Cheney Free Press -

Top of the Line combines seafood with good old hamburgers


Kelsey LaVelle

Portrait rendition originally of a photograph showing Lonnie Germain on fishing boat on Washington coastline.

The salmon colored walls and outdated booths of the former café at 24 West First St. were minor challenges for the building's new owners.

Though the integrity remains for the most part unchanged, LaShay Germain and her husband Lonnie have taken on the heavy task of rejuvenating the former diner into a standout burger and seafood restaurant.

"We wanted to start small," Germain said of her first venture into a sit down eatery. However she is not unfamiliar with the business of burgers.

The Germain's owned and operated a drive-thru burger stand in Chattaroy for about a year before deciding to move their business to a larger venue.

Germain remembers frequent customers at their drive thru who were very disappointed that the business would be moving a significant distance away.

The Elk-Chattaroy area did not have the volume for growth that the Germain's are looking for.

Working in the close quarters of the drive thru gave Germain and her husband the opportunity to get a "good system" in place that they plan to bring to "Top of the Line."

Lonnie will handle the kitchen end of the operation. Germain will be in the front with customers, where after working as a server for "forever" she is extremely comfortable.

"I have enough experience, I'm not worried," she said

Germain is excited and optimistic about the balancing act of managing the restaurant while contributing to the overall customer experience as a server.

She admits gaining recommendations for success from restaurant television shows like "Restaurant Impossible."

It's not a business model for her but gives an idea of the components necessary for their business to be a true competitor with Cheney restaurants that have long standing reputations with locals.

"Our food alone will set us apart," said Germain about local competitors.

Recently, LaShay and Lonnie were greeted by smashed out windows in both their cars when a long day of renovating and inclement weather prompted them to walk home the night before.

"It was just kids," Germain said, who is not at all discouraged by the little bump of bad luck.

Their decision that the old café would be a great spot for their location was reiterated when a group of cars pulled in looking for a meal.

Germain is looking forward to Top of the Line to become a part of the community.

Their menu already touts the EWU spirit with the 'Unbeatable Eagle" burger and "Eagle-claw" fries.

"I think it's important to give back to the community," Germain said. "We even have a pit cooker we might try to have running during parades."

Their soft opening started Wednesday to work out any kinks they may have, but Germain's to-do list is still long.

She plans on getting a lighted sign, liquor license for beer and wine. High on the list is to eliminate the last of the salmon paint, which unfortunately is the entire exterior of their building,but they will need Mother Nature's cooperation to complete.

"We have a ton of potential," Lashay said, and she is ready to showcase their product.

Kelsey Lavelle can be reached at


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