Sizzle and Swill

The Boiler Room serves up artisan pizza and more in a modern space in Five Mile

Sizzle and Swill
Meghan Kirk
From left: Hailey Ogle, Boiler Room manager Mitch Holda and bartender Jake Gaebe.

As customers cross the threshold, shuddering off the icy air behind them, they're welcomed by a cacophony of conversation and music, mixed with the warm aroma of tomato sauce and dough yeast.

It's the Friday after Christmas, the first Friday of business for the Boiler Room, and it seems as if all of Spokane's North Side residents are packed inside. Diners are there to check out the chic yet industrial space that had been slowly rising from the ground for months, and of course to investigate the Boiler Room's please-everyone menu of wood-fired craft pizza, beer, cocktails and small plates.

Owned by local restaurateur Matt Goodwin — whose other projects include the Volstead Act, Press bar on the South Hill, and the rejuvenated downtown bar Fast Eddie's — the Boiler Room seeks to fill a void in this edge of town. While there are several other sit-down restaurants in the Five Mile area, Goodwin felt that still, "it's a very underserved market. There are a lot of people who are looking for a fun, family-friendly, yet still adult-oriented restaurant."

His approach seems to be working — it's standing room only in the bar, and tables beyond are filled with families, from grandparents to infants.

The "swill" aspect of the Boiler Room's tagline, "craft pizza and swill," includes housemade cocktails named after neighborhood streets and places. The draft and bottled beer list even features a few brews from its also new next-door-neighbor, Waddell's Brewpub & Grille.

Located in the new, mixed-use Cedar Crossing development, the Boiler Room sits atop a parcel once covered in weeds for more than a decade, the former site of a Tidyman's grocery store.

The restaurant's utilitarian interior is the work of local design firm HDG Hurtado + Hissong Design Group, resulting in a functional, boiler room-esque setting. Two cylindrical stone pizza ovens are wrapped in metal sheets to give the illusion of boilers, with purely decorative pipes coming out of the top. The rest of the space further enhances the industrial design approach, with a treated cement floor, butcher block-style tabl tops and metal pendant lighting.

Rectangle-shaped artisan pizzas are served piping hot on long wooden boards, the golden crust baked to the ideal crispness. House specialties that have been a hit so far, Goodwin says, include the "Fireball," ($16) topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni, pancetta, peppers, chili flakes and Sriracha hot sauce. A Thai-inspired pizza and one topped with Yukon potatoes and sour cream are others created with the foodie in mind. But the Boiler Room's menu also adheres to pizza-lovers' classic staples: margherita ($13), pepperoni ($14), three cheese ($12) and veggie ($13) round out the selection of specialty pies. ♦

Boiler Room • 6501 N. Cedar • Mon-Sun, 11 am-2 am • • 863-9213