As an avid athlete and marathon runner, Keri Collins found herself with an unexpected amount of free time when she broke her foot. After driving past the "for sale" sign on the recently vacated space in Liberty Lake that housed Barlows restaurant before it moved, Collins decided to fill the building with the business she'd long been pondering.
"I had all this free time, so I thought I would do something challenging," she says.
Collins and her husband, who together own Premier Manufacturing in Liberty Lake, opened CorkHouse and gave the space a new, but still homey, feel.
"When you walk in, it's like a house," says Collins. "You feel comfy and cozy."
The stone fireplace, warmly lit chandeliers and dark wood tables and bar match the gourmet comfort food on the menu. Collins brought on executive chef Brian Hutchins, who previously cooked at several Spokane restaurants, including Luna, Mizuna, Latah Bistro and Clover. Over six weeks, Hutchins tested and wrote the recipes for the brunch, lunch and dinner menus.
Classic comfort foods feature a fine dining twist, like the enchiladas ($15) with pulled chicken, quinoa, summer squash, spinach and roasted poblano cream. The mac and cheese ($18) comes as a colorful, rich-tasting mixture of grilled chicken, applewood bacon, jalapeños, sharp cheddar and cotija, topped with a satisfying crunch and a cherry tomato. A page-long wine list offers abundant choices from champagne to white blends to cabernet, and there are plenty of signature cocktails and martinis to choose from.
On Saturdays and Sundays starting at 9 am, the brunch menu presents items such as a veggie hash ($12), eggs Benedict ($13), triple-decker BLT ($13) and even a few desserts, including a chai-and-honey brûlée ($6).
CorkHouse also has a drive-thru coffee window — something not usually seen at a restaurant — that opens before the dining room at 6 am Mon-Fri and at 7 am Sat-Sun, with Thomas Hammer Coffee and pastries from Sweetwater Bakery. ♦
CorkHouse • 1400 N. Meadowwood Ln., Liberty Lake • Open Mon-Thu, 11 am-9 pm; Fri, 11 am-close; Sat, 9 am-close; Sun, 9 am-3 pm • corkhouse.net • 922-4210