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North Hill on Garland preps for September opening

North Hill on Garland is preparing to open Sept. 7 in a former Masonic Temple that now also houses the Syngery Group, a real estate brokerage. The front of the building is seen Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)
North Hill on Garland is preparing to open Sept. 7 in a former Masonic Temple that now also houses the Syngery Group, a real estate brokerage. The front of the building is seen Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)

North Hill on Garland is slated to open Sept. 7.

The new restaurant and bar is located in a former Masonic temple that also houses the offices of the Syngery Group, a real estate brokerage.

Paul Cassel and Keith Riddle are partners in the firm as well as the new restaurant.

They’re joined by Matt Stanton, who founded El Dorado Cocktail Lounge in San Diego with his brothers Nate and Marshall and friend Ryan Kuntz. Formerly of Spokane, Stanton now lives in San Francisco and will be flying back and forth between California and Spokane to manage North Hill’s bar program, said Darin Talotti, another business partner.

Talotti owns Red Lion BBQ and Pub in Spokane with his father and brother as well as Whisk, a hole-in-the-wall whiskey bar in downtown Spokane. Last year, he helped remodel and reopen the Viking Bar and Grill near the Spokane Arena. He sold his share in that restaurant earlier this year to concentrate on North Hill on Garland.

North Hill on Garland is at 706 W. Garland Ave. Its name is a nod to the building’s history as the old North Hill Lodge No. 210.

Construction on the new restaurant space started about a year ago. The look is modern with rustic and industrial accents. Expect exposed red brick, black and white subway tiles, reclaimed wood and Edison bulbs. The wood that frames the windows and makes up the fence and privacy walls for the patio and upper deck came from the old Looff Carrousel building in downtown Spokane.

Riddle, who bought the building about four and a half years ago, said he’s “super excited” to be opening a restaurant in the Garland District.

Both he and Talotti live in the neighborhood, which each describes as “up and coming.” Talotti, who will serve as the general manager of North Hill on Garland, likened the area to the South Perry neighborhood or Browne’s Addition.

“It’s one of Spokane’s oldest neighborhoods,” he said. “I like the neighborhood vibe, the neighborhood feel. You can park and walk and go from business to business. It’s got everything you need. It’s a great little neighborhood.”

It’s also, he said, is “one of the last neighborhoods that’s missing elevated, sit-down but casual dining.” He’s hoping North Hill on Garland fills that niche.

The food and drinks are still being finalized. But the concept, Talotti said, is “bar-focused, with elevated bar food.” Plans call for 10 taps with an emphasis on local and regional beer. Craft cocktails, overseen by Stanton, will feature freshly pressed juices.

The menu will likely include staples such as mac and cheese, sandwiches and nachos. And, “We’ll add a twist just to liven things up,” Talotti said.

Also on the menu: Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza and something Talotti is calling “Hill Pockets.” They are, he said, “like Hot Pockets.” The plan is to include a few grab-and-go menu items, such as the “Hill Pockets” for customers on the run, those who don’t necessarily want or have time for a sit-down dining experience.

Dustin Neeson is the opening chef. Ideas they’re playing around with include savory cones stuffed with salad or mac and cheese.

“We’re not going to make the menu too big,” Talotti said. “We’ll keep it simple. We want to keep it approachable.”

The plan is to be open daily, with a full menu from 11 a.m. to at least 11 p.m. Weekends, the kitchen will likely stay open to midnight or 1 a.m., Talotti said.

The restaurant will employ 15 to 20 people. It encompasses not quite 1,400 square feet and fits about 50 guests.

Seating is made up of three booths, three two-tops, and a counter at the bar with eight to 10 stools and electrical outlets for nearly every seat. A rustic buddy bar made from a piece of reclaimed wood offers standing room only.

Outside, a covered patio with drop-down heating elements will be outfitted with six four-tops. The upper deck will be open seasonally. The plan is to outfit it with a bar and “lounge-patio-type seating,” Talotti said.

The upper deck is 21 and over only. The patio and restaurant are all ages.

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