioneer Way and open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until midnight Friday and Saturday.

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