Running Tab: The focus is on food at Jerry Dicker’s newly (re) opened Steam Factory

The Steam Plant Restaurant & Brewpub completed a major renovation in 2017, making the downtown location a must-see.

So when Jerry Dicker bought the building, which had closed during the pandemic, from Avista Corp. in May there was not much to update structurally. Instead, Dicker told The Spokesman-Review the following:

“I would like to make the Steam Plant a very good restaurant. We are not going to be gourmet, but we will focus on good food and good value for money. It will be a nice place to come before going to the theater. At the menu level, we will study the situation and create a point of view.

Consider the culinary goal achieved from the start for the owner of GVD Hospitality Management Services Inc., whose umbrella covers the Ruby Hotel, Ruby 2 Hotel, Montvale Hotel, Montvale Event Center and more. Chef Tyler Shales, famous for Sante, ran the kitchen for the (re) opening of Steam Plant on November 4th.

“The smooth opening has been great so far,” Dicker told me after dining at Steam Plant for the second time, with him as the owner, on November 13. “We sincerely appreciate the support from the community and the feedback has been positive.” Dicker hopes to have a grand opening in January.

I had dinner at Steam Plant on its fifth day of operation. It was a rainy Tuesday night and the restaurant was quite empty. Dinner, before a visit, did not disappoint: calamari, plate of beef and lamb shawarma, winter squash soup, rib eye, pork loin, cinnamon ice cream, whiskey ice cream, brownie with truffles with mocha ice cream (all ice creams are homemade), sour raspberry beer and Washington Apple and Steam Plant Old Fashioned cocktails.

Soup, rib eye, pork loin and ice cream were the stars. The tour, led by Jeff Cooney, Managing Director of Steam Plant Before and After Dicker, included the Grain Shed, which is now on site for brewing (the original location in the Perry Quarter remains open for the bar and the food program), inside one of the fireplaces and an event space with patios opened in 2017 as part of the renovation of the steam plant, which supplied the city center from 1916 to 1968.

“The biggest change is the menu. We hired Tyler Shales, and he did a great job. He put together a fantastic menu, ”Cooney said. “The menu offers lots of fresh, handmade products like pasta, pizza and ice cream. Tyler brought cooking to a whole new level at the Steam Factory. We really want to make the experience better for customers.

I came back the following Saturday for dinner before Spokane Symphony’s Masterworks 3: “Points North” at the Martin Woldson Theater at Fox, and the restaurant was busy. Dinner consisted of Parisian gnocchi, quinoa stir-fry, a Korean fried chicken sandwich, and cocktails Sailors Delight, Huckleberry Mojito, Steam Plant Old Fashioned, and Spicy Paloma. The newly (re) opened Steam Factory is definitely a happy hour and dinner destination.

“I am so excited to bring Steam Plant back to life. It’s such an iconic place in downtown Spokane, ”Cooney said. “When COVID hit, a lot of people wondered if Steam Plant was going to reopen. Everyone is happy to be back. This is the 21st opening of my restaurant, and it was the most fluid. People love the steam plant.

Info: 159 S. Lincoln St., (509) 777-3900,

Black straw

On a recent busy Saturday where I happily played my niece Anya and nephew Shawn’s chauffeur, I finally had the chance to pop into the Black Straw Tea Bar & Kitchen in Spokane Valley for first time with Anya while Shawn was at a Warhorse Karate Jiu Jitsu Event. Friends raved about Black Straw, as did the folks on Food Finder Spokane, and now I can say I agree.

We enjoyed the combined noodle soup (everything except the kitchen sink was in it), the chicken fried rice (I hate bean sprouts, but the delicious flavor of the fried rice luckily masked the taste of the icky bean sprouts) and a passion fruit green tea with Boba and lychee jelly which was fantastic. There were plenty of leftovers, and now I have a new stop in Spokane Valley.

Info: 11808 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley, (509) 315-4093

New Year at Zona Blanca

Chef and restaurateur Chad White has announced a New Years Eve celebration at his downtown Zona Blanca Ceviche Bar, and it’s decadent. The evening, from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., includes a welcome cocktail, a dinner with a six-course tasting menu, a photo booth, gifts, a ball, a midnight champagne toast and an afterparty (if the celebration is not you are not interested, a separate ticket can be purchased for the afterparty only).

On the menu: oysters and Meyer lemon-champagne mignonette; yellow fin tuna with black winter truffles and burnt onion oil; king crab with avocado, daikon and tangerine; Duck breast with fig mole, kumquat and sesame; A5 Japanese Wagyu with oyster cream; and very lick mini with a candy cane.

Dinner starts at 8 p.m. Zona Blanca is at 157 S. Howard St. Info: (509) 241-3385 ​​and All-inclusive tickets cost $ 275 per person (tax and tip included) and can be purchased at

White can be notified of any allergies at [email protected] when purchasing a ticket.

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