December 10, 2010 in Business

Here’s the Dirt: Chef in the Forest returns

Nearly a year after fire, restaurant has been rebuilt
By The Spokesman-Review
Kathy Plonka photo

The Chef in the Forest restaurant is set to open in a few weeks after rebuilding from a fire last December.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Map of this story's location
Also today

• Sushi Maru

• Idaho Community Foundation

• Valley Young People’s Clinic

• Sky High Sports

An electrical fire one year ago destroyed Hauser’s Chef in the Forest restaurant. It’s taken nearly 12 months to put the pieces back together.

Owners Debbie Mustered and her mother, Jo Davis, say their intimate dining location will reopen soon, depending on when they get an occupancy permit.

“We’re hoping by Dec. 22,” Mustered said.

Fans of the restaurant will see the same building, friendly service and menu.

“The big changes are inside,” Mustered said. The rearrangement of walls and the bathroom opens the seating area and provides more natural light. Plus the restaurant has added a gas fireplace to cheer the evening.

“We’ve used lighter wood, and with the windows, the whole place feels brighter,” she added.

Mustered and Davis are the fourth set of Chef owners. The restaurant, at 12008 N. Woodland Beach Drive, opened in 1977.

Total restoration cost came to $350,000, with insurance covering all of it.

Before, the restaurant served diners on two floors; the remodel consolidated all 18 tables on the main floor. “Our servers are really happy we did that,” Mustered said.

The interior of roughly 2,200 square feet will also feel a little more organized, she said, as the contractors have squared up the exterior walls to remove the slight irregularities the building had.

Chef in the Forest will serve dinners Wednesday and Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to close; and Friday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to close. To find out when it opens, call (208) 773-3654.

Parade of sushi begins today

Sushi Maru, a kaiten-style sushi restaurant, opens its doors today in the former spot of Sawtooth Grill in River Park Square. Kaiten restaurants use conveyor belts with foods on plates that pass by diners’ tables. Diners pull off the items they want.

Sushi Maru is run by Paul Choi, a Bellevue owner of a number of kaiten restaurants in Western Washington.

Choi is stocking Sushi Maru with an extensive sake bar in the restaurant lounge. It will seat 145, counting lounge and dining area.

Plates are equipped with microchips that keep track of how long they sit on the conveyor belt. After an hour, food items not selected get pulled off, to ensure that customers get fresh choices.

Hours are 11 a.m. to close Monday through Saturday, noon to close on Sunday.

River Park Square is owned by Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

West Wing opens today on South Side

The West Wing of the White House opens today at 4334 S. Regal St. It’s the Spokane version of the popular Post Falls eatery, The White House Grill.

Owner Raci Erdem said he’ll have the restaurant open “either for lunch or if not then, for dinner for sure.” It will have about 75 seats, he said.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Information: (509) 443-1660.

Pediatric clinic has new Liberty Lake office

Valley Young People’s Clinic has opened a new Liberty Lake office. The 4,500-square-foot facility is at 23813 E. Appleway, next to Medicine Man Pharmacy.

The office has nine exam rooms and a procedure room and can accommodate three of the clinic’s eight physicians, administrator Georgette Wendt said. The providers, as well as two nurse practitioners, rotate between that facility and the clinic’s other location, 1414 N. Vercler Road, Suite 1, Spokane Valley.

The new office, built this year for about $1 million, opened Nov. 22. It replaced a leased office there.

Ramey Construction Co. of Spokane was the contractor, and OMS Inc. of Spokane the architect.

The independent Valley Young People’s Clinic started in 1976. It provides primary care to pediatric patients from birth to age 18.

The Liberty Lake office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Foundation opens North Idaho office

The Idaho Community Foundation has opened a regional office in Coeur d’Alene at the University of Idaho-Coeur d’Alene Harbor Center, 1031 N. Academic Way.

The office will help ICF better serve its members, donors, panel members and other supporters in North Idaho.

Two staff members occupy the office about half the time, and the foundation will tap a volunteer to work there as well.

The foundation also opened a Twin Falls office this week and one in Idaho Falls last summer. The headquarters is in Boise.

Idaho Community Foundation assists hundreds of nonprofit organizations that support education, help families and seniors, advance the arts and preserve the environment.

Trampoline emporium up and jumping

Spokane’s trampoline emporium, Sky High Sports, just opened and is operating Friday through Monday from 11 a.m. to late and Tuesday through Thursday from 2 to 10 p.m.

The business took over a warehouse at 1322 Front Ave., just east of downtown Spokane.

Customers can book trampoline time online or pay at the door. The website is

The facility will also start aerobics classes, said Brian Deller, a Sky High Sports manager.

Deputy City Editor Scott Maben contributed to this report. Here’s the Dirt is a weekly report on development and business changes in the Inland Northwest. E-mail or call (509) 459-5528.

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