Binita Shrestha, new co-owner of Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, sits in her restaurant on Monday, March 18, 2024, in Smokey Point, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Binita Shrestha, new co-owner of Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, sits in her restaurant on Monday, March 18, 2024, in Smokey Point, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

New pizzeria owner took the scenic route from Nepal to Marysville

Binita Shrestha “wanted to be everything.” At 50, she can check off Korean beauty pageant contestant and restaurant franchisee.

MARYSVILLE — For Binita Shrestha, it has been a long road from the Himalayas to the Cascades.

“I wanted to be everything,” Shrestha said.

Looking at her resume, she’s well on her way to her goal.

In 1993, she represented her home country of Nepal at the World Miss University pageant in Seoul, South Korea. She was at the same time a part-time news presenter and occasional model. She later worked as a secretary for the Japanese Embassy, World Bank and European Commission.

“I’ve lived 100 years already,” said Shrestha, 50. “I just feel that way.”

Six months ago, on top of her desk job at the Everett Police Department, she became a franchisee for Boston’s Pizza at Lakewood Crossing.

How did she get here?

Binita Shrestha in 1997 at Shyangboche village. The mountain behind her is Ama Dablam. (Provided by Binita Shrestha)

Binita Shrestha in 1997 at Shyangboche village. The mountain behind her is Ama Dablam. (Provided by Binita Shrestha)

As a 16-year-old student at the Padma Kanya Multiple Campus women’s university in Kathmandu, Shrestha received a notice about the World Miss University beauty pageant in 1991.

Five years earlier, the United Nations had passed a resolution celebrating the International Year of Peace. According to the pageant’s website, the competition was established to promote world peace and goals like “the Peace Movement for the World’s Unification,” “One World, Humanity as Brothers and Sisters,” “Environment Movement of Humanity to survive on Earth.”

Winners would go on to promote U.N.-affiliated events and volunteer for peace services.

But Shrestha had to be 18 to participate. In the meantime, she practiced answering questions with her father or the mirror. In 1993, she was finally able to compete in the university’s selection process. Shrestha believes she was selected because of her confidence. She was able to answer any question, no matter what she thought of it.

Binita Shrestha at the 1993 World Miss University pageant in traditional Tamang clothing. Tamang is one of 125 ethnic groups in Nepal. (Provided by Binita Shrestha)

Binita Shrestha at the 1993 World Miss University pageant in traditional Tamang clothing. Tamang is one of 125 ethnic groups in Nepal. (Provided by Binita Shrestha)

“Somebody asked me, ‘What do you have to say about table manners?’ I thought that was a ridiculous question,” she said. “But, sadly, lots of people don’t know how to answer that question.”

She remembers laughing at the question.

At World Miss University, she was the shortest contestant. To this day, she has kept a photo of her – 5-foot-6 with the help of 4-inch heels – next to the towering representative from Switzerland.

Shrestha didn’t win, but back home she found many opportunities.

“(Nepal) is very closely knitted. Everybody knows everybody,” she said.

Binita Shrestha standing next to Switzerland’s representative at the World Miss University pageant in 1993. (Provided by Binita Shrestha).

Binita Shrestha standing next to Switzerland’s representative at the World Miss University pageant in 1993. (Provided by Binita Shrestha).

In 2004, she immigrated to Texas, where she lived for 18 years working for Chase, Texas Health Resources and Houston Methodist Hospital. But on a 2019 visit to Washington, the mountains made her feel at home. Three years later, she found a job in the state.

She first worked in King County, where she was surprised by how much she enjoyed public transportation. In October, Shrestha bought the Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar at 16918 Twin Lakes Ave. Since then, she has focused on simplifying logistics, adding a dartboard and Buckhunter arcade games, and being present for most of the restaurant’s open hours.

Six months into her ownership, she enjoys meeting people but wants more customers.

“What’s the most expensive thing in a restaurant?” she asked. “The empty chairs.”

A Margherita pizza at Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar on Monday, March 18, 2024, in Smokey Point, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A Margherita pizza at Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar on Monday, March 18, 2024, in Smokey Point, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Shrestha would like it to become a place for fundraisers and community events. She is thinking of organizing an international day when everyone brings the traditional costume of their country or heritage.

Initially, some reviews startled her. Her Boston’s has a 3.8 out of 5 rating on Google.

There are reviews where the reviewer writes things that have never come to my attention,” she said.

But eventually she learned criticism is part of owning a restaurant.

“Now I just say sorry to everybody, please give us another chance,” she said. “Most of our guests, who leave happy, they don’t write anything about it.”

Her next dream: Writing her autobiography and getting Oprah to talk about it. She already has a title: “From Everest to Everett.”

“Life is an open book. You never know,” she said. “You will be writing new stories every day. Just don’t close the book.”

Aina de Lapparent Alvarez: 425-339-3449; aina.alvarez@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @Ainadla.

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