February 4, 2009 in Food

Economy takes toll on local restaurants

Lorie Hutson
 

The economy, weather and dwindling cash have led owners of Le Piastre in Coeur d’Alene to close the doors – at least temporarily.

Chef Adam Hegsted says he and his partners are considering whether they can reopen the restaurant, which featured tapas-style small plates inspired by Parisian fare and made with local, seasonal ingredients.

Hegsted says although Le Piastre, 501 E. Sherman Ave., had earned a nice reputation and following, they had trouble with investors backing out of the project and just couldn’t keep up with the bills.

“We just had a run of bad timing and luck, and although it’s heartbreaking to us, we are thankful for the people that came,” he says.

In Spokane, there have been two other notable closures recently.

Prago, Argentine Cafe, 201 W. Riverside Ave., is shuttered. Also, 1228 Tapas, 1228 S. Grand Blvd., is closed. Chef/owner Jerry Schrader previously ran Just Jerry’s in that location, but perhaps is better known for his work at Cannon Street Grill.

Press opens, Sandwich Gardens returns

Not all local restaurant news is bad. Recent openings include a coffee, cocktail and dessert bar called Press, 909 S. Grand Blvd., and the Sandwich Gardens at River Park Square.

Partners Marianne Guenther and Jeremy Tangen opened Press about two weeks ago. The former garage space next door to Quiznos and Qdoba features a large roll-up door that opens onto a large patio. (Of course, they’ll wait until the summer to roll it up.)

The shop offers French press DOMA coffee as well as espresso, a dessert bar with wares from local bakeries, and a full bar with a dozen beers on tap. The signature cocktail is a Grapefruitini made with freshly squeezed juice, according to a news release.

Guenther, a real estate agent, and Tangen, a developer who also owns the Marquee Lounge downtown, also are launching a restaurant next door.

They hope to open Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill in April. The Arizona-based franchise focuses on quick, healthy Asian fare.

Press is open from 5:30 a.m. until 2 a.m. each day. For more information, call (509) 747-7737 or go to www.presspokane.com.

Dig out your coupon: The Sandwich Gardens returned to River Park Square on Monday, near the skywalk entrance above Restoration Hardware.

The original shop opened at the downtown shopping center 33 years ago, and then moved to the Heart Institute in 1998.

Owner Pat Matthews says when they closed the downtown shop they handed out some 3,000 to 4,000 coupons saying, “When we’re back, lunch is on us.”

“We are excited to see how many people actually hung onto their coupons for 10 years,” Matthews says in a news release.

Sandwich Gardens is known for generous sandwiches and homemade soups. The menu is much the same as when it first opened, with a few new additions, owners say.

Reach Sandwich Gardens at (509) 838-3376.

Reach staff writer Lorie Hutson at lorieh@spokesman.com or (509) 534-4924.

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