Spokane's South Hill has a hip, new central meeting place now that Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters' latest location is complete at 29th and Grand's commercial pocket.
Called Thomas Hammer Ltd. Reserve, the spot also turns the dial up all the way on the local roaster's food and beverage offerings — there's a full food and drink menu, plus beer and wine — and atmosphere. The vibe gives another very large, regionally based coffee chain with a store up the street a run for its money.
"This has been a dream of Tom's since he started opening stores," says Kelcey Boyce, an account executive for the downtown-based coffee roaster that launched in 1993 when the Inland Northwest's coffee culture was completely nascent.
"In fact, originally when the Starbucks location went in on 37th, Tom had tried to purchase that location and was basically outbid by Starbucks. So he has been trying to open a South Hill location for a long time," she continues.
The new Ltd. Reserve cafe shares a lot with a new branch of Washington Trust Bank fronting Grand Boulevard. There's a drive-thru window in the back, plus plenty of outdoor patio seating and an impressive number of bike racks. Inside, the cafe is warm and modern, with a long counter for ordering framed from behind by a huge menu on the wall. Seating is ample and varied, from solo or two-person tables to more casual lounge-style seating and the "Tree Bar," named for the leafy potted tree in its center. A glass-walled community room offers a large table for meetings and events, and eventually will be available for reservations, Boyce says.
Food options served all day at the cafe for dine-in or to-go were created through a collaboration with Merrilee Lindaman, former owner and operator of the now-shuttered Lindaman's Bistro. The Ltd. Reserve has a full kitchen on site, and rotating food options are displayed in a cold case at the counter. The food is affordable, filling and tasty. Try the handheld empanadas ($5.50 each) which offer creative fillings like cheeseburger or vegan curry chickpea. While much of the menu is constantly rotating, Boyce says those empanadas are a mainstay, as are a few fresh salads like Caesar, Asian chicken, roasted veggie and fruit.
"Tom consulted with Merrilee on the recipes, and she was so excited that the South Hill community would have someplace to go and it would be in a similar capacity to what she had left behind," Boyce says.
Meal-size entrees range from pulled pork tacos to house-made casseroles and meatballs. The cafe has sandwiches, too, and a full breakfast menu with myriad options from avocado toast to biscuits and gravy ($3.95), and quiche ($5.25) to breakfast flatbreads ($7.95).
"Everything is made on site there in the kitchen, and the baked goods are brought in from our headquarters down on Pacific," Boyce says. "It's all from scratch, locally made."
While most customers head to Hammer's outlets for its coffee, the new location offers that and more, including a full beer and wine menu, plus specialty coffee mocktails.
The Thomas Collins ($8), for example, contains cold brew coffee, lemon juice, elderflower syrup, soda water and a maraschino cherry. A "cold-fashioned" ($8) plays on the classic whiskey cocktail, replacing the spirit with cold brew, plus a barrel-aged maple syrup, orange peel, coffee bitters and maraschino cherry. For those looking for a different kind of buzz, regional rotating beer is served on tap, along with bottles and cans, plus wine by the glass or bottle.
"You can meet there for happy hour or brunch, you can grab dinner to go, you can sit and work and do homework; really anything can happen at this cafe," Boyce says. "That is the goal, to offer something for anybody."
For a caffeinated buzz, the options are endless, from traditional espresso like cortados, mochas and Americanos to Thomas Hammer's signatures ($3.95-$5.50) such as the chocolate-cinnamon-honey Jack Hammer, the lavender and salted caramel Afternoon Delight, and the dark and white chocolate in the Velvet Hammer.
"We've had amazing feedback from the community" since opening, Boyce says. "People are really happy we're there on the South Hill, and they're really happy with the food and that we kind of have this elevated feel. It's just a different concept and feel for Spokane, and it's different from our other stores." ♦
Thomas Hammer Ltd. Reserve • 3173 S. Grand Blvd. • Open Mon-Thu 5:30 am-8 pm; Fri 5:30 am-9 pm, Sat 6:30 am-9 pm, Sun 6:30-7 pm • hammercoffee.com • 509-290-5947