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Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sherry Grindeland / Times staff columnist

It's last call for Hobo Eggs; Kirkland eatery Hector's closing

It's almost time for last call at Hector's, a popular restaurant and watering hole in downtown Kirkland.

Hector's will close next Tuesday.

Owner Dan Corthell, who opened the restaurant in 1975, recently sold the business to Stuart McLeod.

"It was a hard decision, but it was time," Corthell said. "I'm 72, and it was time to retire. Twenty-eight years is a long haul."

He added that the new owner will remodel the building on Lake Washington Boulevard and expects to reopen the restaurant around July 1. No word yet if the name will remain, but the name itself has history.

"It was named after my former partner's daughter's ex-husband," Corthell said. "Hector was his nickname."

Then there's the restaurant's reputation.

Regular customers have loved Hector's signature dishes such as Hobo Eggs, clam chowder and yummy hamburgers. Hector's is the kind of place that still makes its own salad dressings and hand chops the salad vegetables.

With big sliding windows by the sidewalk, Hector's was a perfect summer hangout. During football season, Hector's was one of the best places to rub shoulders with Seahawk players.

It is even sadder for the nearly 40 employees who call Hector's home.

Carol Dickinson of Kirkland has been a server and dining-room manager there for six years.

"I've been a server at many places, and this has been my favorite place to work," she said. "Dan is the nicest guy in the world, and I'm going to miss him."

"I've been here 14 years and many employees have been here much longer," said Janie Fields, the bartender. "We're all sad about the closing."

Local note: Masons at the Ashler Lodge in Bothell feel connected to the SS Virginia V, the restored steamship that used to be part of the Pacific Northwest's mosquito fleet. Some lodge members have volunteered with the Virginia V Foundation; some of their family members have crewed on the ship.

Thursday, the Lodge will hold a special program about the ship. Unlike most Masonic meetings, this program is open to the public and is free.

Speaker will be Virginia V Captain Dale Pederson. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. The Lodge is at Main Street and 101st Avenue Northeast in Bothell.

Chalk marks: A friend shopping at Bellevue Square was mystified.

Why, she asked, if parking is free at the shopping center, would someone be marking her car tires with chalk?

It was no kid at play.

Traffic-security folks now track vehicles that park in the Square's more than 6,000 available spots.

The practice started when nearby office buildings began charging for parking, according to Anne Marie Peacock, a spokeswoman for Bellevue Square. A vigilant management, wanting to keep those parking places for shoppers started tracking cars — hence the chalked tires.

Cars that show up every day are noted and given a written reminder that parking is for Square customers.

Diehard shoppers need not worry.

"People are welcome to park here and shop all day if they like," Peacock said.

Doggie tails: Remember Gus, the Basset hound adopted by the staff at Willows Lodge in Woodinville?

On Valentine's Day, the Lodge ran a contest, looking for a sweetheart for Gus.

He and Raechel, owned by Mick and Gloria Holgren of Bothell, finally met at the recent Woodinville Basset Bash. Raechel and her owners spent the night at the lodge.

The experience — which was strictly for companionship since Gus has been neutered — tuckered out the hound.

"By the time Gus went through the parade and met all the females in it, he was tuckered out and slept for the next two days," said Rhanda Rosselot, spokeswoman for the Willows Lodge.

He should be recovered by Memorial Day.

That's when Willows Lodge, The Herbfarm and Gus host Taste Woodinville.

The noon-4 p.m. celebration on May 26 will include food, wine and beer samples.

One last grin: A friend who spends more time online than I do shared this advertisement from a podiatrist.

It read: "Time wounds all heels."

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or sgrindeland@seattletimes.com

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