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Originally published August 19, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 19, 2007 at 2:03 AM

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And a landmark lives on

The Pla Mor Tavern has survived the ups and downs of the economy, the political incorrectness of its "Bunny" sign and the death of its owner...

Special to the Seattle Times

Pla Mor Tavern

Address 21607 S.E. 272nd St., Maple Valley

Phone 425-432-6858

Hours 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday

Prices Lunch and dinner prices range from $2.50 to $10.

The Pla Mor Tavern has survived the ups and downs of the economy, the political incorrectness of its "Bunny" sign and the death of its owner, Fred DePasquale, to become a landmark in Maple Valley.

DePasquale, who owned and ran the popular tavern for 40 years, died last October of pancreatic cancer.

His sons — Fred Jr. and Pierre DePasquale — took over the tavern after their father died.

"My dad had a great sense of humor," said Fred DePasquale Jr., who goes by the nickname "Rile." "He often said [that] if you only had a good time once, it was worth it to keep [the bar] going."

The Pla Mor was a huge part of the brothers' lives. They remember going there with family on Sundays, learning to drive in the gravel parking lot and playing darts and pool there as teenagers.

Fred DePasquale bought the Pla Mor for $24,000 in 1966 and sold two kinds of beer and wine, mostly to blue-collar workers, such as coal miners from Black Diamond, loggers and construction workers.

Now it's home to prime-rib night, featuring a prime-rib dinner with salad and potato for $10. It's the most popular item on the menu, with the meal selling out before 6:30 p.m. most Mondays.

Inside are three tanks of piranhas, the first of which arrived in 1978. Near the door is a tank with two 18-pound specimens who seem more sleepy than ferocious.

Two red-bellied piranhas in another tank have visible sharp teeth and are fond of prime-rib scraps.

Part of the Pla Mor is built on a state right of way, and for years, the DePasquale brothers had heard that the city was going to tear down the landmark for road improvements. For now, at least, that's not the case.

"We investigated the state DOT's plan for road improvements and found that there are no plans to widen the road here," Rile DePasquale said.

Dixie Gunter, Pla Mor's manager for the past eight years, told the brothers he hoped they would keep the place open as long as possible and asked them to "take care of his employees and the regulars he's come to care about over the years."

Once the DePasquale brothers, who have other full-time jobs, took over the tavern, they took the Playboy Bunny symbol out of the window.

They are considering other improvements, such as painting the Pla Mor sign and remodeling the bathrooms.

"Dad left us a great business," Rile DePasquale said. "There's no loans on it, no liens and no debts. It's a solid business that practically runs itself. And it's a landmark, so I can always tell people where to go by telling them to 'turn left at the piranha bar.' "

DeAnn Rossetti is a Maple Valley freelance writer: archer34@aol.com.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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