A new pub in Spokane's south Indian Trail neighborhood was just getting a feel for the ebb and flow of service when its staff had to quickly pivot to takeout-only.
Washington state's second lockdown came just three weeks after Pint House Burgers & Brews' grand opening in late October, says owner Josh Blair.
While the restaurant, with a focus on burgers and broad selection of regional beer, could only debut at half capacity back then, Blair says it easily hit or came close to that 50 percent mark each night those first few weeks. Support from customers in the northwest Spokane neighborhood hasn't wavered even as the restaurant had to close its large dining room, which normally seats about 150 people.
"The community has been so supportive of us," Blair says. "This is such an underserviced area for family-owned restaurants and local restaurants, so the support has been great."
Proof of that came just weeks into the on-site dining shutdown when Pint House upped the nights it's open for takeout each week from five to six. The restaurant currently operates for dinner service every day but Tuesday, from 3 to 8 pm. Blair says so far the restaurant has been seeing upward of 125 takeout orders each night.
"We had to add a second phone line because running a takeout restaurant, if you don't have a second line, you can't click over and answer another call," he says.
Pint House is located in what formerly was a multi-tenant commercial building, and it expanded into all four of the previously separate spaces. It's a couple blocks from the Indian Trail Road and Francis Avenue intersection, near a Yoke's Fresh Market grocery store.
Blair is a former owner of the downtown pub 24 Taps Burgers & Brews, which he and a business partner sold a couple years ago.
The menu for Pint House was developed by Blair and centers on 10 gourmet burgers. While the menu options have been temporarily abbreviated to better adapt to takeout service, there also are salads, sandwiches, wings, chicken strips, nachos and several pub-style appetizers. Blair says among the latter, its handmade fresh mozzarella sticks ($13) and fried breaded pickles ($10) are top sellers.
Among the pub's 10 burger combinations ($14.50-$16), one topped with avocado and bacon is an early standout. Other burgers include mushroom and swiss, black and blue, classic cheese and a bacon cheeseburger. The house Pints burger is called out on the menu for being "amazingly messy," coming topped with a runny egg. The taco burger also stands tall, literally, with housemade tortilla chips stacked on a taco-seasoned beef patty alongside other traditional taco toppings.
Each burger contains two hand-pressed patties on a brioche bun and comes with one of several side choices.
In the bar, Pint House lives up to its name with 24 tap handles of regional craft and domestic beers, plus seasonal varieties and some non-beer options like hard cider and seltzer. While the restaurant has a full bar license, for now just beer is available to-go in growlers, Blair says.
Customers stopping in lately to pick up takeout may notice the dining room filled with big screen TVs, but Blair says his goal isn't for Pint House to be a typical sports bar, although it'll certainly tune in to big games on some of those screens.
"We want to be your local, neighborhood family-style restaurant — that is really what we're going for," he says. "We want to focus on hearty portions of fresh burgers and pub-style food." ♦
Pint House Burgers & Brews • 3325 W. Indian Trail Rd. • Open (takeout only) Wed-Mon 3-8 pm • pinthousepub.com • 290-6937