Arts & Entertainment

Austin’s Live Fire Barbecue opens in downtown Spokane

Barbecue sauce is made in-house at the new Austin’s Live Fire Barbecue in downtown Spokane. It’s pictured here with two smoked chicken breasts. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)
Smoked pork ribs and braised greens are served at the new Austin’s Live Fire Barbecue in downtown Spokane. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)
The wedge salad at the new Austin’s Live Fire Barbecue in downtown Spokane is dressed with blue cheese and sprinkled with bacon. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)
Chef and owner Mike Jones stokes the fire of his custom-made smoker at his new Austin’s Live Fire Barbecue in downtown Spokane. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)
Spatchcock chicken and pork ribs sit in the custom-made smoker at the new Austin’s Live Fire Barbecue in downtown Spokane. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)

Austin’s Live Fire Barbecue opened quietly in downtown Spokane late last week.

It specializes in wood-fired, slow-cooked, spice-rubbed brisket, pork ribs, pork shoulder, pork belly and chicken.

Construction delays pushed back the opening by two months. Chef and owner Mike Jones had initially been hoping to open the Texas-style barbecue restaurant around the Fourth of July.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Jones, 43, noting he actively began pursuing the project about three years ago.

That’s when he visited Austin, Texas, and became enamored with smoking pits and the entire Texas-style barbecue process. The trip solidified his decision to open a barbecue restaurant in Spokane.

Barbecue is a big departure from his other eatery. Jones is the chef and owner of Mizuna, which started as a vegetarian restaurant and remains vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. Jones has worked there since shortly after Mizuna opened in 1996. He bought it 10 years later.

The menu at Austin’s Live Fire Barbecue is decidedly much more meaty.

The new restaurant serves lunch and dinner. But it isn’t a walk-up counter like so many barbecue joints in the South and Midwest. Expect table service and black cloth napkins.

The dining room is warm and inviting, done in red brick and wood. A pair of skylights and front wall of glass let in plenty of natural light.

Brisket is an early top-seller.

Look, also, for an array of sandwiches. And don’t skip dessert. Jones asked his mom for an old family recipe for pecan pie “that’s better than any pecan pie that I’ve ever had in any restaurant.”