When the announcement came a couple weeks back that Ruins restaurant just north of downtown Spokane was closing, local foodies put on their mourning attire and may have wept.
But, as it turns out, Ruins' closure was just temporary. Already, the popular small-plates spot from chef Tony Brown — known for its monthly rotating and internationally themed food menus — is back. But not in the tiny blue building at the corner of Monroe and Broadway. Instead, Brown has moved Ruins' concept to his restaurant space at 225 W. Riverside Ave., which had, up to now, been the home of Stella's cafe and bar.
Ruins is now open there Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 pm, with plans to expand hours in the future.
Some background: The Riverside spot had initially opened as Brown's finer-dining concept Eyvind back in late 2019, but due to the pandemic, he transitioned to a more casual focus with sandwiches, to-go items and other cafe-style eats. Hunt, which Brown co-owns with building owner Jed Conklin, is still located in the basement and has not undergone any major changes since also opening in late 2019.
Stella's, meanwhile, is soon moving back to the Saranac Commons, where it previously operated before Brown moved his fast-food homage McRuins into that spot last year. Stella's is set to reopen in the next week after a quick remodel, and will feature Brown's classic sandwich lineup (including the banh mi, meatloaf and more) plus a larger variety of fresh salads, "'Cause it's hard to get a good salad," Brown says. Stella's hours will be 9 am to 3 pm daily.
If you're confused by all these changes, you're not alone.
"I'm good at confusing people," Brown says, but he promises this is the last time he'll be moving his concepts around.
"Basically everything is going to move into a new space, yet it will be all the same people working there," he adds.
The reason for these changes is due to industrywide staffing struggles, paired with some changes in management for Brown's restaurants.
Chef Travis Tveit, who joined Brown's team earlier this year to head McRuins, will move with that eatery to the little blue building near the Spokane County Courthouse, at 825 N. Monroe St. McRuins' new hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am to 4 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, with plans to add hours, pending more hires.
For updates, follow Stella's, Ruins and McRuins on social media: Instagram and/or Facebook, @_ruins, @_mcruins, @_stellasrestaurant. ♦