Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Opening & Closing Murmurings


Santorini's Greek Cuisine
4055 N. Government Way, Coeur d'Alene
I love Olympia Greek Restaurant, but there's always room for another place to get Souvlaki and Baklava. These guys already have a restaurant in Spokane and I've hard rumblings that they're actually the old owners of Olympia. I hope they don't have too many hard feelings about the roommate/bad check incident I wrote about in my Olympia review.

The online user write-ups of the Spokane Santorini's are mixed. One person wrote "The food was okay, I have had better Greek food...the owners I found to be quite unpleasant. They must have used lettuce and turnip Greens instead of 100% Spinach, in other words it was horrible." And another BizFinder contributor wrote "Best Greek Food we have found in Spokane!" I called over there about 3 weeks ago to see when the Cd'A store was opening and was told "later this week" but I drove by last weekend and the doors were still closed.

Sherman Junction
819 E. Sherman Avenue, Coeur d'Alene
I read something ages ago in the CDA Press about how the owner of Down the Street had sold it and was opening a new place in the former Rustlers Roost/Apple Barrel/Sambos building downtown (most recently occupied by the mysterious Vacations Always Free travel agency scam). Ah, the excitement!

Having spent many years in my teens and 20's sitting there eating bisquits and gravy and drinking Pike Street tea over endless cigs and conversation, I was looking forward to returning to the old haunt. Then, every time I drove by there, I saw no action at all, leading me to believe that the whole thing had somehow fallen through. Then last week, my hopes were restored when I saw rows of booths and tables beginning to occupy the space. Hope they keep the food as stick-to-yer-ribs as it was at DTS...

Famous Willie's Barbeque
107 E. 7th St., Post Falls
According to a recent article in the CDA Press, owner Willie Spradley "moved to North Idaho from Texas about nine years ago for a more conservative lifestyle and cooler climate." More conservative than Texas? If you can swallow that bitter fruit, you'll probably be able to swallow Willie's slow-cooked barbecue specialties including beef brisket, pork spare ribs, pork shoulder roast, hickory-smoked sausage from Texas and chicken legs, drumsticks, wings and breasts. What, no Alligator?

Vito's That's Italian
1116 W. Ironwood Cd'A
This one has been open for a month or two. Their website describes it as a "little piece of Italy in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho". Two reasons why I already have a problem with them.

1) The owner of Vitos was the owner of the wonderful Sunshine Trader, which was at the same location and I'm so MAD they decided to change it because it was one of the best, most beloved lunch spots in town for years and it is so cold and cruel for them to take that away from us.

2) Seafood fettuccine is my favorite Italian dish and they don't even have it on their menu. Italian places don't seem to always have the best luck in this town so we shall see...

Donut House
1801 N. Lincoln Way, Coeur d’Alene
North Idaho is being taken over by doughnuts and who in their right mind would have a problem with that? There are already Donut Houses in on Kathleen in Cd'A and in Post Falls and Hayden. Which reminds me, the only time I visited the Hayden Donut House they didn't take debit cards and I was 37 cents short on cash. The woman (owner) was very nice and told me I could bring in the 37 cents later that day and I PROMISED her I would. Of course, I didn't. Now I feel guilty, but it obviously didn't hurt them too much if they're expanding their biz so rapidly. I WILL bring the 37 cents into the new location when it opens, I SWEAR. Opening date unknown.

Garlic Jim's
405 W.Neider Ave.,Coeur d'Alene
Now open. Clearly we really needed another Pizza franchise here, since all we had was 9 million of them already. Still, the menu is somewhat interesting with oddball toppins such as Roasted Corn, Black Beans, Coconut, Almond Slivers, Cashews, and Tortilla Strips. Why stop there? How about throwing on some watermelon pickle, some chunks of blue jello, or perhaps a nice Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam?

408 N. Fourth St., Coeur d'Alene
Actually, this is a reopening. Readers probably know that this is a regular haunt of mine, and I'm glad it's back in action. Rita had sold the bar and had several teary-eyed closing parties, expecting to have the new owners sign the papers the next week. That didn't happen.

Fair enough, until the crooked prospective buyers delayed the closing of the deal about a half dozen more times, leaving Rita in a bad spot, losing money on a closed business. Finally a month and a half later, the deal dissolved and Rita decided the best idea was to do some renovations and remodeling. The place has a fresh look and a fresh attitude, and it is still Coeur d'Alene's oldest and best nightclub.

By the way, I'm not afraid to print the names of the a-holes who dicked my sweet Rita around, so if you know them and see them please kick them in the shins, hard. The culprits are Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus (everyone already knows who you are anyway), who owned some other local businesses and rumor has it that they ran them into oblivion and ended up owing their employees and distributors a ton of money. Basically, it seems like they're either scamsters or really bad at running businesses. Probably a bit of both.

1210 Tavern
1210 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene
Another reopening, the 1210 rises phoenix-like from the ashes of the great fire of 2008 that destroyed the WarDen gaming place, a barber shop and the old 1210. The only thing that remained was the corpse of the old China Gate, which has been refurbished and reopened as the new 1210 Tavern. This was never one of my hangouts or anything, but I'm certain there are many locals glad to have it back in action.

Spar Martini Bar
209 N. First Ave., Sandpoint
Now open. Info from Sandpoint Online: "Located on the second floor of the Pastime Building above Oishii, Spar is Sandpoint's new nightlife hot spot. Live music is in the works with an opportunity to drink, dance and socialize in a unique atmosphere. Spar also offers a full menu and nightly drink specials."

41 South
Lakeshore Drive at the Long Bridge, Sagle
Now open. Info from Sandpoint Online: "A new operation in Sandpoint's best old location with Claudia Dick, owner of Trinity, at the helm, and Chef Jeremy cooking some of the best fare in Sandpoint, this is one of my two favorite restaurants in town. The menu is innovative and at the same time comfortable, the wine list is well-thought out and has at least two of my faves. What makes 41 South best though is the fabulous location, overlooking Lake Pend Oreille and the Long Bridge. Great Sunday brunch, nice outside seating to take in the views, and slips for up to twenty boats."


King Pizza, Coeur d'Alene
Sad. This was where I had my second job ever, when I was 18, delivering pizzas. New owners took over earlier this year and ruined the 20 year establishment for good. RIP.

Wine Cellar, Coeur d'Alene
Sadder. Another longtme Cd'A tradition bites the dust over a bad business deal of some kind, apparently. Downtown will never be the same. RIP.

Sunshine Trader, Coeur d'Alene
Saddest. See above for the info about the new Italian place the owners decided to reinvent the Trader as. I will forever miss the Hobbit sandwhich, with turkey, sprouts, cream cheese, and cranberry sauce. Tried making it at home and it just doesn't turn out quite the same. I'd been eating them there since this place was in the tiny building that now houses the Parkside Bistro, many MANY moons ago. RIP.

Stage Right Cellars, Sandpoint
Only open for two years, this place was once a live music mecca for Sandpoint and although I never went, I hear it was classy and fun. They closed Sept. 11 and had a gigantic yard sale I wish I hadn't missed. RIP.

1 comment:

Kevin Taylor said...

The people behind Santorini's in Spokane are the children of the nice old couple that ran Olympia until retiring and selling a couple years ago. The menu is the same as the old Olympia (and maybe the current Olympia? this is getting confusing) so people can gauge what's what at the new place with the new name but the old people versus the old place with the old name but the new people.