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Mixing it up: Jordan Obermeyer juggles cooking at Remedy, opening Emrys Fermentations and booking music via Monumental Shows

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 16, 2022

Jordan Obermeyer is the chef behind the new Emrys Fermentations opening in Greenstone in Liberty Lake in late spring or summer; he’s the chef at Remedy on the South Hill; before Remedy, he led the kitchen at Durkin’s Liquor Bar downtown; and he’s been involved in the local music scene since 2009 through booking company Monumental Shows with Ryan Levey.

Obermeyer, 32, who hails from Sunnyside near Yakima, sat down for an early brunch Feb. 6 at Remedy, my first time at the restaurant for brunch (and I loved it), and answered questions about his busy life and numerous activities.

Jordan, you’re known in Spokane in the culinary and music worlds. What have you been up to since you left Durkin’s?

I left Durkin’s when Emrys Fermentations was on the verge of opening. When there were setbacks with construction and the timeline for Emrys, I worked at Spiceology, and I picked up a part-time job here at Remedy because I missed the kitchen life. I left Spiceology about three or four weeks ago.

Emrys is going to be a meadery restaurant and craft brewery out in Liberty Lake in the new Greenstone development that we’re hoping to open this late spring or in the summertime. Emrys will be focused on European ales and Old World European peasant food with modern techniques.

We’ve been hosting pop-ups and pairing dinners to keep the momentum going with Emrys. We did a pop-up at Peace Pie and then a pop-up at Cochinito Taqueria a year ago. And we had the beer pairing dinner here at Remedy last Sunday (Jan. 30).

Was the beer pairing dinner a good indication of what the menu will be like at Emrys Fermentations?

The menu at Emrys will be more simplified and takes some cues I learned at Cochinito Taqueria. When I first moved back to Spokane from Tacoma in March 2018, I knew that I wanted to make a name for myself through food and also give back to the community. Along with the restaurants, I want to open an all-ages music venue. That’s my ultimate end goal.

Through working with Travis Dickinson at Cochinito, I’ve learned the business model of a finer-dining, chef-driven and fast-casual approach. The pairing dinners are a reflection of what we’ve done with Travis, Cochinito and others, and I’m hoping these one-a-month dinners are a showcase for our fine-dining backgrounds.

When did you want to originally open Emrys Fermentations?

It was supposed to be this past August, but everything with construction costs and shipping things in kept pushing it back and back. We’re still dealing with issues today, but we’re still keeping at it and keeping the hype up, and we’ll keep doing these fun events.

What is behind the name Emrys Fermentations?

Emrys is the wizard Merlin’s birth name, and it means “the immortal one.” As far as the name of the restaurant is concerned, it was all meader Thomas Croskey’s idea three years ago when he started thinking about Emrys and left Bellwether Brewing. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how he came up with the name (laughs).

When Thomas and I met, we immediately hit it off. He and I have a lot of the same philosophies about work culture and what cooking, food, drinking and hospitality are all about and how we want to change it and make it better for our local community.

Why a meadery? I’m not sure I’ve ever had mead until the beer pairing dinner last Sunday.

Thomas is really big on regenerative agriculture and Indigenous local ingredients. He partners with a lot of bee farms and used to work at the meadery in Green Bluff. He has always been into brewing and creating wines and anything he can get his hands on. His belief in sustainability led to the philosophy of his work and is driving everything that he’s working on now.

With Emrys’ food and drinks, we don’t want to make the same thing that you get everywhere. Foodwise, it’s going to be a lot of peasant foods, so food that is local and sustainable and using the proper techniques so that it enhances your palate.

Stylistically, think food like cassoulet, rarebits and my Eastern European family’s recipes for runzas, a hand pie from Germany, Poland and Romania. Also, my grandpa’s Romanian goulash and other rotating specials of European foods I like and want to put on the menu. It’s European food from the Old World with a more modern adaptation.

Why Greenstone in Liberty Lake?

We feel like it’s an untapped market, and there is a lot going on over there. The location and business proposition make sense, and we see a lot of growth and development working with Greenstone. There isn’t a lot in Liberty Lake, and it’s a halfway point between Spokane and Spokane Valley and Coeur d’Alene. We’re excited to bring something new to the table.

Please tell me about the menu changes you have planned here at Remedy.

We’re streamlining and simplifying the menu and creating adaptations of diner classics. We’re going to have paella on the menu and a Catalan brick oven chicken with Spanish rice pilaf and braised kale that comes from Catalonia with white grapes and pine nuts. We’ll have monthly fresh sheets and Spanish-influenced diner classics, and we hope to drop all of this on Feb. 21.

This is a great group and staff, and Remedy has a great atmosphere. I started here part-time back in October.

What are you working on right now music-wise and with your music booking company Monumental Shows?

I actually got into cooking through music in Spokane in the hardcore and punk scene. It really ushered my ability to grow in the food world. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 16, and I’m 32 now. I first went on tour when I was a junior in high school, and the last time was when I was 23. Ever since then, I got into booking shows.

My buddy Ryan Levey and I have been at it with Monumental Shows since 2009. We’re fully licensed and insured and pay taxes and all the good stuff (laughs). Ryan is good with metal bands, and I ride the fence of hardcore and punk bands.

Music has always been near and dear to me. I wouldn’t be anywhere in my culinary scene without the Spokane hardcore scene. Literally every connection I’ve gotten in the food industry has been through music connections. They coincide with each other and mean the world to me in terms of what shaped me into the person I am today.

For Monumental, since the pandemic, pretty much every touring metal show we’ve had come through has been sold out. It feels like live music is back and bigger than ever. We mostly do only all-ages shows, so we work mostly with the Big Dipper. Without the Big Dipper, Monumental wouldn’t be booking shows right now. We love working with them. They’re really great people.

What else are you doing with Monumental Shows right now?

Right now, we’re just really working on booking shows. We’ve also been working with Lucky You Lounge and helping promote emo nights that they do every once in a while. It’s a fun time. I’ve been to six or seven shows there. It’s a cool spot.

So, we’re working on booking shows, anywhere from metal and hardcore to punk. It’s all found on monumentalshows.com and on our Instagram.

Anything else new on the horizon?

We might be working on some shows with the new Hills House in Hillyard. It used to be the Roxy. My buddy Aaron Fiorini from Market Street just bought it, and he’s hoping to make it a multiple-events center. I want to help him out as much as possible. When I was in high school, it was a venue called the Molotov Room, and Ryan and I met at a show at that venue.

Hopefully, we can work with Aaron in the future, and I think he has what it takes to make it a cool venue. He’s from Hillyard, so he knows what that community needs to make it thrive. We’re hoping to work on a one-day music festival in August or around back-to-school time with Aaron.

You seem to work nonstop. What do you do when you’re not working?

My down time, when I have it, I train in Muy Thai and Jiu-Jitsu and boxing. I like to travel and go on weekend trips. I have friends all over through music, so I like to go to those spots where I’ve toured and made friends.

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