A downtown Spokane eatery and lounge that is popular among theater crowds has changed hands.
Restaurateur and executive chef Michael Wiley purchased Scratch restaurant and Rain Lounge, at 1007 W. First Ave., from former owners Mari and Brad Bork.
The establishments have been undergoing updates to kitchen equipment, lighting and a bar area in preparation for a soft reopening slated for next week, Wiley said.
“Scratch was already a incredible restaurant,” Wiley said. “We are just going to try and honor what was already incredible, but with different people behind the wheel.”
Wiley, who also owns Prohibition Gastropub and Wiley’s Downtown Bistro, wasn’t planning to buy a third restaurant. But he changed his mind after speaking with the Borks, who were looking to relocate closer to family in Montana.
The couple had initially received an offer on the restaurant earlier this year, but the deal fell through due to challenges related to lease negotiations with the building’s landlord.
The couple decided their only option would be to sell the restaurant’s equipment, Mari Bork said.
“Enter Mike, who responded to my plea to come look around and shop,” Mari Bork said. “He came in to look at the fryer and as he was looking around, I told him about the lease situation. He was sure that he could work around it. He was determined to help, and he did.”
Scratch and Rain Lounge will retain their names, although he could seek a rebrand in the future, Wiley said.
Patrons can expect elevated Northwest cuisine on Scratch’s menu. Wiley plans to add new menu items and put his twist on old favorites, he said.
“We’re Scratch with a new chef and new owner,” Wiley said. “We are trying to create amazing food and cocktails in an environment with amazing service and that will remain the same.”
Scratch will reopen for dinner service and private parties. It may add lunch service in the coming months, Wiley said.
Wiley said he’s looking forward to creating a positive space for people socialize over a meal and cocktails.
“I’d like to extend appreciation for people who built this space and the amount of work Connie (Naccarato) put into the restaurant. And Mari has been with the restaurant since 2007,” Wiley said.
“We appreciate all of the hard work and energy that went into creating this space and hope to be of service to Spokane.”
The late Connie Naccarato, who used to own Mamma Mia’s in north Spokane with her parents, opened Scratch in 2007, followed by Rain in 2008.
Mari Bork, who had worked as a bartender and server at Rain Lounge since 2007, purchased the restaurant with husband, Brad, in 2019.
Brad Bork said he’ll miss the sound of silverware clinking, voices and laughter at Scratch and Rain Lounge.
Mari Bork said she’ll miss the anticipation of opening the doors on a busy night, knowing that she had done everything in her power to make sure patrons would have a positive experience at the establishment.
“That felt magical,” she said. “We will both miss our guests, the people who came to share the night, some we had never met and some we saw daily.”
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