Volunteer stint with 'Restaurant: Impossible' holds link to the past for Port Angeles interior designer; TV episode airs Wednesday
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Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
The restaurant on Chimacum Road in Port Hadlock.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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“Restaurant: Impossible,” featuring Zoog's Caveman Cookin' in Port Hadlock, will air on the Food Network, channel 53, at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Zoog's, at 141 Chimacum Road, is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The bar stays open until 11 p.m. weeknights and to about 2 a.m. on weekends.
PORT HADLOCK — When interior designer Trisa Katsikapes of Port Angeles interrupted her work week to volunteer for the “Restaurant: Impossible” television crew, she wasn't yet aware of a particularly meaningful connection waiting in the experience.

In mid-November, she found out that Zoog's Caveman Cookin', the eatery on Chimacum Road in rural Jefferson County, was to host the Food Network show — a favorite of hers.

The TV crew needed free help from locals. Immediately Katsikapes, who was born in Port Townsend, signed up to volunteer, jumped in the car, drove to Zoog's and found herself in the midst of, well, insanity.

“Restaurant: Impossible,” with its construction, design and menu-makeover crew led by celebrity chef Robert Irvine, sweeps into a struggling eatery.

Then, over the course of two days and a $10,000 budget, the teams repaint, refloor, rewire and revamp it all.

The episode chronicling the transformation of Zoog's Caveman Cookin' airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Katsikapes loved every minute of her two shifts: 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. the first day, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the second.

She did find a moment to call her mother, Nancy Hefely.

A Port Hadlock resident, Hefely was vacationing in Arizona when her cellphone rang.

“You won't believe this,” Katsikapes began. Out tumbled the tale: I'm volunteering with “Restaurant: Impossible,” which is out here at Zoog's. I got to meet chef Robert Irvine and work with these marvelous people who travel all over the country redesigning and remodeling restaurants in two days and —

Hefely had news for her.

“Trisa. That's the Hadlock House,” the restaurant her father built some 50 years ago.

Yes, Zoog's, by another name, was once the Katsikapes' family business when Trisa was very young.

Trisa's late father, Demetrius Katsikapes — known back then as Jim Cotton, since his Greek family name had been changed by the Ellis Island immigration authorities — was the one who constructed the restaurant, hand-picking the fireplace stones from a local quarry.

The Hadlock House opened circa 1965; the family ran it for a few years, then moved on. Cotton became a developer, building homes all over the North Olympic Peninsula.

His daughter Trisa grew up loving the ins and outs of home decor and design.

And her downtown Port Angeles business, Trisa & Co., is thriving these days, as she runs from remodel to remodel, dreaming up face lifts for local restaurants, homes and public spaces. Recent jobs include the William Shore Memorial Pool house and the Forks Library.

It was just lucky, Katsikapes said, that she could clear her calendar Nov. 17 and 18 to volunteer at Zoog's.

Renovating the place inside two days was nuts, she said.

But Katsikapes reveled in it, painting while the flooring was going down and the electrical wiring was going up.

As for Zoog himself — real name Bret Forsberg — the “Restaurant: Impossible” makeover has already proved a boon.

Business has risen about 20 percent since the show's crew came and went, Forsberg said.

Beyond that, he's forbidden to utter a word about the “Impossible” experience until after the Zoog's Caveman Cookin' episode airs.

He is free, though, to answer one question about the nickname.

The story goes that about 25 years ago, a friend told him he had too much of the Neanderthal man in him.

“You should be living in a cave, and you should be called Zoog,” the friend said.

As for Katsikapes, she thought her Zoog's interlude would teach her “all this design stuff,” what with the high-powered people from the show.

Instead, she learned about serendipity and giving.

Volunteering her time and skill gave Katsikapes joy, pure and simple.

“You're giving all your time,” she said, “to help these people make their restaurant succeed.”

And the fact that her hands worked on the same space where her father's had a half-century ago made it all the more rewarding.

When after two long days of toil and filming, the new Zoog's reopened for dinner the evening of Nov. 18, Hefely flew up from Arizona to dine with her daughter.

“We ordered as much as we could and ate as much as we could,” said Katsikapes.

Everything, she added, was delicious.

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 02. 2015 7:08PM
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