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Sunday, October 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Wine & Taps opens at Latah Bistro

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 12, 2018, 11:18 a.m.

Wine & Taps at Latah Bistro has opened in the space adjacent to the popular restaurant near the Eagle Ridge community.

The pub and eatery is distinctly more casual than Latah Bistro, known for fine neighborhood dining and a substantial wine list with more than 130 bottles. It’s a popular date-night spot and local tradition for birthdays and anniversaries. Reservations are highly recommended.

“Latah is fine dining,” said owner Susan Readel. “We have a very extensive wine list for a restaurant our size. And we’re going to keep that. This (new spot) is going to be comfort and reinvented bar food, a place where you can watch a Gonzaga game and a grab a pint. This is more every day. We want to be Eagle Ridge’s home away from home. We’re excited to grow and offer something different.”

Reservations aren’t required at Wine & Taps, which features five rotating taps, plus Stella Artois on draft. The 21-foot bar top is made from knotty hickory and was designed by Reynolds Woodcraft in Deer Park. The back bar features dark teal tiles in a herringbone pattern, which – Suasan Readel said – “just looked really pretty next to the wood.”

She and her husband, Mike Readel, bought the restaurant and its companion latte stand, Latah Latte, in April. They are the second owners of those businesses, started in 2004 and 2005 respectively. And they were regulars at the restaurant before they bought it.

Mike Readel, a dentist, isn’t quitting his day job. Susan Readel is involved in the restaurant’s day-to-day operations. She’s been learning the ropes and also overseeing renovations in the adjacent space, a former real estate office, since spring.

“We’re just so different from next door,” she said, adding, “My passion is food and cooking, and the highlight for me has been helping prep and working in the kitchen with my chef and culinary team. They’ve been taking me under their wing and teaching me everything. And I love to be physically involved in the whole process of everything.”

Chef Sean Payne is in his eighth year at Latah Bistro. Dan Love, the sommelier, has worked there 10 years. There’s a staff of about 15 in all, and Susan Readel said she was planning to hire about six more staffers for Wine & Taps, which opened Thursday.

The spot is cozy, stretching only 860 square feet. (The restaurant is almost twice that size.) The feel is contemporary and casual with elegant yet rustic touches. The design work was done by Tammy Bishop Interiors.

The floor is polished concrete. Table tops are knotty hickory and done by Dare Designs. Black-and-white vintage Western-themed images printed on metal adorn the walls. There are two TVs in the bar. Huppin’s set up the sound system.

Susan Readel particularly likes the look of the high-backed bar stools, which remind her of “the look of an old Chevy.” There are seats for 11 at the bar and room for 20 at the buddy bar in the middle of the space. A brushed velvet banquette seats for 10.

“I’ve always loved brushed velvet,” said Susan Readel.

In high school at Lewis and Clark in Spokane, she worked at the Spaghetti Factory. “I was a hostess and I brushed the velvet. That was my first job in the restaurant world.”

The menu at her newest endeavor features a bunch of shareables, such as four wild Gulf prawns with citrus-vodka sauce for $15, Wasabi almonds for $5 and a pint of bacon with whiskey-maple syrup dip for $13.

Look, also, for skewered pretzel bites with a side of stone-ground mustard-cheddar cheese sauce for $8, lasagna cupcakes for $7 each, bison chili for $13 a bowl, an Old English beer-braised brat with Walla Walla sweets for $8, Cajun-spiced Mississippi sliders for $13 and a charcuterie board with wild boar salami, drunken goat cheese, fig jam and more for $22.

Guests can also build their own steak wraps with blackened hanger steak, adobe-lime yogurt sauce, radishes, cilantro, crushed corn nuts, lime wedges and romaine lettuce for $18. The entree serves two.

The Crack Salad is a Caesar topped with chicken marinated in chili-lime dressing for $16. A traditional Caesar salad is $10. Get it with shrimp or steak for $15.

The Sweet Ending includes six gluten-free Mayan chocolate-ancho chile muffins dusted with powdered sugar for $10.

The plan is to serve breakfast on weekends. Payne’s “mother’s from the South,” Susan Readel said, “and he makes a real killer biscuits and sausage gravy.”

Hours are slated for 3 to about 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to about 10 or 11 p.m.

Latah Bistro is at 4241 Cheney-Spokane Road. Call (509) 838-8338. On the web:

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