Prohibition Gastropub changes hands from one local chef to another

click to enlarge The Leonettis are off on a new adventure, leaving Prohibition Gastropub in the hands of Spokane chef Michael Wiley. - PROHIBITION GASTROPUB
Prohibition Gastropub
The Leonettis are off on a new adventure, leaving Prohibition Gastropub in the hands of Spokane chef Michael Wiley.
Prohibition Gastropub on North Monroe Street is starting a new chapter.

Today, current owners Jill and John Leonetti announced that after five years running the American comfort-food-focused restaurant and bar — often using it to give back to the community through dozens of charitable partnerships — they're passing Prohibition on to a new, local owner.

Taking over the restaurant on Oct. 1 is Spokane chef Michael Wiley of Wiley's Downtown Bistro, which Wiley says he'll continue to operate. The Leonettis shared news of the transition via a Facebook post, including the following excerpt from chef John:

"Together with so many staff members who were a part of the Prohibition story over the years, we lived our dream. I can confidently say I gave my all as a chef/owner, learned so much about the business and how truly wonderful our community is, and am excited for what is to come.

We would love to have the Prohibition family join us in welcoming Chef Michael Wiley who will be moving in on Oct 1st! We couldn't have found a better person to write the next chapter of this building filled with memories, and to continue to make his mark in Spokane food. We are certain with his attention to detail, fabulous customer rapport and creative mind that it is in good hands."
The Leonettis are now off to Phoenix for Jill's career as a project manager in the recycling industry, and a change of pace allowing the couple, who have a young son, to focus on spending more time together as a family.

"To have found someone [to take over] during this COVID situation, especially someone who seems to care as much as Michael does about things, he gives a lot in his business," Jill Leonetti notes.

"Most of the staff are excited and want to stay and we're looking forward to the transition. [Michael's] personality is going to be such a good fit. He is so well liked, and has such a good rapport with customers."

Incoming chef-owner Wiley also shared thoughts on social media about the impending transition, expressing optimism to be expanding with a second restaurant despite the many challenges the pandemic-shadowed year has brought to the restaurant industry. Wiley has been running his downtown bistro since 2017.

"Who would have thought in the midst of this year, Wiley's would be expanding? Our staff seemed to laugh and say it makes sense, despite the craziness. Our downtown location will be staying put, so no worries to our loyal patrons! Cheers to the amazing folks who built Prohibition, and cheers to continuing to find the positivity and hope in 2020!"
Customers and friends can come by to say goodbye to the Leonettis and welcome Wiley during a drop-in-style send-off on Saturday, Sept. 26.

"We'll both be there, and we're looking forward to people stopping by to grab a cocktail and say goodbye to both of us," Jill Leonetti says. "We are really grateful this worked out, and I can't convey enough how much support we got from the community" over the years. 

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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...