Spokane's Garland District welcomes new seasonal pho and ramen shop Little Noodle

click to enlarge Pork buns, crab dumplings and beef wontons are unfailingly fresh. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo
Pork buns, crab dumplings and beef wontons are unfailingly fresh.

Don't wait too long to check out one of the Garland District's newest food spots — Little Noodle could be here and gone in just six months.

The seasonal Asian-inspired noodle shop with a menu centered around scratch-made pho and ramen is currently set to operate only through early spring 2021, as it's located in a building that's home to Honey Pig BBQ the rest of the year.

A familiar name in the neighborhood is heading up the project: chef Kadra Evans, formerly of North Hill on Garland, which has not reopened since closing at the pandemic's onset in mid-March. Evans is teaming up with her brother-in-law Ryan Stretch as partners in the restaurant.

"We've both been out of work since March," Stretch says. "That's why we're doing our own thing."

Although Stretch doesn't have professional culinary experience, the duo has long enjoyed cooking together for their family.

"I always team up with him and cook when I'm at home," Evans says. "Every time I'm at my sister's he's doing barbecue and always enjoys cooking."

At North Hill, Evans established a local following for her time-honed recipe for pho, a brothy Vietnamese noodle soup, which she served weekly for a "Pho Friday" special.

The duo are subleasing the Honey Pig space on the corner of Garland and Wall from business owner Tony Ferrante during the barbecue joint's six months off during fall and winter.

"What I wanted to cook was pretty perfect for winter, so we started working on the details for that and we did it," Evans says. "And we'll see from there if we're going to do a food truck or a different location."

Little Noodle's soft opening is slated for Oct. 15, with a grand opening on Oct. 20. The restaurant plans to operate five days a week, closed for service on Sunday and Monday in order to prepare the 48-hour broth for its soups.

Besides pho and ramen ($11/each base price) with choice of proteins ($2-$3 each additional), including tri-tip, smoked pork or pork belly, smoked tofu and shrimp, Little Noodle's menu also offers several small bites: spring rolls ($6.50), edamame ($5-$5.50) and spam or tofu musubi ($4).

"The biggest thing is that we use prime meats" in our dishes, Evans explains, which are of a higher quality than the meat often served in more traditional noodle kitchens.

"It's all fresh ingredients," she continues. "We're going to smoke some meats, but we have no fryers and we're really just working off of induction burners and smokers. So it's a challenge, but it's a good way to keep things really fresh."

Non-noodle dishes on the Asian-fusion menu include steamed sake clams in lemongrass basil butter ($12.50), shrimp or mushroom soup dumplings with black vinegar broth ($12), a banh mi sandwich ($11), rice bowls ($9), bao buns ($12.50; served deconstructed, in a build-your-own style) and a pho-ritto ($12.50), a flour tortilla stuffed with classic pho ingredients.

Perhaps one of the most exciting menu inclusions for many local diners, however, is "Dim Sum Day" on Wednesdays, from 2 pm to close. For those who prowl some of the region's food-focused social media forums, the Cantonese tradition of serving a variety of small-portioned dishes is one of the most asked-for cuisines in the Inland Northwest. Little Noodle's dim sum options, served directly to customers from a cart displaying the available dishes, may vary from week to week.

Ryan Stretch and Kadra Evans are partners in the Garland District's new Little Noodle. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo
Ryan Stretch and Kadra Evans are partners in the Garland District's new Little Noodle.

Weeks before the restaurant's debut, Evans traveled to Seattle to sample some of the city's most popular dim sum restaurants to get her "dim sum game going."

Dine-in seating at Little Noodle will be limited under current guidelines, and as such Evans and Stretch expect most orders to be placed for takeout.

The restaurant won't have a full bar, either, but local bartender and bitters expert Shelayna Skidmore is collaborating with its owners to craft a few sake cocktails to round out Little Noodle's wine, beer and sake selection.

Evans and Stretch both live in the Garland area and are excited to share a new dining choice with the community, even if it may be a seasonal venture for the foreseeable future.

"Living in the neighborhood, I always wanted more options" for food, Evans says. "It's not just a place for people to come visit, but people in the neighborhood also have options."

"We're really excited," Stretch adds. "Kadra is an incredible chef, and I am 100 percent on board. I really want this to work, and I think it will."

That said, both continue to stress that Little Noodle's first go-around is only for six months as they test the concept in its temporary location, and hopefully succeeding to justify more permanent plans.

"You don't have long to try us out, and the more [business] we get, the sooner the better," Evans says. ♦

Little Noodle • 713 W. Garland Ave. • Open Tue-Wed 11 am-9 pm, Thu-Sat 11 am-10 pm • littlenoodlespokane.com

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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...