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A&E >  Food

Riverfront Park’s Fountain Café opening in time for Bloomsday

Sam Song, the food and beverage director for Spokane Parks and Recreation, helps place a flower planter outside the Fountain Café last week in preparation for opening in Riverfront Park. The new restaurant is opening this week. (Dan Pelle)
Sam Song, the food and beverage director for Spokane Parks and Recreation, helps place a flower planter outside the Fountain Café last week in preparation for opening in Riverfront Park. The new restaurant is opening this week. (Dan Pelle)

Just in time for patio weather and Bloomsday runners, there’s a new place to dine in Riverfront Park.

The Fountain Café opens to the public this week. The new outdoor café is next to the Rotary Fountain and helps the park department fulfill a need for permanent bathrooms near the popular water feature.

Sam Song, who oversees the new restaurant and its sister café in Manito Park, said the same favorites that were available at the park in past years will be served – including hot dogs, sausages, burgers and chicken strips. However, they also worked with a team of chefs from Sysco to expand the offerings.

“We also want to attract the downtown business people to come into the park and know that there is a place in the park that has high-quality food and exceptional services and the best dining environment right along the fountain and the river,” Song said. “They also can be listening to the Carrousel music and people-watching.”

The menu includes a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich topped with Tillamook white cheddar, shrimp tacos, entrée salads (including the popular Greek salad from the Park Bench Café in Manito Park) and wraps ($6-$9.50). Appetizers include flatbreads topped with sun-dried tomato and feta or artichoke and mushroom pesto flatbreads, a hummus platter and parmesan garlic fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings and buffalo chicken wings ($4-$6.95). Espresso, slushies and soft-serve ice cream round out the menu.

The café also will serve beer and wine featuring libations from area breweries including an India pale ale from No-Li Brewhouse and Clem’s Gold from Golden Hills Brewing Co.

Song said chefs Alexa Wilson, Mike Lopez and Teresa Whitney from Sysco were instrumental in menu planning. Wilson was the chef at Wild Sage. Lopez is a former Sodexo chef and Whitney was the opening pastry chef at Clover.

Guests order at the window of the café and can sit at the bistro tables on the adjacent patio. Those who have beer or wine must sit in the designated portion of the patio. There are also benches along the rock walled patio and picnic tables along the river nearby.

Construction of the café started in November. The café logo includes an artistic rendition of the fountain. Bathrooms are on the opposite side of the rock-clad building so the Spokane city parks department will no longer have to park the temporary bathroom trailer near the fountain.

The Fountain Café is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily during the outside dining season. There is a daily happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. (not including special events). Beer and wine are $1 off and appetizers are $2 off during happy hour.

Song said once the café has been open awhile, they plan to add a weekly special to the menu. By next season, they plan to join in the First Friday action with food specials and music. Get updates about the café on Facebook, where menu details are also posted. Reach the café at (509) 625-6656.

Pend d’Oreille Winery moves, MickDuff’s Brewing expands

Pend d’Oreille Winery is getting some new digs this fall, which will help make way for the expansion of brewing at MickDuff’s Brewing Co. in Sandpoint.

Renovations are underway at the historic Belwood building, diagonally across the street from Pend d’Oreille Winery’s current location at Third Avenue and Cedar Street. Once finished, the winery will move the tasting room, gift shop and Bistro Rouge Café into the new space. Wine production will shift to the winery’s warehouse near the Sandpoint airport.

MickDuff’s Brewing will move its seven-barrel brewing system into the former wine production space at Pend d’Oreille Winery this summer. That will allow owners to more than double the production of the 7-year-old brewery; they hope to begin distributing kegs around the region as early as June, owner Duffy Mahoney said in a news release.

The MickDuff Brewing Co. pub will stay at its current location, 312 N. First Ave., in Sandpoint, but moving the brewing system will mean they can add about 15 seats to the pub. They’ll also install a smaller brewing system at the pub so more seasonal beers can be brewed each year.

Pend d’Oreille Winery, which Steve and Julie Meyer opened 11 years, will stay open at its current location through the annual harvest party and grape stomp on Sept. 6-8.

The Belwood was built in 1909 and was the original home to Williams Mercantile and the St. James Hotel and Café before it became a furniture store in 1916.

