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The Dish: Delicious bites at Dawg House

A chicken pesto sandwich is framed in the second story windows of the Dawg House Eatery.  (Christopher Anderson)
A chicken pesto sandwich is framed in the second story windows of the Dawg House Eatery. (Christopher Anderson)

You’d never know the dogs had been there.

Owners Betty Lorenz and Evelyn Kamitomo spiffed up a former Gonzaga student rental house that once served as home to baseball team players for a new restaurant. The Dawg House Eatery, just off Hamilton and Sharp, sits just on the edge of the neighborhood and the business district.

Diners can choose from small tables outside on the front porch or inside on the main floor. There is also seating upstairs, including a little nook in the former sun porch.

Lorenz grew up in the neighborhood and says she dreamed of opening a little place after seeing similar joints in Seattle and Portland – someplace students could drop in for a cup of Joe and a bite to eat between classes.

“We both have kids in college right now and of course, their first complaint was: ‘The food sucks, Mom,’ ” Lorenz says.

However, once they got into reconstruction of the house at 913 E. Sharp Ave., it became clear that a coffee shop wasn’t going to make quite enough to put a dent in those bills.

They settled instead on a lunch and dinner menu and have drawn an eclectic crowd of students, professors, business people and families from the neighborhood. A few Gonzaga fans have standing reservations there before home games.

Almost everything on the menu – save a couple of salad dressings – is made from scratch. Daily soup and sandwich specials are popular. Soups are $3 per cup and $5 for a bowl. Sandwiches range from a marinated grilled chicken with pesto, red onion confit, lemon basil pesto and bacon for $10 to Guinness marinated steak sandwich with grilled onions, portobello mushrooms, provolone and pepper steak sauce for $12. Wraps are also popular – including chicken Caesar, steak and blue cheese and veggie burger ($9/$12/$11).

Chef Mateo Elizondo recently took charge of the kitchen and they’re tweaking the menu a bit after the departure of the opening chef.

Dinner entrees include chicken marsala, Greek pasta, or smoked gouda and steak pasta for $16, cedar plank salmon with almond risotto and huckleberry champagne cream sauce for $17 and rib eye steak served with whiskey peppercorn sauce for $22.

Manager Cameron Cubberley says they’ll have appetizer and drink specials. Beer and wine are served right now with plans for a full bar later. The Dawg House owners also hope to expand outdoor eating space next year and perhaps offer some entertainment. And they may still do some coffee and breakfast someday. Stay tuned.

The pig has flown

Marsha Loiacono and daughter Erin Rauth loved their jobs at Great Harvest Bread Co. – but it didn’t stop them from dreaming about the day they’d have their own place.

“We’d make up menus. We’d test recipes,” says Loiacono, who started working at scratch bakeries in Spokane in 1976.

“And at the end of every conversation, we say, ‘Yep, when pigs fly,’ ” Rauch adds.

In the end, they didn’t have to wait. Loiacono and Rauch opened The Flying Pig café last month at 1822 E. Sprague Ave. They spent the winter remodeling the former warehouse space. The café is a few doors down from One World Café and on the other side of Sprague from the Tin Roof.

“This is our one shot at our dream,” Loiacono says.

The café offers Cravens Coffee and espresso and a rotating quiche ($4.50) at breakfast, along with savory breakfast muffins, biscuits and gravy and a breakfast burrito ($3.50 each). At lunchtime, the sandwich menu, sausages and hot dogs are featured.

The menu is an ode to the restaurant’s namesake. Choose from a ham and cheese melt ($5.25); the Pizano pig with salami, turkey, provolone and tomato sauce on marbled rye ($6.25); or the Flying Pig, with roasted pork, cranberry sauce and herbed cream cheese on sourdough ($6.25). Want to take it even further? Check out the Hercules Mega Pig, which layers on turkey, ham, provolone, red peppers, pepperoncini, artichokes, caramelized onions, tomato sauce and cream cheese.

The women make bacon and pea pasta salad and homemade sweet potato salad with (you guessed it) bacon, onions, celery and spiced creamy dressing. There’s a green side salad, too.

Not a fan of pork? There are plenty of make-your-own sandwich options. Homemade soups are $2.50 for a small or $3.75 for a large bowl.

The Flying Pig opens at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m. every day except Sunday.

Twigs in Valley

The newest branch of Twigs Bistro is open.

Find the new bistro in the former TGI Friday’s location at the Spokane Valley Mall, 14728 E. Indiana Ave. Like the other Twigs locations, the restaurant has an extensive menu of appetizers and martinis (including a happy hour menu if you land there between 3 and 6 p.m. or after 9 p.m.). They also offer an array of salads, sandwiches, pizzas and entrees.

Entrees range in price from a small vegetable teriyaki stir fry for $9.99 to $25.99 for a 12-ounce center cut choice N.Y. strip steak served with garlic mashed potatoes, vegetables and a gorgonzola fondue. There’s a gluten-free menu for those who need it.

Breakfast includes traditional favorites such as eggs Benedict ($9.95) and huckleberry pancakes ($8.95) and other goodies, including a brie and mushroom omelet ($10.95) or smoked salmon hash ($11.95). It is served Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Want to plan ahead? The menu is available online at

Twigs is open Monday-Thursday, 11a.m.-10 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Reach the restaurant at (509) 290-5636.

Nectar Tasting Room wine blogger Josh Wade announced the metamorphosis of his wine and coffee obsession this week.

Wade plans to open a tasting room near the corner of Stevens and Main Avenue featuring wines from five Washington wineries outside of the Spokane area. According to his news release, Wade is talking to winemakers from Walla Walla, Red Mountain, Lake Chelan, the Tri-Cities and Woodinville.

“The addition of other regional wineries will enhance the wine experience for local residents and increase the spotlight on the quality Spokane wine producers,” Wade wrote in a news release.

He plans to offer wine tasting, as well as wine by the glass in the 2,000-square-foot space at 120 N. Stevens St. The tasting room would be open Thursday through Saturday, with live music on weekends. Menus on iPads and interactive wine education is also planned.

Wade says he hopes Nectar Tasting Room will open mid- to late November. He started his wine and coffee tasting blog a year ago with plans to open a business. He also launched Spokane Wine Magazine to help promote the local wine scene. The former DrinkNectar blog will be moving to www.nectartastingroom. com or www.nectar wine, where Wade will continue to post information about the tasting room, wine news and social marketing information.