Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Food
A&E >  Food

‘It’s basically bread with yummy, hot filling inside’: Tasty Bun to open second location in Spokane County Courthouse

Owner Jeff Skaife, left, and employee Samantha Lengerich stand in front of the first Tasty Bun location at 829 E. Boone Ave., near Gonzaga, where Skaife serves savory steamed buns (similar to Chinese “hum bao”). Rather than just char siu pork, he adds fillings like curry and Swedish meatballs. Tasty Bun will soon open a second location in the Spokane County Courthouse.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
Owner Jeff Skaife, left, and employee Samantha Lengerich stand in front of the first Tasty Bun location at 829 E. Boone Ave., near Gonzaga, where Skaife serves savory steamed buns (similar to Chinese “hum bao”). Rather than just char siu pork, he adds fillings like curry and Swedish meatballs. Tasty Bun will soon open a second location in the Spokane County Courthouse. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane County Courthouse is about to get tasty.

Tasty Bun, a locally owned eatery, will become the courthouse’s new food vendor.

The county courthouse has had food vendors before. The High Nooner, a Spokane sandwich shop, had a location in the courthouse annex for years.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The High Nooner left and never came back, to the disappointment of many county employees.

“My wife will tell you that it was a good thing for my pocketbook and my waistline,” Spokane County spokesman Jared Webley said. “It was just so convenient.”

Spokane County has been trying for months to bring some sort of food option back to the courthouse, but it hasn’t been easy.

The county officially began the search in December, even lowering the rent price for the former High Nooner space. Not a single restaurant or vendor was interested.

Industrywide staffing shortages and the price of rent were to blame, Spokane County Purchasing Manager Tony Hall told the county commissioners on Aug. 8. So the county lowered the cost of rent some more and tried again in spring.

One company submitted a bid: Tasty Bun.

Jeff Skaife founded Tasty Bun 3½ years ago after spending the last three decades as a contractor and carpenter. He said he started the restaurant, located on Boone Avenue near Gonzaga University, in part because he wanted to get out of construction.

“I’ve always loved to cook,” Skaife said. “I always thought a bun would be delicious, but there was never any one around here that was any good.”

The “bun” in Tasty Bun is a Skaife invention, although it borrows ideas from other cuisines. To the uninitiated, the steamed buns look like fist-sized dumplings.

“It’s basically bread with yummy, hot filling inside,” Skaife said.

The fillings come in five flavors. There’s a curry bun. Gonzaga students love the breakfast bun, Skaife said. The Swedish meatball bun uses a recipe that’s been in Skaife’s family for years.

Tasty Bun isn’t just about buns. Soups and salads are on the menu, too, including some based on recipes Skaife created as a teenager.

Skaife said he hopes having a second location will help his business weather the slow months when Gonzaga students aren’t on campus. About 60% of the restaurant’s clientele are college students, Skaife said, and the establishment transitions to “survival mode” in summer.

Tasty Bun will pay $450 a month to operate out of the courthouse annex, much less than the $2,400 the High Nooner paid before the pandemic.

“We’re not looking to make a profit off this,” Webley said, noting that Tasty Bun will be a grab-and-go option and will only use a quarter of the space the High Nooner used. “It’ll be a very nice amenity for county employees, the public and jurors.”

The new Tasty Bun location should open next month.

Skaife said he thinks people will like the buns.

“It’s not that far out there,” he said. “It’s delicious bread that’s full of delicious stuff.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.