Friday will be the end of something special for many in the Inland Northwest.
The Cellar's chef/owner Adam Hegsted recently announced that the Coeur d'Alene restaurant would unexpectedly close, and that the business and building were up for sale.
They were unable to secure a hard liquor license, explains Hegsted, whose accolades include cooking at the prestigious James Beard Foundation in 2012, which named him a regional semifinalist for Best Northwest Chef in 2016. He's also the owner of the Yards Bruncheon and the Wandering Table in Spokane's Kendall Yards neighborhood, as well as the Gilded Unicorn in downtown Spokane and the Eat Good Café in Liberty Lake.
"We did some estimations and without a significant increase in business, which is unlikely, the restaurant is not sustainable," says Hegsted, who notes that liquor licenses cost $300,000 and are difficult to obtain in Idaho.
The Cellar occupies two floors — about 11,000 square feet — of a 100-year-old Sherman Avenue building owned by Patricia and Tom Power. The Powers purchased the restaurant in 2010 from longtime restaurateur Jim Duncan, shortened its name from the Wine Cellar to the Cellar, and moved it a few doors up the street in 2013. Hegsted took it over in 2014.
"We will help all employees find new work and offer as many jobs as we can," says Hegsted.
Even as he laments the closure of the Cellar, Hegsted is busy on several new projects. He's been working with the Inland Northwest Food Network, for which he has helped fundraise in the past, as well as on a potential partnership in the Sandpoint area. He's also working on a four-day food and drink festival in Spokane Valley called Crave, slated for June, and implementing a Cellar-like wine club at his Wandering Table restaurant.
Hegsted says he'd consider a return to Coeur d'Alene, possibly with something similar to the concept found at the Yards.♦