This house is a very fine house – with strings of lights in the yard and a large deck with picnic tables where you can relax and let down your guard.
Shade sails protect outdoor diners from the sun – although, with the changing of the seasons, guests will likely be heading inside soon.
The modest Queen Anne-style residence – the only house in Post Falls listed on the National Register of Historic Places – is a cozy cornerstone of this town. Samuel and Ann Young, immigrants from England who helped establish Post Falls, built it in 1910. It was their family home.
Recently, it was restored and housed a deli. Now, the home – renovated once again – is home to one of restaurateur Adam Hegsted’s latest endeavors.
“I think the area is ready for something like this – a good neighborhood restaurant,” Hegsted said. “There’s a handful of really good places in Post Falls already, but there’s nothing on this side of town.”
He and his partners – brothers Mark and Tom Latham – are aiming for this historic home to become a local gathering place, a spot to which people walk or ride their bikes and meet up with friends and family. At their new Republic Kitchen and Taphouse, they’re going for a casual atmosphere and approachable menu offerings – elevated comfort and pub fare with distinctly Inland Northwest and somewhat whimsical twists.
Start with jumbo bacon-wrapped jalapeños stuffed with honey cream cheese before deciding between the curry cauliflower tacos and sweet-and-savory Monte Cristo sandwich with raspberry jam and apple-wood bacon or duck confit carnitas, chimichurri skirt steak or the house burger topped with beer cheddar.
The waitress is helpful, but perhaps not helpful enough. “Everything is good,” she said.
Republic – “We wanted it to sound like a restaurant and public house put together,” Hegsted said – opened in July after a four-month renovation. The Latham brothers did much of the work themselves.
The main dining area is intimate but well-lighted. Plenty of natural light streams in from the double French doors that open onto the front deck. Fixtures are fashioned from old wooden spools. Other elements are reused and recycled, too, adding to the rustic vibe of the place, which retains a homey atmosphere.
There are modern touches, too. Look for contemporary art – a map of the area inside the outline of a bicycle – hanging on the wall in the dining room alongside a vintage bike. Another map is made from an old motorcycle chain, adding an industrial element to the vintage farmhouse feel.
“We wanted to keep the feeling of the house,” Hegsted said. But, “We had to update a lot of stuff to make it work as a restaurant. It needed a walk-in and dishwasher and another bathroom” – among other modifications.
The wood floors were refinished. A bar was built. The top was made from salvaged wood from an 1800s farmhouse.
The bar anchors the main dining area with seating for 10 on stools. Quaffs are beer and wine only – no cocktails. There are nine rotating taps with a focus on local and regional offerings. Same goes for the wine list.
In all, there’s room for 50 inside, and another 30 or 40 people can sit outdoors when the weather’s warm.
“So far,” Hegsted said, “it’s mostly locals.” And that’s what the owners want to see. “We’re trying to make it a neighborhood place.”
The Youngs, champions of Post Falls, would probably be proud.
They married in 1867 in South Normanton, Derbyshire, England, and had 12 children. They moved to America in 1882, settling first in Wyoming then coming to Post Falls in 1896.
He was an inn keeper and farmer who served as chairman of the school board. She was known for her garden. Both were heavily involved with community affairs and the establishment of Post Falls before he died in 1929. She followed in 1933.
Eighty-four years later, Republic became part of Hegsted’s family of local restaurants, which includes Farmhouse Kitchen and Silo Bar. It opened in Ponderay just two days before Republic and specializes in modern comfort food such as fried chicken and barbecue.
Hegsted also owns Eat Good Café in Liberty Lake, and Wandering Table, Yards Bruncheon and Gilded Unicorn in Spokane. Coming soon: a burger joint in downtown Spokane. Hegsted also runs Le Catering, which was one of the caterers for the wedding of “Dancing With the Stars’” star Julianne Hough in Coeur d’Alene in July.
Republic is open seven days a week and has a staff of just over a dozen people. Take a seat wherever you like.
“Start-ups” include smoked chicken wings, loaded “Repub” fries, popcorn cauliflower with blue cheese dressing and roasted avocado nachos on thinly sliced house-made potato chips with house-made beer cheese, goat cheese, charred corn salsa, cilantro chutney and pickled jalapeños.
Handhelds include a house burger with beer-cheese sauce, a pulled pork sandwich, twice-fried chicken sandwich and a grilled avocado sandwich with a fried goat cheese croquette, roasted tomato, sprouts, basil aioli and balsamic reduction.
Look, also, for a trio of salads: Northwest with arugula, blackberries, goat cheese, red onion, toasted walnuts and huckleberry dressing; summer with Bibb lettuce, avocado, oranges, smoked Provolone, toasted almonds and orange-IPA dressing; and kale with baby greens, garlic confit, shaved lemon zest, creamy garlic dressing, pretzel croutons and Reggiano cheese.
Sweets are limited but worth noting. There’s a porter chocolate brownie drizzled with fudge sauce and served with praline ice cream. Or, opt for a huckleberry-blackberry “crispy” that’s served warm and is topped with frozen whipped cream.
And, finally, there’s that classic comforting combination of warm chocolate chip cookies and cold milk – only Hegsted’s version is served with fudge sauce for dipping and a scoop of milk gelato.