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There will be one less restaurant in Ferndale next week

Ferndale Denny's Restaurant (July 12, 2017). Photo: Discover Ferndale

It was a tough thing to do, telling employees, some who had worked there for over 5 years, that come Monday, July 17th at 3pm, the doors to the Ferndale Denny’s Restaurant at 5720 Barrett Road will be closed for good.

The Ferndale location is not a corporate store, instead it is operated by a franchisee partnership that includes Milton Barnes of Bellingham. While Barnes told of the difficult decision to close the restaurant, his children were running around the empty expansion seating area. “It’s always been a family run restaurant. We go to each others’ weddings, celebrate birthdays and graduations of not only the employees but their family members too,” Barnes said.

But those close ties were not enough to overcome financial challenges that have been accumulating recently. The Denny’s corporate requires regular building upgrades and one was coming due at the Ferndale location. Barnes said he and his partner attempted to negotiate sharing the costs with the building owner but were unsuccessful.

Building costs combined with the recently increased minimum wage and customers finding it difficult to get to the restaurant due to semi trucks frequently blocking the entrance to their parking lot have brought them to making this decision Barnes said.

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Barnes said he and his partner took over the Ferndale location in June of 2009. “We’ve really enjoyed being part of the community,” Barnes said. “We have supported local organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Ferndale High School and the local Lions Club meets here.”

Barnes and his partner run other Denny’s locations in other cities. “But this one was our first. That makes closing it so much more difficult. It’s our first, like our ‘baby.'”



  1. Larrian Eagan July 12, 2017

    Sorry to learn Denny’s will close. Another choice of family dining will bite the dust.

    Not surprised because I have seen the need for a “refreshener” for quite some time. It’s looking tired ?

    I also understand the problem with the truck stop . Again, the infrastructure at these on/off ramps has not supported the volume of traffic let alone semi’s.

  2. Amy Millman July 12, 2017

    Its really sad that the city thinks nothing of sticking a truck stop with 100’s of semi’s a day coming and going on the MAIN exit to Ferndale. I watch the truck drivers go to Mcdonalds and other places and let the line up sit and wait for them to come back and this is AFTER they are fueled. I’ve complained to Pilot but they don’t have the man power to have a guy moniter out there and the corporate offices don’t care. This is a poor location for a truck stop..its small, to busy and now we’re losing a business that might have been able to keep going if they didn’t have their parking lot blocked all the time. Good going Ferndale.

  3. Pam July 12, 2017

    I understand the Truck stop issue having towait 10 minutes to exit a parking lot on more than one occasion is ridiculous and I am sure it hurt their business. Never understood the placement of that truck stop there.
    Ferndale has one choice for a family restaurant now!! Town this size should have more options. Other than Haggens area of retail. Downtown Ferndale is looking more like a ghost town.

  4. Karina July 13, 2017

    I worked at this Dennys about 6 years back. I loved the previous owners. They took care of their employees and their customers. I was there when they transitioned the ownership to Barnes and things quickly went south. The man was incompetent, neglegent, cheap, and a complete A-hole. He always cut costs wherever he could even when it meant chasing out his employees. It doesn’t surprise me that he failed. I wouldn’t say that business was always booming while I was there, but it was more than enough to keep the place running. Barnes should reconsider his profession to something that’s less people oriented. He doesn’t care about people, just the money. He should focus on something that doesn’t depend on pleasing the public, as he is not a people pleaser to begin with. Good job on making it a ghost town milton, never doubted you could do it. 😉

  5. Macdonald Tyler July 14, 2017

    Imagine closing a business just because you don’t want to pay the minimum wage, and putting the whole staff out of work to save a few bucks. Milton and his partner are slime.

  6. Lynne Karlsen July 18, 2017

    When did they tell their employees & will they transfer them to other DENNY’S? That’s gotta hurt when you have bills to pay, including rent, food, etc.

  7. Jp October 1, 2017

    I’m Canadian and always stopped at the Ferndale location after crossing the border into the USA. The staff were so friendly and service was always quick. We tried Bellingham but it was a 35 min wait with no room to wait inside so we’ll try Mt Vernon on the way to Seattle. Love that you can build your own slam at Denny’s as there are few places I can order on the ketogenic diet. A real Shane this location had to close and the demand is clearly spilling over to neighbouring locations.

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