There is a new sports bar in Concourse C at Spokane International Airport, one that celebrates sports figures who lived here in the area.
The MVP Home Turf Sports Bar and Grill held its grand opening last week with Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Mark Rypien on hand to cut the ribbon.
The restaurant boasts a display of memorabilia from Rypien’s football career: jerseys and helmets from his days with Shadle Park High School, Washington State University and the Washington Redskins; pictures of him winning the Super Bowl, his MVP trophies and a box of Wheaties that features Rypien on its cover.
There are also tributes to other notable athletes from the Spokane region, including pictures of the Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Washington State men’s basketball teams; a jersey from Joey Nania, the Junior Bassmaster Class world champion; and a jersey from National Football League referee Steve Wilson.
Kevin Jones, the general manger of HMSHost, the company that contracts with the airport to provide shops and restaurants, said the plan is to rotate the pictures and items in the restaurant to reflect the current sports season. He is also looking forward to finding other local sports figures to recognize.
But it’s not just about the memorabilia. “We’ve got great food,” Jones said. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and features Northwest wines.
“We’re trying to keep a Northwest theme to it,” Jones said.
The restaurant has partnered with the Rypien Foundation, which benefits families of children suffering from cancer. A portion of the proceeds from the restaurant will go to the foundation for the duration of the contract HMSHost has with the airport, which is nine years.
“Kevin is an old friend,” Rypien said. Jones approached Rypien and foundation co-founder Randy Brawner about the partnership. “This gives us the opportunity to tell our story and my story and help others.”
Rypien, who lives in the Spokane area, said he liked the idea of the local theme of the restaurant.
“This ain’t a bad place to raise a family and enjoy the many amenities that Spokane has,” he said.