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Sunday, March 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Dish: SantaCon returns, Clover expands bakery business and more

Spokane’s SantaCon is coming to town.

The Santa-themed pub crawl starts at 3 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Checkerboard Bar.

Participation is free. Attendees must be 21 and over, dress like – and refer to one another as – Santa, and eat, drink and be merry.

Not to ruin your Christmas spirit, but Santas are also expected to pay for their own food or beverages.

Started in San Francisco in 1994, SantaCon celebrations now take place around the world on the same day. They aren’t protests against Christmas or commercialization – or anything. But, in some cities, Santas have been known to get drunk and unruly.

Spokane’s event isn’t known for getting out of hand. The crowd is smaller than those at major metropolitan SantaCons – a few dozen participants versus a few hundred – and it’s a benefit. This year, organizers are accepting cash donations for youths at Tamarack Center, which provides mental health service for children and teens.

The Spokane SantaCon started in 2012 with a group of a half-dozen or so people. In 2013 and 2014, with the help of more advertising through fliers and a Facebook page, there were several dozen participants.

This year’s event starts at the Checkerboard, 1716 E. Sprague Ave. The next stop, an hour later, is Nyne Bar and Bistro, 232 W. Sprague Ave.

For more information, visit

Clover plans bakery expansion

Clover’s bakery will move into a larger facility in the beginning of the year, with storefronts slated to open in spring and summer 2016.

Commercial kitchen space in Spokane Valley is being remodeled to make room for a new Bongard oven. The approximately $80,000 appliance has already shipped from France. Each of its four decks can hold about 22 loaves.

Renovations are expected to be finished at the end of January. After that, Clover’s baking business will move into the 3,000-square-foot location and change its name to Bellacrosta Bakery and Fine Foods, combing the two words that mean beautiful and crust in Italian.

Storefronts are being planned for the South Hill, North Side, downtown Spokane and Spokane Valley.

Two or three are slated to open in 2016. But there could be up to seven in all in the next couple of years, said proprietors Scott McCandless and Marta Harrington, who opened Clover in a renovated Craftsman-style home in Spokane’s University District in 2012.

The baking operation had been housed in a 400-square-foot space behind the restaurant before moving to a larger space at the end of August to accommodate a growing number of wholesale accounts.

On the Web:

Clover Pale Ale

Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene is collaborating with Clover on a new pale ale.

The first batch of Clover Pale was available in November. The Northwest session ale is described as a smooth and lightly hoppy.

On the Web:

Knife Burger isn’t cutting it

The burger joint slated to open on the corner of Lincoln Street and Sprague Avenue in downtown Spokane won’t be opening there after all.

Knife Burger was planned for the location that formerly housed Agave Latin Bistro. It was originally dubbed The Burger Lab and slated to open in late 2014. The opening was delayed until spring 2015 before it project hit the chopping block.

“We decided to walk away because of some building restrictions with regards to our design,” said restaurateur and designer Josh Hissong, who owns Nudo Ramen House in the same downtown block. It opened in spring 2014.

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