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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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With 60-degree weather possible Friday, restaurants look ahead to patio season

UPDATED: Tue., March 2, 2021

Local bar the Rock Bar and Lounge, with a sprawling heated tent, has become a go-to spot for drinks in Spokane Valley.  (Kris Kilduff/For The Spokesman-Review)
Local bar the Rock Bar and Lounge, with a sprawling heated tent, has become a go-to spot for drinks in Spokane Valley. (Kris Kilduff/For The Spokesman-Review)

With a chance of temperatures as high as 60 degrees this week, Spokane is getting a taste of spring and restaurants are ready for the much-need patio business.

Expect high temperatures in the mid-50s to rise about 2 degrees every day leading up to Friday, said meteorologist Mark Turner at the National Weather Service in Spokane.

Friday, there’s a 20% chance of the high reaching 60, which would make it the first day to hit 60 degrees since Nov. 4, Turner said. That high would also approach Spokane’s record for March 5, clocking in at 61 degrees.

Adam Hegsted owns several restaurants in Spokane and North Idaho, including The Yards Bruncheon and Baba, which opened Saturday in the location Hegsted’s former restaurant Wandering Table occupied.

Yards and Wandering Table both employed tents for warmer outdoor eating, but Hegsted said they made for a less-than-ideal experience and both restaurants’ tents were destroyed during a windstorm after only a month or two.

At Republic Kitchen and Taphouse in Post Falls, Hegsted’s employees erected a tent only to learn the city code made it illegal, as it wasn’t a permanent structure, Hegsted said.

“For actual outdoor patio seating, we’re pretty excited about that,” Hegsted said. “I think it’s just a fun experience to eat outside in the springtime and have fresh air.”

It’s going to be good for business, as it opens up more seating options. As Yards runs at only 25% capacity, Hegsted said the wait has been up to three hours. With patio seating, they’ll be able to safely double their capacity.

“We have a big struggle to come back from and we’re trying to do that sooner than later,” Hegsted said. “Traditionally this is not a fantastic month for us, so being able to open the patio sooner will be great.”

As of Tuesday, winds were mostly coming in from the northeast, but Friday Turner expects southerly winds to bring higher temperatures. Stronger gusts Friday would increase the chance of reaching 60 degrees, he said. At night, Spokane can expect temperatures in the mid-30s, but daylight hours could still make for comfortable outdoor eating.

Swinging around from single-digit temperatures Feb. 12 to spring weather in a matter of a few weeks is not particularly unusual for the area, Turner said, as arctic intrusions are to be expected.

After Friday, temperatures will cool again to normal, with predicted highs around 45 degrees Sunday and Monday, Turner said. From there, wintry weather may return, he said.

“Don’t be surprised if we’re seeing snow showers by Monday or Tuesday next week,” Turner said.

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