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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Six years ago, a Hooters restaurant became a church

Uplift Church bought the Hooters building in Spokane Valley six years ago.  (SR)
From staff reports

From staff reports

The transformation of a former strip club into a Christian site is not the first instance of a Spokane Valley property to be lifted from risqué to religious.

In 2018, a church opened in a building that had housed a Hooters restaurant. The name of the new operation? Uplift Church.

Throughout the move-in process, pastors Joe and Betsy Pittengerhas heard a lot of jokes about a church named Uplift making a home in a former Hooters, according to previous Spokesman-Review reports.

Joe said his favorite line was “Uplift: The church that gives a hoot.”

The name of the church came from John 12:32, which reads “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Next to Interstate 90 off Sullivan Road, the interior was altered to fit the church. The bar was ripped out, but the walk-in cooler remained. A wall and two classrooms were added, but the couple left the light up “cashier” sign on the south wall, according to previous reports.

“I think it’s where Jesus would hang out,” Joe said in a 2018 interview.

The goal of the church is to show people God’s love, Joe said.

“That’s really what we want to do,” he said at the time. “We’re not about a building, we’re about building people.”