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Business Spotlight: Salty's

What’s it take to become a successful restaurateur? A keen business sense, a passion for providing next-level service, and food certainly help, but if you ask Gerry Kingen—it might just be genetic.

Gerry Kingen was born into a restaurant family and started out washing pots when he was just three years old. Unbeknownst to him, that was the start of a nearly life-long journey in the bar and restaurant industry, culminating in owning and operating one of the top 100 privately owned restaurants in the U.S. since 1983—Salty’s.

The name Salty’s graces three waterfront locations in Seattle, Washington; Redondo Beach in Des Moines, Washington; and the original location in Portland, Oregon. Focusing on steak and seafood with a flair for local food customs, Gerry and his wife Kathy believe in providing service that gives customers what they want before they know they want it.

“We want our restaurants to be an oasis for people to get away from their everyday lives,” says Kathy. “The kind of service that brings a smile to peoples’ faces.”

 

Salty's restaurant

The Kingens’ have a history of working with Alaska USA and Jeff Gregg, the Vice President of Business and Commercial Lending for the credit union.

“We had worked with Alaska USA on securing refinancing for our Salty’s Seattle property to conduct some much-needed renovations,” explains Gerry. “Our Alki Beach location is over 125 years old, and we had to get underneath the building to rebuild it, working at night while we stayed open during the day. Quite a feat as you can imagine, and Alaska USA helped us do it at a lower interest rate than we previously had.”

Like many restaurants, Salty’s was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic when they were forced to temporarily shutter their business.

“Another thing Jeff helped us with was to secure Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds during the COVID-19 shutdown,” says Gerry. “We had started with our application at another institution—were first in line as a matter of fact— and basically got the runaround. They didn’t know how to navigate the program. As the deadline was closing in, we called Jeff. With less than 48 hours until the deadline to apply for PPP funds, he came through big for us.”

Salty’s restaurants have been voted #1 brunch place by MSN, and are regularly patronized by members of congress, professional athletes, and once by the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe and his wife.

The Kingen family isn’t stopping there either. Gerry and Kathy’s daughter, Kate, is currently quarterbacking the construction of Salty’s at the SEA in the SeaTac airport—the highest grossing airport restaurant in the nation!

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