Rüt, which recently opened in the building formerly occupied by Picabu Bistro, is fulfilling a growing demand for vegan food on the South Hill.
Chefs Justin Oliveri and Josh Lorenzen opened the plant-based restaurant and bar April 8 at 901 W. 14th Ave.
The response from patrons has exceeded expectations, Lorenzen said, adding the restaurant sold out of most menu items on opening day.
“Things have been going really well,” Lorenzen said. “There’s a lot of people that live around here and there’s not a whole lot of (restaurant) options, so they are really excited that we are open.”
Lorenzen previously worked at Mizuna in downtown Spokane. Most recently, he was sous chef at Bijou Cafe in Portland. Oliveri is co-owner of Cascadia Public House in north Spokane, which is known for its regionally sourced ingredients.
The concept for Rüt’s vegan menu was inspired by seasonal foods of the Northwest and a “commitment to environmental and individual well-being.”
The menu features what Lorenzen describes as “healthy, comfort food,” such as truffle mac and cheese with grilled broccolini, coconut bacon bits, bread crumbs and chili flakes; a fried “not-chicken” sandwich with rainbow slaw, coconut buffalo sauce and ranch-mayo on an Alpine Bakery bun; tacos al pastor with king-oyster mushrooms, pineapple radish salsa, guajillo chiles and microgreens served on corn tortillas as well as the Rüt burger consisting of a Beyond Burger patty, vegan American cheese and roasted garlic aioli topped with charred tomato jam.
Rüt’s menu also offers small bites such as a white bean queso dip, sweet potato fries, buffalo cauliflower wings and avocado salad rolls.
The restaurant serves up craft beers as well as classic and signature cocktails created by mixologists Diana Wissinger and Seth Tyler, which include the Hanami, a hojicha infused sake with elderflower, tart cherry and chia seeds; and a Golden Rüt made with rum, coconut milk, turmeric and spices.
Lorenzen said a brunch and kids menu are in the works.
The restaurant’s interior showcases paintings from local artist Hazel Miller.
Lorenzen and Olivieri looked at potential restaurant sites in downtown Spokane and Browne’s Addition before their Realtor showed them the former Picabu Bistro site, which had already garnered interest from more than 18 people.
“It was a matter of happenstance,” Lorenzen said. “We realized it would be a good place for our restaurant.”
Although Rüt’s menu is primarily plant-based, meals are heavy and could appeal to non-vegans, Lorenzen said.
“We want people to feel like vegan food is still good, comforting and fulfilling,” he said. “It’s not as different as people imagine. We’re making a lot of food that people are comfortable with. We would love for people to come check out what we have going on and give plant-based food a chance.”
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