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A&E >  Food

Coeur d’Alene’s Wine Cellar move complete; new Capone’s to be built in Hayden; Bistro on Spruce updates menu

The Wine Cellar is taking it to the street level and beyond.

After 20 years in its cozy, subterranean home, the restaurant has reopened next door at 317 E. Sherman Ave., where it stretches from the basement onto two additional floors, expanding the fun for oenophiles and music lovers. Connoisseurs of classic cocktails can enjoy drinks at one of two bars inside because the Wine Cellar now has a liquor license.

“I think the community is really going to be surprised by what we’ve done with the building and how we’ve looked after the adults,” said Patricia Power, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Tom. “There are lots of places in downtown Coeur d’Alene for the younger crowd but this is all about us and what we’d like to do when we get away.”

The Powers purchased the Wine Cellar from original owner Jim Duncan two years ago, after a dozen years as devoted patrons. They waited a year to be sure there was enough local support for a bigger Wine Cellar before they settled on plans for the move and expansion. The Powers also own Sunshine Minting, a precious metals business, and Power Audio Video in Coeur d’Alene.

They hired Spokane’s HDG Design Group – after admiring their work at Fire Artisan Pizza down the street – asking designers Josh Hissong and Armando Hurtado to sit in the beloved restaurant for six nights so they could help move the vibe next door.

“We ripped everything out,” Power said. “We went straight down to the bare walls. There are no remnants, no hints – there is not one piece of anything in here that would remind anyone of a furniture store, Brix or Icon, which were the last three tenants.”

The Vinotek lounge on the lower level features a stand-up bar and seating for 24. The new Enomatic wine tasting system is sure to draw wine lovers downstairs.

The Italian-designed wine-dispensing machines hold 16 red and 8 white wine bottles at a time. Customers can purchase a card for the machine – a wine tasting gift card if you will – and use it to buy wine tastings from the Enomatic.

Guests can choose to buy a small taste, a 2-ounce pour or a 6-ounce glass of wine from the machine. “It is very interactive and it is a lot of fun. One of our wine club members said, ‘It’s like a candy store for adults,’ “ Power said.

They came across the system at a restaurant in Las Vegas, where they were dining with restaurant manager and wine consultant Naomi Boutz. They all fell in love with it and had it shipped from Italy for the new location.

There is room for 103 diners on the main floor (that was the entire capacity of the old Wine Cellar), which is also where musicians set up for the nightly entertainment. The mezzanine has a private dining area for up to 30 people, which overlooks the restaurant and out onto the street.

The Wine Cellar traded in a tiny 300-square-foot kitchen – with 8 electric burners – for a full, state-of-the art facility with more than double the space and a pizza oven.

The Powers hired chef de cuisine Brett Petticolas, who worked with them to preserve the longtime favorites while adding new entrees to the menu. Power said that although they are making the same dishes they did next door with the same recipes, some of them will taste different to customers because of new cooking techniques. “We now have a grilled flank steak versus a pan-seared flank steak. The flavor is just so much more intense and it has that delicious charred flavor. It is just beautiful.”

The bouillabaisse and baked brie were other longtime favorites that made the move. Seven of the 25 dishes on the menu are holdovers. Prices have increased a bit on many of the menu items, Power said.

Boutz, who has worked for the Wine Cellar for seven years, oversees the restaurant and wine selections. Kevin Eskelin, former owner of Parkside Bistro in Coeur d’Alene City Park, runs the bars. Classic cocktails made from scratch are the focus of libations. There is live jazz and blues every night and they’ll continue the seafood and soul event on Sundays, featuring Max Daniels of Nu Jack City.

Power said they hope to add lunchtime dining a year from now.

The Wine Cellar is open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Wednesday; 4 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday; and 4 to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Reach the restaurant at (208) 664-9463. Menus and other information can be found at www.thewine

New Capone’s planned for Hayden

Capone’s Pub & Grill is adding a location in Hayden.

Plans to remodel the former Cory’s Furniture location at Hayden Avenue and Government Way are awaiting city approval, said owner Tom Capone. Construction should be under way in September with plans to open the new Hayden pub by the first of 2013.

Tom and Teresa Capone started Capone’s Pub & Grill more than two decades ago when they took over a gas station turned dive bar in Coeur d’Alene. A second location in Post Falls opened in 2006, but it was later destroyed by an arson fire. That pub reopened in Post Falls in 2008.

Capone’s Pub & Grill prides itself on homemade pizza, serious sandwiches, from-scratch pub grub and beer taps galore; it was featured on the Food Network’s show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in 2010, with celebrity chef Guy Fieri.

The new location will have the same menu and feel of the two other Capone’s pubs. “We are working on adding some more pasta dishes. We’ll have some extra room in there because we can design the kitchen from scratch,” Capone said.

He laughed when asked if there were more restaurant locations in the future plan. “One at a time. … I can’t get ahead of myself. I’m getting old.”

Until the new restaurant is open, dine at Capone’s in Post Falls, 315 N. Ross Point Road, or in Coeur d’Alene at 751 N. Fourth Ave.

Bistro on Spruce readies fall menu

Shorter summer days are arriving and Bistro on Spruce in Coeur d’Alene is readying the menu for the dwindling daylight.

Owner Chris Mueller and chef Nick Kepford recently launched new menus for dinner, lunch, tapas and breakfast, featuring local ingredients and fall flavors. Kepford has been with Bistro on Spruce for just over a year. Before that, he worked in kitchens across the country, but honed his craft at Red Bird in Missoula, a farm-to-table restaurant that focuses on locally grown meats and produce. “It was a great learning experience and has really influenced my cooking style to focus on fresh, wholesome ingredients,” Kepford said. “I want people to try new things without taking them too far out of their comfort zone – be it greens, lentils, grits or succotash. Fresh ingredients make all the difference.”

That succotash – corn, roasted red pepper and lima beans – is tucked under the wild sockeye salmon on the new menu. Thai and Japanese influences are there, too, in the Japanese togarashi spice-crusted ahi, paired with wasabi avocado puree and ponzu-marinated vegetables. There are fresh housemade pastas entrees daily.

New lunch offerings include portobello flatbread with walnut arugula pesto and tacos with slow roasted, citrus-braised pork, goat cheese, salsa fresco and wasabi-avocado mousse.

Weekend breakfast is highlighted by the Bitterroot, a baked potato stuffed with sausage and white cheddar cheese and topped with two eggs, salsa and bacon-chive sour cream. Or, try the veggie caprese with poached eggs and housemade hollandaise served over fried mozzarella, grilled tomatoes, basil and balsamic reduction. The Holy Monte Bistro is French bread with an egg in the hole, honey ham, turkey and peppered mascarpone cheese. It is dipped in egg and seared then served with blackberry dipping sauce.

The bistro menu includes many vegetarian and gluten-free choices.

Bistro on Spruce, 1710 N. Fourth St., opened in 2007. It is open Monday through Saturday for lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., afternoon wine bar and tapas is served from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and dinner 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Weekend breakfast and lunch is served from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Reach the restaurant at (208) 664-1774.

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