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Steam Plant unveils Stacks

Renovations to the restaurants inside the Steam Plant are finished.

Interiors of the restaurant and pub formerly known as the Steam Plant Grill were completed recently, and there are new names for the restaurant, microbrewery and pub housed in the historic complex. The Steam Plant, recognizable by its signature twin stacks soaring above downtown Spokane, created and supplied heat to some 300 buildings in downtown Spokane from 1916 to 1986.

It was renovated starting in 1998 to turn the former industrial building into unusual dining and office space, where many of the building’s historic features were preserved. The original renovation, by partners Wells and Co. and Steam Plant Square, was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In January, Steam Plant Square, a subsidiary of Avista Corp., took over majority ownership of the restaurant and pub.

The full-service restaurant is now known as Stacks at Steam Plant and is led by chef Barry Matthews, who is exercising some new culinary freedom over the offerings. The menu features regional and local ingredients, as well as meats, fish, cheese and vegetables smoked on-site using a variety of fruit and hardwoods. Beer brewed by the Steam Plant Brewing Co. is also a featured ingredient.

Steam Plant Brewing Co. produces more than 10 microbrews on site. The brewery was formerly a branch of Coeur d’Alene Brewing Co. The microbrewery recently hired Greg Piller as head brewer. Piller worked with Coeur d’Alene Brewing and has recently begun recrafting the beers that are offered by the Steam Plant Brewing Co.

Quaff a beer in the Steam Plant Pub and order from a more casual menu there, including some of the favorites from Stacks.

There are more details at www.steamplant We’ve posted the new menus for Stacks and the Steam Plant Brewing Co. and Grill on our Too Many Cooks blog, blogs/too-many-cooks/

The Steam Plant is at 159 S. Lincoln St. Reach the restaurant by calling (509) 777-3900.

Stella’s Café opens

Mizuna chef Tony Brown is stretching out his days with a new café.

Brown and his mom, Marti Brown, opened Stella’s Café and coffee shop, 917 W. Broadway Ave, last week. Stella’s Café is the former J-Walk Bistro and Bakery.

They’re keeping the menu small with Doma coffee and espresso along with baked goods in the mornings. Marti Brown, a longtime baker, is making the scones, coffee cake, muffins and other treats. She’s also working on some healthier baked goods and a vegan breakfast bar.

Tony Brown, who has worked at Mizuna for the past eight years, says he’s had a longtime dream of opening a small cafe. He’s behind the menu of sandwiches, soups and salads offered at lunchtime. The bánh mì, a Vietnamese sandwich made with either tofu or pork, has been popular. Pork and pancetta meatball, tempeh Reuben and Portobello mushroom sandwiches are also offered, along with classic roast beef and turkey. Sandwiches are $7 and served with chips. Pesto potato salad and a golden beet salad were also available recently. Soups are served daily.

The cafe is waiting on a liquor license and Tony Brown plans to eventually offer an array of small plate options for the after-work crowd along with the beer and wine. For summertime, he’s thinking of different ideas for ice cream sandwiches. The garage door in the front of the cafe can roll open to the sidewalk.

They’ll hang photography and work from local artists and plan to be open for First Friday events and extend into some weekend hours eventually.

Stella’s Café is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tony Brown continues to work as the executive chef at Mizuna in downtown Spokane as well. Reach Stella’s Café by calling (509) 326-6475.

We’re always looking for fresh food news. Write to: The Fresh Sheet, Features Department, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Call (509) 459-5446, fax to (509) 459-5098 or send an email to