New South Perry Lantern offers eclectic food and craft beer in a restored, historic space

New South Perry Lantern offers eclectic food and craft beer in a restored, historic space
Courtesy photo
The latest version of the Lantern debuted in early July.

New ownership has brought a popular neighborhood hangout back to life in Spokane's thriving South Perry District.

Local restaurateur Jeremy Tangen signed a lease for a historic building at the corner of Grant and Perry early this year, and reopened the fully remodeled space as the South Perry Lantern on July 1.

Tangen's hospitality group also includes Borracho Tacos & Tequileria, Fast Eddie's, Boombox Pizza, The Red Wheel and River City Brewing. While he didn't purchase the business assets for the former Lantern Tap House operated by Mike and Melinda Dolmage, which the couple had hoped to sell last year, Tangen did seek to bring a familiar vibe back to the Perry District.

"We ended up going through with a transaction [to lease the space] knowing that there was a lot of opportunity with the community, and the growth that Perry and the South Hill has been seeing," Tangen says. "I thought it would be a good opportunity to take something that's been a local establishment and upgrade it and hopefully have a lot of similar offerings, but also be brand new."

Tangen says the biggest changes to the space include moving the bar from a back corner to the center of the all-ages dining room, which was also expanded. New windows were also installed to bring in more natural light.

The new South Perry Lantern offers an eclectic menu that goes beyond what's typically expected from standard gastropub-style fare. While, yes, there are classics like wings ($18) with several house sauces, a hearty Caesar salad ($12), fish and chips ($16), and an outstanding burger ($15), South Perry Lantern's executive chef Alex Szambelan has flexed his creativity with several internationally inspired dishes.

Szambelan, a Spokane native, most recently ran a high-end hotel kitchen in Boulder, Colorado, and had been looking to move back home last year when he became connected with Tangen.

"When we started talking, it was the perfect fit with what we were looking for, and his culinary style and what the area will appreciate," Tangen says.

Among the Lantern's many menu innovations, Szambelan crafted the seasonal Tropical Tuna ($18), an entree of sesame-crusted ahi tuna over a bed of fresh quinoa pilaf with pineapple salsa. The flavorful, bright dish is heartily portioned, yet won't have most diners asking for a to-go box. There's also a Korean-style ramen bowl ($16) with black pepper beef and kimchi, a vegan cauliflower curry ($15), smoked oysters ($16), and an eggroll with Philly sandwich fillings ($14).

Tangen says the sheer diversity of dishes seems to be a hit among customers. While some menu items will rotate with the seasons, items like the house burger — two smash patties with bacon jam, garlic aioli, choice of cheese and fresh toppings — will be a mainstay.

"When [Szambelan] originally proposed the menu, I said 'I'm good to go,' and we'll see what works and adjust as needed," Tangen says. "We have been monitoring sales to see what people are gravitating to, and it's showing almost a perfectly balanced menu as far as ordering goes. That was 100 percent a surprise to me. I thought people would gravitate to certain items, but it's better balanced than I would have expected."

New South Perry Lantern offers eclectic food and craft beer in a restored, historic space
Courtesy photo
New owner Jeremy Tangen completely overhauled the historic space, moving and rebuilding the bar and adding more windows.

At the bar, South Perry Lantern has 14 rotating tap handles of craft beer from local purveyors like Lumberbeard Brewing Co., River City Brewing and some larger, regional operations like New Belgium, Lost Coast and others. Two taps are reserved for house wines custom-blended for the Lantern by local winery Barili Cellars.

Weekend brunch — service starts Saturday and Sunday at 9 am — at the Lantern is also already off and running with an equally creative menu, ranging from a brunch "charcuterie" ($15) with yogurt, granola, fruit and mini pancakes, to a classic eggs-bacon-toast-pancakes breakfast ($13) and sweet blintz ($12), or crepes filled with sweet cheese, strawberry and a balsamic compote.

While the Lantern plans to be open until 2 am daily, the kitchen winds down during late hours with an abbreviated menu of wings, a fry basket, chicken strips and a handful of other snacks.

Tangen hopes the Lantern will become a hub for more than just food and drink. The first regular community event to kick off is the return of the Lantern Run Club on Tuesdays at 6 pm, for which local running enthusiasts gather to go on group runs around the neighborhood, capped off by beer and eats.

Happy hour, a mug club and other events like trivia night and special beer dinners will also be rolling out once the venue's staff are more familiar with the ebb and flow of neighborhood activity.

"Right now, we're having an awesome reception from the neighborhood, and we're working hard to get everyone trained and dialed in," Tangen says. ♦

South Perry Lantern • 1004 S. Perry St. • Open Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am; Sat-Sun 9 am-2 am • • 509-473-9098

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About The Author

Chey Scott

Chey Scott is the Inlander's Associate Editor, overseeing and contributing to the paper's arts and culture sections, including food and events. Chey (pronounced "Shay") is a lifelong resident of the Spokane area and a graduate of Washington State University. She's been on staff at the Inlander since 2012...