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Something’s cooking in Browne’s Addition

A new tavern is slated to open in the space that formerly housed E.J.’s Garden Bistro.

Floyd Loomis, who previously served as chef at Asiago’s Ristorante in Boise, plans to open the new Browne’s Tavern in mid April at the old E.J.’s location, which closed last fall shortly after its one-year anniversary. Built in 1901 as a residence, the building anchors the northeast corner of the intersection of West Pacific Avenue and South Cannon Street in the heart of Browne’s Addition.

Loomis is partnering with Mary Moltke, owner of Roberts Mansion Bed and Breakfast next door. The tavern will provide catering services for the mansion, and its gardens will be available for tavern customers.

The casual eatery will serve eclectic fare with a wide international influence­. Entrées include chicken breast stuffed with house-made sausage, red curry risotto, and duck with blood orange reduction, roasted tomatoes and artichoke hearts.

 Breakfast items include a breakfast burrito with house-made sausage, and pastries and scones, including some from Chaps. Appetizers feature a warm charcuterie plate, Milanese rice balls, chevre-stuffed mushrooms and house-smoked salmon chutney. The menu also offers a variety of salads, desserts, pastas and lunch specials.

The restaurant opening is still several weeks away. Meantime, there are job openings for line cooks, prep cooks, servers, a sous chef, bartender and bar manager. For more information or to apply, email Loomis at stormpeak34@gmail.com.

Multiple guns found in felon, robbery suspect’s home

A police search of a home near a Browne's Addition convenience store robbed multiple times last month revealed multiple guns thought to be owned by the nine-time convicted felon implicated in the thefts.

Justin Werle, 28, remains in custody at Spokane County Jail, facing charges of owning modified weapons illegally. He was previously implicated in at least one attempted robbery at Sunset Grocery, 1908 W. Sunset Blvd. on Dec. 28. But police said the store had been robbed twice previously in the previous four weeks and they thwarted Werle's plot for a third.

Investigators think the same white man - disguised in a hooded sweatshirt, gloves and a bandana - committed the two successful robberies. Police found a .22 revolver, a rifle and an “old rusty revolver” in Werle's residence, just behind the convenience store. Also recovered was a pack of cigarettes matching the brand of a carton stolen from the store earlier and a pair of gloves that appeared similar to those worn by the robber.

Prosecutors have not yet said whether they will pursue additional robbery charges against Werle, who was released from prison in January 2013 after serving time on multiple riot charges. A woman who identified herself as Werle's mother appeared at a court hearing last week, saying her son showed up at the convenience store armed with a sawed-off shotgun to protect a clerk who was concerned about the recent spate of robberies.

EJ’s Garden Bistro announces closure

Barely a week after it celebrated its one-year anniversary, EJ’s Garden Bistro has called it quits.

The Browne’s Addition eatery made the announcement this morning via Twitter, thanking followers for their business.

Staff followed up later in the day with an email to Too Many Cooks, saying the restaurant closed Sunday and “will not reopen.” 

EJ's celebrated its one-year anniversary on Sept. 27.

It anchors the northeast corner of the intersection of West Pacific Avenue and South Cannon Street in the heart of Browne’s Addition. The bistro – with its second-story bar, front porch-seating, fire pit and courtyard with strings of light –  was open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday and lunch and dinner on weekdays. It was closed on Tuesdays.

According to today’s email to Too Many Cooks, “Mary Moltke, owner, would like to thank all of those who have supported EJ’s over the last year. Mary’s daughter, Heidi Moltke, who relocated from (New York) City, will be taking the business in another direction.”

There’s no word yet on what that direction might be or when that might happen. But EJ’s staff promised to keep Too Many Cooks posted.

$500,000 bond for Browne’s Addition shooting suspect

Justin C. Werle appeared in court Wednesday afternoon and was given a $500,000 bond. Photo: Nicole Hensley

A missing work glove led to a shooting between a Browne’s Addition apartment tenant and his building’s handyman.

Spokane Police officers arrested Justin C. Werle Tuesday night after they closed off several blocks in the neighborhood and called a SWAT team to find the alleged shooter at the Pacific Terrace Apartments in the 2200 block of West Pacific.

The victim, identified as Zachary Bergstrom in court documents, told authorities a feud began earlier on Tuesday when Werle confronted him about a missing work glove, he told authorities. A shoving match started later that day between the two and Werle pulled out a gun and shot Bergstrom in the neck in the building’s alleyway.

Bergstrom clutched his neck and ran to the manager’s office where 911 was notified of the shooting, court documents show. He was alert and talking when medics took him to the hospital.

A K-9 unit dog tracked an unsuccessful lead to another apartment, officers said, but detectives called Werle’s mother, Donna Werle, and learned he wasn’t there.

She told detectives Werle called her and said he did not want to be taken alive and would shoot himself, but she convinced him to wait for police at her home. Officers found Werle walking near 13th Avenue and Coeur d’Alene Street.

Arson targets Browne’s Addition garbage can

A garbage can in Browne’s Addition was the target of about four fires starting on Saturday morning.

Ray Ekins lives nearby and was walking his dog Duchess around 7 a.m. when he saw the first set of flames inside the barrel at Second Avenue and Chestnut Street. The same garbage can was on fire again about an hour later, he said.

“Poor garbage can,” Ekins said. He ended up calling 911 to report three of the fires.

Fire crews from Station 4 kept responding to the reported garbage fires and a Spokane Police officer parked nearby to keep an eye on the can, Spokane Police Sgt. Dan Ervin said.

The officer saw a man, later identified as Philip B. Lewis, 47, walk up to the can and allegedly light it on fire around 4 p.m, Ervin added.

Officers took Lewis into custody for two counts of second-degree arson and the fire was extinguished.

Select Registry adds the Roberts Mansion to its list of preferred B&Bs


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Select Registry,  an online directory of bed and breakfasts, selected  four Washington loctions to its list of preferred inns.

Among them is the Roberts Mansion in Spokane.

The other three in Washington are Carson Ridge Private Luxury Cabins, Carson, Wash; Turtleback Farm Inn and Orchard House, Eastsound; and Cameo Heights Mansion, Touchet.

“We’re delighted to welcome these outstanding properties,” said Will Carlson, executive director of Select Registry. “Of the 20,000 inns in North America, only 330 have earned this prestigious designation.”

In a release, Carlson said: “Our goal is to give guests the assurance of knowing that when they check into a Select Registry inn, they’re in for an exceptional travel experience.”

The Roberts Mansion is housed in a restored Victorian mansion at 1923 W. First in historic Browne's Addtion.

It has five suites with high ceilings, bay windows and turn-of-the-century décor.  It has a 1,000-square-foot meeting/event room and can accommodate 49 guests indoors and 130 on the lawn, gardens and  gazebo.

Photo shows Browne’s Addition gunman

Spokane police today released a surveillance photo of a robbery last week at a Browne's Addition convenience store in hopes someone will recognize the gunman.

The robbery was reported about 11:49 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Sunset Grocery, 1908 W. Sunset Blvd.

The gunman is described as 20 to 22 years old, 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-7 and 150 to 160 pounds. He wore a black knit ski mask, dark hooded sweatshirt, black coat, dark loose pants and black and white athletic shoes. The gun is described as a black semi-automatic pistol.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.