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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Heat forces restaurants, markets and bakeries to throw in towel

UPDATED: Tue., June 29, 2021

Chef Chad White loads meat into a smoker at TT’s Old Iron Brewery & BBQ in 2019. Like several restaurant owners, White was forced to shut down the Spokane Valley business until at least Thursday because of record high temperatures across the region.  (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)
Chef Chad White loads meat into a smoker at TT’s Old Iron Brewery & BBQ in 2019. Like several restaurant owners, White was forced to shut down the Spokane Valley business until at least Thursday because of record high temperatures across the region. (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane’s record heat wave has forced several area restaurant owners and farmers markets to temporarily shut down operations for a variety of heat-related issues.

Chef Chad White said he was able to keep his two downtown locations, High Tide Lobster Bar and Zona Blanca ceviche bar open, but he was forced to shut down TT’s Old Iron Brewery & BB at 4110 S. Bowdish Road in Spokane Valley.

“We closed (Tuesday) and Wednesday with hopes the heat will kind of chill out by Thursday,” White said. “But it’s not looking that way.”

TT’s features barbecue that forces employees to work in outdoor temperatures, which on Tuesday broke Spokane’s record high of 108 degrees.

“If you add 20 degrees of residual heat coming off the smokers, that’s an unhealthy situation for our employees,” White said.

Neato Burrito, 827 W. First Ave., put out water bottles for customers as it remained open Tuesday.

But nearby, Nudo Ramen House, 818 W. Sprague Ave., was closed Tuesday with a note in the window indicating it would remain that way until Sunday, the July Fourth holiday.

The Spokane Valley Farmers Market sent an email Tuesday announcing it would not open as planned Friday.

“Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our vendors, customers, staff, and volunteers the Spokane Valley Farmers Market has made a tough decision to cancel our market this Friday,” spokeswoman Katy Lee wrote in the message.

Lee said the holiday weekend already was impacting sales for the market that runs June through September from 4-8 p.m. every Friday. “We have made the preemptive decision to cancel this week’s market,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, the Kendall Yards Night Market announced via social media it canceled its Wednesday market. The Hillyard Farmers Market, Garland Summer Market and Fairwood Farmers Market – scheduled earlier this week – were also canceled because of excessive heat.

Ricky Webster, owner of Rind and Wheat bakery, at 1516 W. Riverside Ave., said he tried to make a go of it, but his building’s air conditioning unit couldn’t keep up with the rising temperatures.

“Being a bakery, we always have high temperatures running due to the ovens,” he said. “When it was about 90 degrees outside on Sunday morning, it was 85 degrees in the shop. That was with the ovens off.”

Webster ordered a new swamp cooler, which arrived Tuesday.

“Hopefully, I can get in there (Wednesday) morning and prep for the weekend,” he said. “I just wanted to keep the staff as safe as possible.”

Another bakery, the Blissful Whisk, 1612 N. Barker Road in Spokane Valley, also announced via Facebook it has closed. However, the staff would be available for orders.

“With this heat making it dangerous for our kitchen staff, we will be closing (Tuesday). We will NOT reopen until Friday,” the statement said in part. “We are sorry to share this news, but we want our staff and all of you to stay safe from these dangerous heat levels.”

Likewise, Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle restaurant at 802 W. Garland Ave, posted on Facebook that it was closed because of a broken air conditioner.

“We can’t get it fixed until Wednesday,” the post read. “We are so sorry for any inconvenience? Our employees and customers are our first priority and it’s just to (sic) hot in the bottle and our ice cream is melting.”

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