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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Chicken joint charms even a wary wing-eater

I’m guess I might as well admit it right away – I hate chicken wings. Ever since my vegetarian phase back in high school, I’ve been rather squeamish about eating chicken right off the bone. I can handle a nice, juicy white breast in its natural state if it’s done right (hello, Chester Fried!), but otherwise my domestic fowl needs all the bones and gristly bits removed before it crosses my dinner plate. I always picture the gruesome scene in John Waters’ classic “Serial Mom” when the neighbor couple is eating chicken dinner and the camera lingers on close-ups of the couple’s mouths ravaging a greasy bird, grunting and licking fingers during what turns out to be their last meal before Kathleen Turner gives them the works. Chicken wings remind me of rowdy football parties or a night out at Hooters – these things just aren’t my style.

Barbecue joint will give you the Willies – and some great meat

I do believe I’ve discovered possibly the last restaurant in the entire USA with an 8-track tape player still happily in use. A wall-mounted rack full of the chunky tapes immediately jumped out at my eyeballs when I entered Famous Willies BBQ in Post Falls one recent afternoon, and I was a bit perplexed. I haven’t even seen those things floating around the thrift stores in at least 10 years. An odd form of décor, I thought, but after settling in at my table, I heard Johnny Cash fade away midsong, only to return a few seconds later.

Churchill’s Steakhouse reopening ushers in new look

Churchill’s Steakhouse owner Bill Alles doesn’t say it, but he seems almost glad he had to rebuild his restaurant. Nearly everything inside his downtown Spokane restaurant, at 165 S. Post St., had to be thrown out after the July 2008 fire, which started in a business next door.

Soulful Soups adds a little Spirits

The warming soups, salads and beer bread are back. But after business hours, the new Soulful Soups shakes off its daytime demeanor and dims the lights to become Spirits Lounge. New owners R.J. Portmann and Julles Messmann, along with partner Jason Vedadi, have reopened the downtown eatery with the familiar menu and recipes from previous owner Makayla Hamilton. They trained with Hamilton for about three weeks to ensure they could perfect the offerings that made Soulful Soups a popular downtown lunch joint.

Expansion of Chaps will bring sweet delights

The name evokes a cowboy-and-dusty-horse image, but Chaps owner Celeste Shaw likes to describe her eatery as a “Montana-meets-Paris” kind of place. That will be more true when an expansion of the eatery is finished late this year. Construction is under way to add almost 3,000 square feet to the café, 4237 S. Cheney-Spokane Road, which will become the home of Cake, the bakery of Chaps.

Former Twigs location receives a major makeover

Relax. Many of the same faces are still there. And a lot of the old favorites from the early days of Twigs and Bin 98Twenty are on the menu, says Stix Bar and Grill executive chef Dan Bower.

Mizuna to reopen Tuesday

Mizuna Restaurant and Wine Bar, 214 N. Howard St., will be closed until Tuesday while crews repair water damage. Owner Mike Jones said a broken sprinkler head in the fire suppression system on the second floor flooded the wine bar earlier this summer. He said they worked around the problem for awhile and planned to close this week for the repairs.

‘Dish’ is gourmet off the beaten path

They’re calling the restaurant Dish Home Cooking, but let’s be honest: It would only be home cooking to someone who happens to live with a chef. Owners Gary and Laura Pietz opened the Sandpoint restaurant in February for breakfast and added dinner to the offerings about three months ago. Chef Gabe Cruz, formerly of Café Trinity, is in the kitchen.

Baek Chun now in Spokane

Now Baek Chun sushi lovers in Spokane can save on gas money. Baek Chun Sushiyama has begun serving its sushi rolls, Japanese and Korean foods in the former Arctic Circle digs on Third Avenue.

Taste Café is a delectable treat

When a colleague raved about the chocolate chip cookies at Taste Café, I was unmoved. Oh, I was positive that the cookies tasted just fine. I had been to the new downtown café and catering business owned by mother-daughter team Jane and Hannah Heber. But we had just discovered the most wonderful chocolate chip cookie recipe at home via Cook’s Illustrated and I thought any attempt at comparison would just be unfair.

The Dish: That’s one Crazy idea

Think opening a restaurant is crazy? How about opening one during a lingering national recession: One that serves only four basic sandwiches from a menu that was dreamed up some 30 years ago? Meet Gary Swiss: The man behind Crazy G’s Burgers, Phillys and Dogs.

Red Lobster to open Monday in Spokane

Wood-fire grilled seafood will be on the menu at the new Spokane Red Lobster, 4703 N. Division St., when it opens Monday. The national chain is introducing its new “Bar Harbor” design in its 7,000-square-foot restaurant in the Northtown Plaza. The décor was inspired by Bar Harbor, Maine, a lobster fishing village that is a popular destination for tourists, according to a news release from Red Lobster.

Vintages at 611 heats up as temperatures rise

As the days get longer and warmer, Vintages at 611 is promising longer hours and outside dining. For now, the new restaurant offering an eclectic menu of American fare is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight.