Even amid a global pandemic, growth in the region's food scene continues at a surprising pace. The latest expansion news comes from Cascadia Public House, the Northwest-style, veggie-friendly pub in Spokane's Five Mile neighborhood. Cascadia's owners recently announced plans to add a second location in the recently vacated former home of Geno's pub in the Logan neighborhood.
Cascadia co-owner Jordan Smith expects the new spot to open in early 2021.
"We weren't really, honestly, looking to open a new spot," Smith says. "It was something we thought about doing post pandemic, but [the landlord] came to us with the opportunity to get into that space, so we all talked about it and thought it would be a good opportunity for us, and the model and brand could fill a hole in the Gonzaga area."
Smith says the plan is to serve the same gastropub menu of burgers, sandwiches and vegan/vegetarian-friendly eats at both spots. He notes that the newly acquired location is about the same size as the Five Mile restaurant, which has been performing well despite pandemic restrictions, with a large percentage of orders placed for to-go or delivery.
In related news, Smith says Cascadia's five-man ownership team has also decided to merge with sister restaurant RÜT Bar & Kitchen to form the new restaurant group, Our Common Collective. RÜT was formerly operated by Cascadia co-owner Justin Oliveri and chef Josh Lorenzen, who is taking on the role of executive chef for the collective.
"We have other plans for more moves we want to make in the restaurant game, so we were excited to team up together," Smith says.
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR SPOKANE
COUNTY'S COVID-19 HOSPITALITY GRANT
Late last month, Spokane County commissioners voted to allocate up to $10.8 million of the county's remaining $40 million in federal CARES Act funds to support struggling businesses in the hospitality, arts and entertainment sectors.
Businesses can fill out applications to receive some of those funds set aside to create the Spokane County Hospitality Relief Grant program. The window to apply is open until Monday, Nov. 16 at 5 pm. Groups overseeing the process aim to start distributing funds by Dec. 7. Interested businesses should visit spokanehospitalitygrant.com.
Spokane County businesses can apply for a grant of up to $20,000 to help cover losses and expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including extra costs to operate in compliance with face-covering, sanitation and physical-distancing mandates. A business must have been established before March 1, 2020, have 249 or fewer employees as of that date, and show they've experienced a negative financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEW MENU BY CHEF ADAM HEGSTED DEBUTS AT COEUR D'ALENE CASINO
It's been a homecoming of sorts for regional chef and restaurateur Adam Hegsted to be back inside the Coeur d'Alene Casino kitchen.
The award-winning chef, who cut his teeth at the casino before branching out to establish his Eat Good Group restaurants, recently partnered with its culinary team to re-envision the menu of Chinook restaurant. The steakhouse-style eatery has also shortened its name from Chinook Steak, Pasta & Spirits to the more concise Chinook.
"We kept a lot of the favorite items, and added a few others, going to local and seasonal products and making things from scratch," Hegsted says.
He also brought back a few favorites from his days as Coeur d'Alene Casino's executive chef, from 2008 to 2013, including a hearty bison stew.
"There were a couple iterations when I was gone, so we just brought it back to what it was before, root veggies and bison," the chef says.
The casino's partnership with Hegsted is ongoing; he'll continue to consult and help craft new seasonal menus throughout the year.
"Adam has done exceptionally well and has businesses in Coeur d'Alene and Spokane that built a name for him, and we wanted to take advantage of his positive reputation in our communities," explains Yvette Matt, the casino's director of marketing. "If we could co-brand with him, the fans he built outside the casino could come down and enjoy his food, giving them another reason to come out and visit instead of just coming to gamble."
With the new menu, Chinook has also transitioned to a more casual service format, versus its previous vibe as a fine dining-leaning steakhouse. To that end, menu prices have also been slightly reduced. A grand reopening of the re-envisioned restaurant is set for Nov. 17. ♦