Browne's Boomtown Bistro offers tasty eats in a century-old mansion at the heart of Spokane's oldest neighborhood

click to enlarge Don't miss brunch on the patio before this year's outdoor dining season ends. - HECTOR AIZON PHOTO
Hector Aizon photo
Don't miss brunch on the patio before this year's outdoor dining season ends.

Mosey over to the roundabout in Browne's Addition these days and you'll find dozens more people enjoying patio time as they fill the tables outside Browne's Boomtown Bistro, which significantly expanded the outdoor restaurant offerings for the neighborhood.

The bistro, which opened back in February, seats about 80 people across two floors of its 1901-built mansion that sits at the corner of Pacific and Cannon. But during warm months you'll find most everyone sitting outside on the fenced patio, which about doubles that capacity.

There, the huckleberry mimosas and buttery hollandaise can be found flowing during weekend brunch. Each day, except Monday, the bistro offers breakfast and lunch, and on Friday and Saturday, neighbors can be found enjoying one of the many scratch-made dishes while listening to live music and enjoying good company into the evening.

Browne's Bistro marks a return to restaurant ownership for Jim Adolfson and his wife Terri, who owned the historic Ferguson's Cafe in the Garland District for years before passing the keys to new owners about a decade ago.

Jim says when they saw that the historic mansion (most recently home to Browne's Tavern, which closed in 2017) was up for sale, the two were inspired to dive into a new place.

"We got the bug again and we heard about this place and it was just perfect," he says.

Already, the restaurant is a true family project, with only a couple of people on staff who aren't related, he adds.

Their main goal is to provide fresh food that's made in-house whenever possible and sourced as locally as it can be.

Dishes that will be familiar to old Ferguson's regulars — some of whom now regularly come into Browne's for that old connection — include the different Joe's breakfast scrambles, which all feature grilled onion, spinach and cheese, Adolfson says.

Additionally, the breakfast menu includes some takes on eggs benedict, but one in particular is unique: The Browne's Benedict is served up with two thick slices of bacon on a biscuit, topped with poached eggs and Alfredo sauce instead of hollandaise.

"That's really an interesting dish that seems to be pretty popular," Adolfson notes.

For that homemade taste, customers can try any of the bistro's house-made jams, hot sauce, cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, and even the house-roasted roast beef and turkey that are used on sandwiches at lunch.

"We try to use as many local suppliers as possible, and we're really big on scratch cooking," Adolfson says. "We can [also] customize orders — we have gluten-free breads, we can do vegan options and we have vegetarian stuff, so we're not just tied to what's on the menu."

For now, the bistro is open for breakfast and lunch on Sundays and Tuesday through Thursday, and all day on Friday and Saturday. It's not clear exactly how soon, but the plan is that at some point during the colder months, the bistro's hours will expand to include dinner on more nights of the week, he says.

At this point, with a fairly solid foundation of neighborhood regulars, the hope is to start attracting more people to come in from outside of Browne's Addition to grab a meal, Adolfson says. Part of the appeal, naturally, is the history of the home.

"When the house was built, this was the original neighborhood of Spokane, this was kind of where everything started," Adolfson says. "Even though a lot of places were torn down, or turned into apartment buildings, there's still a lot of historical places here. ... I think it's kind of great that everybody can experience it." ♦

Browne's Boomtown Bistro • 1924 W. Pacific Ave. • Open Tue-Thu and Sun 8 am-2 pm; Fri-Sat 8 am-8 pm • Facebook: Browne's Bistro • 315-8861

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About The Author

Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. Since joining the paper in 2017, she's reported how the weeks after getting out of prison can be deadly, how some terminally ill Eastern Washington patients have struggled to access lethal medication, and other sensitive...