Local businessman Awad opens fifth business, Treno Ristorante

Kaylee Peterson

Mike Awad has been an influential presence in Kent since he opened the Main Street Continental Grill in 2007.

Following the success of Awad’s first restaurant in Kent, Ron Burbick — a leader and investor in the growth of Downtown Kent — approached Awad to open a new business venture, Laziza. Laziza, which sits on the corner of South Depeyster Street and Erie Street, opened in January of 2012. Since then, he has been involved with Twin Lakes Country Club, Rise and Shine Cafe, Franklin Hotel Bar, La Sish and his latest venture: Treno Ristorante.

Treno — an Italian restaurant located in the historic depot, the previous home of the Pufferbelly LTD Restaraunt — is set to open in late July. Awad said the opportunity to open a restaurant in the historic building is exciting.

“I’ve always loved that building and it was a no brainer for me,” Awad said, “That building needed a lot of work, a lot of TLC. But we’ve brought it back to it’s original, so it’s gonna be something really nice.”

The renovations to the building re-incorporated the original features of the historic depot into the new space to give it an authentic feel, Awad said. The walls were stripped down to the exposed brick, and several of the original wooden doors were used throughout the restaurant.  

The menu is set to be a variety of northern Italian staples: pasta, lasagna, veal, chicken, canolis and more. Awad said the menu won’t be huge, but it will be fresh. All of the food for Treno will be sourced locally, from weekend special vegetables and fruits coming from the Haymakers Farmer’s Market on Saturdays to meats from Blue Ribbon and other local vendors.

“The menu will probably change four times a year with your seasons,” Awad said. “We’re making everything from scratch. We don’t wanna be something like an Olive Garden … you’re gonna know it’s the real deal.”

This is Awad’s fifth business venture in the Kent area, and he credits a lot of his success to his love of the town.

“The people in this town rally around you so much,” Awad said. “They’re very loyal, they’re committed and, you know, they want the little guy to succeed. That’s very important.”

Other business owners in Kent had great things to say about Awad and the impact he’s had in Downtown Kent.

T.J. Ingersoll, owner of Fresco, said Awad was helpful in the beginning of opening their business.

“He was one of the first guys that came down to welcome us, and he’s always been a good guy to me,” Ingersoll said.

In an email, Mike Beder, owner of Tree City Coffee and co-owner of Franklin Hotel Bar, said Awad is one of the most generous and hardworking people he knows.

“He truly cares about his customers having the best experience possible, and his reputation in the community,” Beder said. “He’s a big asset to have in Kent and a huge catalyst to it’s success.”

Tom Simpson, owner of the Kent Stage, said Awad is a successful businessman.

“He does a great job running restaurants,” Simpson said. “He’s a smart guy.”

Awad says the town of Kent is different from his experience in Washington, there’s a community here between the business owners.

“I can go to any of these places around me and ask them for something and vise versa … we all work together,” Awad said. “People are genuine here, they’re real.”

As far as what’s next, Awad says he’s not done yet.

“There’s a couple things coming up in the works,” he said.

Kaylee Peterson is the downtown reporter. Contact her at [email protected].