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A&E >  Food

The Dish: From Central Food to Umi Sushi 2.0? Also: South Hill speakeasy, New York-style pizza downtown, Spokane Valley taphouse

UPDATED: Mon., July 19, 2021

By Kris Kilduff For The Spokesman-Review

Shhh … it’s a secret. The Dish is Spokane’s new whisperings about the happenings in the Inland Northwest’s food and beverage scene. Ever wanted to casually overhear a business owner’s plan for a new restaurant? Salvage secret menu items directly from the chefs? Now those secrets spilt over a beer are front page news for you to read!

Kendall Yards expansion

Scott Hoefer, co-owner of Umi Kitchen and Sushi Bar, is reportedly pulling the trigger on a secret second project in Kendall Yards. Radiologist by day, restaurateur by night, Hoefer’s company HLH Food Ventures apparently has filed for a liquor license for the nearby Central Food.

Owner and chef David Blaine closed Central Food in December, saying he was “ready to do new things.” I haven’t received word on what will be served, but if Umi is any hint of what’s to come, I’m certain that it will be fantastic.

A South Hill speakeasy

I recently caught up with one of my restaurateur friends who is in the preliminary stages of opening a new South Hill bar and eatery. He confided to me that he just finished plans to add a secret back entrance that will host a speakeasy-style bar in their new building.

Upscale decor, cocktails and secret menu items are on the docket, and he wants the speakeasy to remain nameless. But what good is a speakeasy if everyone knows where it is located?

A Main attraction

A popular Spokane pizzeria is making some behind-the-scenes moves to open a second unrelated location in the old Spokane Party Trolley Garage on Main Avenue. They will be starting construction soon for an entirely new buildout and storefront for a late-night New York-style pizza by the slice dive bar.

Plans include a walkup window to serve downtown foot traffic. If you frequent downtown nightlife, one of the biggest needs in our city is more late-night eats. It looks like someone finally wants a piece of that pie.

A natural evolution

Reece and Jackie Carlson love two things: beer and geek culture. In 2018, they purchased English Settler, a small, tucked-away North Sullivan brewery. In 2020, they rebranded it Natural 20 Brewing to match their geek and gamer styling.

Now in 2021, they are taking early steps to open a separate taphouse in a high-traffic intersection in Spokane Valley. With an already steadfast following and great pop culture-themed beers like Flying Bison IPA and the imperial red Grabthar’s Hammer, the Carlsons don’t have to think twice to roll the dice on their new location.

Kris Kilduff can be reached at

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