After owning and operating Munchy’z for 11 years, Reshad Kazimee sold the popular College Hill hangout to new owners this last spring.
The new owners of the restaurant, Steven Walk and Stacey Fertakis-Walk, took over in May, said Munchy’z employee Jessica Chester. They could not be reached for an interview.
In addition to the change in ownership, Munchy’z stopped allowing customers to smoke hookah at the end of July and will focus instead on selling food and beverages, including coffee to bottled beer.
Kazimee said he decided to sell Munchy’z for a number of reasons, some of which include the gradual loss of his management team and his struggle to dedicate time to the place while beginning the launch of a new business venture.
"I had been living outside of Pullman for a few years and it was just getting difficult to be so far away from the business," Kazimee said. "My management team was moving on, some graduating and others moving on to other things."
When finally down to the last member of his management staff, Kazimee said he did not want to pursue finding replacements for the people who had worked for him for during the past 10 years. Instead, he sold the business.
Kazimee said he is aware of the changes the new ownership has made.
"A lot of people think we were a hookah bar, but that was a small percentage of the business being sold," said Kazimee. "It is exciting to see the owners expand on the food menu, and I think that the selling of alcohol will be a good complimentary element to the food."
Returning employee Saffire Clemenhagen said she is excited about the changes at Munchy’z.
"Adding coffee and breakfast options to the menu will be good for morning business," Clemenhagen said.
Regarding Munchy’z change to no longer offer a smoking hangout, Clemenhagen said, "I think it is really great that we are now open to everybody at night, rather than only to members and those who are over 18-years-old."
Despite the differences at Munchy’z, the hookah scene in Pullman still exists. Nomads Hookah Lounge on Main Street opened in early March.
The discontinuation of smoking hookah at Munchy’z could drive more foot traffic into Nomads, said Hassan Hassan, the co-owner of Nomads.
"Munchy’z was never a traditional hookah lounge," Hassan said. "We opened Nomads because there was a demand for a true hookah experience in Pullman."