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A&E >  Food

Roast House owner plans high-end coffee shop in downtown

Deborah Di Bernardo holds a handful of coffee beans recently roasted by Dave Rier, left, at Roast House Coffee in this file photo from 2010. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Deborah Di Bernardo holds a handful of coffee beans recently roasted by Dave Rier, left, at Roast House Coffee in this file photo from 2010. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Roast House owner Deborah Di Bernardo is planning to open a high-end coffee shop in downtown Spokane. First Ave. Coffee is slated to open by April 1 in the Music City Building at 1011 W. First Ave. Construction has already started. A sneak peek is planned during Spokane’s First Night activities New Year’s Eve. An exact time for the preview hasn’t yet been set. But the event will give customers and community members a chance to have coffee and learn more about the space, Di Bernardo said. “It’s to show and tell, and let people know what we’re doing,” she said. Di Bernardo is still working with designers so artist renderings aren’t yet available. But floors will be outlined during the open house to help people better picture the layout. The new coffee shop will likely be done in black, white and chrome with “heavy old wood accents,” Di Bernardo said. It will also exclusively serve Roast House coffee. The focal point of the space — which encompasses about 3,000 square feet in all — will be a 40-foot coffee bar, outfitted with high-tech ModBar brewing systems and situated against the east wall. The front corner will feature five ModBar pour-over stations, where coffee enthusiasts can buy cups of coffee ranging from about $4 to up to about $20 —for prestigious Cup of Excellence award-winning coffees, some of which sell for more than $100 per pound. “I’m hoping this will be high-end and welcoming and fun — the same environment we have here (at Roast House),” Di Bernardo said. “It’s all about high-end coffee without the attitude. It’s about being obnoxious about the quality but not intimidating.” The back corner will house what Di Bernardo is calling the “slow bar,” anchored by a La Marzocco espresso machine. There, customers can enjoy coffee “cocktails,” or alcohol-free coffee drinks featuring espresso with infusions made from organic spices, maple syrups and other ingredients. The mid portion of the counter will feature four ModBar espresso stations. Three islands to support each station along the coffee counter will be located behind the bar, including four coffee grinders and two kegs with Roast House’s F-Bomb cold brew on nitro as well as without bubbles. Room for freezer drawer is also planned, so the shop can sell affogatos, or ice cream drowned in a shot of hot espresso. In the back of the shop, beyond the coffee bar, there’s a spot for a coffee roaster “for showcasing and teaching,” Di Bernardo said — not production. And on the west wall, opposite the coffee accoutrements, is a spot for an ice cream kiosk. The plan is to partner with The Scoop on Spokane’s South Hill to offer locally made ice cream, waffle cones and — one of The Scoop’s specialties — Liege waffles, Di Bernardo said. A large communal table made from an old piece of walnut is also planned for the space. “It’s going to be gorgeous,” Di Bernardo said, noting staff members — there will be about a dozen — will don dress shirts and aprons. The overall look will be “very European,” she said. Seating is planned for the mezzanine level. The ceiling will feature exposed wood beams. The building was built in 1912 and is owned by developer Jerry Dicker, who also owns the historic Montvale Hotel next door to the east and Montvale Event Center next door to the west. Roast House, which won a Good Food Award in 2014, specializes in shade-grown, sustainable, fair-trade, certified organic coffee. Roast House is at 423 E. Cleveland Ave. Call (509) 995-6500.
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