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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dry Fly gets new restaurant menu with dishes inspired by regional tastes and distiller’s spirits

Dry Fly Distilling chef Avont Grant says he was influenced by watching his grandmother cook while he was growing up.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Dry Fly Distilling chef Avont Grant says he was influenced by watching his grandmother cook while he was growing up. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Since moving to Spokane from Chicago several years ago, Dry Fly Distilling chef Avont Grant has spent his time working with new flavors and learning local tastes.

It’s all coming together on Dry Fly’s new restaurant menu.

“I like to work with things that almost shouldn’t technically work together but still work,” Grant said. “I grew up in a kitchen, watching my grandmother cook – a little bit of this, a little bit of that – it’s just like making magic.”

One of the more surprising combinations Grant has added shows up in the Peach Pork naan flatbread. The dish combines smoked pulled pork with Dry Fly Bourbon BBQ sauce, sliced peaches, pickled red onions, and mozzarella cheese.

While unusual, the dish can’t help being quintessentially Dry Fly. For Grant, the most “Dry Fly” items on the menu are the ones that actually incorporate Dry Fly’s products in the recipe. The Mushroom, Bacon & Goat Cheese naan flatbread, for example, calls for Dry Fly gin-pickled mushrooms, bacon, goat cheese, garlic olive oil, hummus, and dried herbs.

“We’re really excited about, actually, the gin mushrooms,” Grant said. They’ve gotten “a lot of good feedback,” but Grant can’t wait to see how the public responds.

Two more items on the menu are stewed mussels and steamed clams, both of which also call for Dry Fly gin.

Dry Fly’s take on cioppino, Grant steams the mussels with Dry Fly gin, stewed tomatoes, fresh herbs, chicken stock and house spices.

Also steamed in Dry Fly gin, the clams are cooked with andouille sausage, garlic and shallots. Both are served with rustic Italian bread.

The first menu item that came to mind for Grant, one he’s still working on incorporating, is a chicken sandwich. But until the kitchen adds a frier, he’s sticking to “a tasty burger.”

“There’s a lot of burgers around town and I want to compete,” he said.

When it comes to crafting a signature burger, he said, it’s all about the flavors.

“You need a well-seasoned patty, 80/20(meat mix), a nice brioche bun and, of course, you gotta have a quality mayo or aioli,” he said.

Working at Dry Fly has given Grant room to be creative in the kitchen, but also with the Dry Fly stills, particularly the small-batch still visible from the dining room.

After a little tutorial, Grant was able to make his own gin incorporating pea blossoms, which yield a purple color.

“I’m gonna start doing small batches like that and try to work it into a dressing or vinaigrette,” he said. “It’s amazing working in a distillery and having a tasting room like this.”

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