Hot diggity dog! Plumber opens Greenbank eatery

The handshake is the first indication that this is no ordinary hot dog vendor.

Dean Parmenter

The handshake is the first indication that this is no ordinary hot dog vendor.

Dean Parmenter’s hands have a rough feel, the byproduct of 37 years as a plumber.

But the physical demands of plumbing caused Parmenter to rethink his future and reinvent himself.

In October, he opened Deano’s Diner in Greenbank, hoping that one day he will able to put his plumber’s wrench away for good.

“I used to work like a dog,” Parmenter, 54, said. “Now, I’m paying for it. A friend of mine told me that I’d always be doing plumbing. I said, ‘Don’t tell me that.’ ”

Parmenter is aware that he’s only taken baby steps toward his goal of becoming a full-time restaurateur.

His eatery, located next to the Greenbank Store & Grille on State Highway 525, is very much still a glorified hot dog stand at this point, with a menu that consists of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and soda.

However, Deano’s Diner is an indoor venue with a cozy feel, limited seating and potential only as large as the owner’s imagination.

French fries are the next item in his sights.

“I got a deep fryer yesterday,” Parmenter said last week. “I just need to figure out how to cook them. I can always figure things out.”

It’s clear by spending only a short time with Parmenter that he’s having fun and enjoys interacting with customers.

He still works as a plumber on Monday and Tuesday and opens the diner only from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Grilling hot dogs is nothing new to Parmenter, who’s operated a cart at various sites the past two years on and off Whidbey Island, including events in Chehalis and Leavenworth.

He takes care to steam the wieners rather than boil, then places them on a grill before serving.

Parmenter’s selection consists of a gourmet German sausage, Louisiana spicy smoked hot dog, a quarter-pounder-plus frank and a veggie dog, with prices ranging from $4 to $6.

Do-it-yourself condiments include sauerkraut, onions, cream cheese and a variety of sauces.

“I’ve been searching for one of these things,” said Rocci Gianni of Langley. “Whenever I come through here, I hit it.

“Deano’s a nice guy. I want to see him succeed.”

Gianni spoke between bites of a spicy selection. He was munching on a German sausage with sauerkraut, onions and jalapeños and lathered in jalapeño mustard sauce.

“I keep coming back for it,” Gianni said.

Parmenter said he’s been eyeing the location since it was vacated by its last tenant, Whidbey Rice, which closed after four years.

He spent time at the site in late September, counting the number of cars to gauge traffic at a slow time of year on the island. He counted about 100 cars per hour.

“It’s all about numbers with me,” Parmenter said.

During an afternoon rush, Parmenter had eight customers in his diner at one time last week, each interested in a hot dog.

His burgers are made from unfrozen ground beef. In the future, he’s looking to add tacos and soft-served ice cream.

He said it’s scary to try a venture like this, but exciting all the same.

“I kind of want to be done with plumbing,” Parmenter said. “It just doesn’t interest me like it used to.”

 

More in Business

Whidbey Coffee gets new facility, wholesale manager

One of Whidbey Island’s homegrown businesses is getting a double shot of… Continue reading

Record file — Freeland entrepreneurs Jill and Steve Rosen recently purchased Whidbey Island Ice Cream. The Rosens also own Freeland eateries Rocket Taco and Freeland Freeze.
Freeland business owners scoop up Whidbey Island Ice Cream Co.

Whidbey Island Ice Cream Co. has new owners. Steve and Jill Rosen,… Continue reading

Rosalie Gale photo
                                Foamy Wader owner Alexa Allamano works on one of her nautical-themes pieces of jewelry in her Langley storefront.
Langley jewelry store takes inspiration from the sea

Lifelong Pacific Northwest resident Alexa Allamano has always been fascinated by the… Continue reading

Organic Farm School excels in new digs

The Organic Farm School survived its first year at its new Maxwelton… Continue reading

Fight off that turkey coma with variety of weekend activities

There are several events happening this weekend, sure to revive even the… Continue reading

Whidbey Seatac Shuttle, Christian’s Towing voted Best of Whidbey

Due to production errors, categories under “Services” were inadvertently omitted from the… Continue reading

Annual awards banquet draws crowd of the ‘Best’

Annual awards banquet draws crowd of the ‘Best’ Business and community leaders… Continue reading

Best of Whidbey: A career shaped by simple childhood desire

Those that want dog-training lessons and private canine tips need look no… Continue reading

Best of Whidbey: Aesthetician in business of making clients ‘feel good’

For aesthetician Melissa York, community and relationships are a big part of… Continue reading

Online rental sites reshaping Whidbey’s lodging industry

Every September, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts officials are faced with… Continue reading

Whidbey Coffee releases bottled cold brew

Whidbey Coffee unveiled its newest enterprise this week, Beachbomber Cold Brew. “It… Continue reading

Nichols launches National Geographic Quest cruise boat

Holmes Harbor accepted Nichols Brothers Boat Builders latest contribution to the maritime… Continue reading