Watch the Belwood renovations on Facebook at Belwood 301. Reach Pend d’Oreille Winery at (208) 265-8545. Get updates from MickDuff’s Brewing Company page on Facebook as well or reach the brewery at (208) 255-4351.

On Sacred Grounds expands dining

Elaine Rising has added something new to her one-woman show at the espresso shop on the Palouse, 10 miles southeast of Spokane in Valleyford.

Rising, owner of On Sacred Grounds Coffee, Tea & Specialty Shoppe, now has a limited breakfast and lunch menu and she has regular weekly luncheons at her little shop.

“Think of it as one woman, wearing many different hats,” said Rising, who is known for wearing a hat from her eclectic collection each day. During a recent luncheon, she was bustling around the tables in the small café wearing a silver, sequined chapeau. The shop triples as a bookstore and the home of a museum maintained by the Valleyford Historical Club.

On Thursdays, Rising hosts a gathering she calls the Exchange Luncheon. She said some of her regular customers would stop into the espresso shop on Thursdays to pick up the latest edition of the the Exchange, a weekly newspaper filled with area classified advertisements. Some would linger and buy a coffee drink, but she wanted to offer something more. Now, she works up a weekly menu and many gather for a home-style meal at shared tables.

There is seating for 12 inside On Sacred Grounds, which opened in 2006 as a coffee drive-thru and expanded in 2012. Rising works with only a convection oven and doesn’t have a full-service kitchen, but she’s creative with what she can offer. This month, the Exchange Luncheon menu includes sweet potato and black bean chili Thursday, beef eggplant bake on May 9, German sausage medley on May 16, chicken stew May 23 and meatball soup May 30.

Rising tries to support other businesses as much as she can, buying chicken from a local farmer, milk from Spokane’s Family Farm and getting a weekly produce box from Full Circle Farms.

On Tuesdays, Rising makes little pizzas from dough that she buys from Farm House Pizza in nearby Rockford. Her Palouse Brunch on Saturdays features fruit, Belgian waffles, quiche Lorraine with a gluten-free crust and bagels from Jon Zucker’s NY Bagels in Spirit Lake, Idaho.

Rising first opened a coffee shop selling wood-fire roasted beans in 2003. She had a shop in the Steam Plant before moving it to Valleyford. Locals saw her sign on the land for a few months before it opened and they said they were skeptical that it would actually happen. “That was before we knew the force that is Elaine,” said Dorthea Sausele, who was there dining at a recent Exchange Luncheon.

Because the shop is so tiny, Rising said she appreciates it when people call ahead for the luncheon or brunch days. She still serves Wood Fire Roasted Coffee, espresso and many other drinks either inside or in the drive-thru.

On Sacred Grounds is open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reach the shop at (509) 747-6294 or The website is

Blu Berry Frozen Yogurt sold, opens new location

Owners Jim and Jen Heggenstaller have sold two of their Blu Berry Frozen Yogurt store locations in Spokane to Brad and Katie Damon, and opened a new location in the Five Mile area.

Heggenstaller said his family will be moving this summer to the Seattle area to be closer to grandparents and other family members for his 2-year-old daughter. He said they started looking for a buyer for the Blu Berry Frozen Yogurt locations on the South Hill, 3007 E. 57th Ave., Suite 3, and Northtown Square, 4727 N. Division St., Suite 100 E, after they decided to move. The owner of the buildings where the frozen yogurt stores are located, John Stejer, introduced him to Brad Damon and they became fast friends.

“Actually, we’re scary similar. … I felt that Brad would continue to hold the high standards and level of customer service that we set here,” Heggenstaller said.

The Blu Berry Frozen Yogurt stores were designed and built by Heggenstaller, who has a background in construction. They will keep ownership of the third location, which recently opened at 1802 W. Francis Ave. He is also the co-owner of Sound Body Supplements in the same shopping center.

The stores serve YoCream brand yogurt and have 10 different flavors of yogurt at a time. There are more than 50 toppings offered. Customers pay for the yogurt and toppings by weight. Blu Berry is also known for the keep the Keep the Change program. Customers paying with cash can throw their change into a jar at each location, which is donated to a different local nonprofit each month. “We’ve donated more than $10,000 to local nonprofits since we opened,” Heggenstaller said.

Blu Berry Frozen Yogurt locations are all open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Reach the new Blu Berry Frozen Yogurt store on Francis at (509) 487-4410.

The three locations share the same manager and website,

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