The Steam Plant Restaurant & Brewpub completed a major renovation in 2017, making the downtown location a cool must-see.
So when Jerry Dicker purchased the building, which had closed during the pandemic, from Avista Corp. in May, there was little to update structurally. Instead, Dicker told The Spokesman-Review the following:
“I would like to make the Steam Plant into a really good restaurant. We’re not going to be fine dining, but we’ll be about good food and good value. It’ll be a nice place to come before going to the theater. In terms of the menu, we will study the situation and create a point-of-view.”
Consider the culinary goal met right out the gate for the owner of GVD Hospitality Management Services Inc., whose umbrella covers the Hotel Ruby, Hotel Ruby 2, Montvale Hotel, Montvale Events Center and more. Chef Tyler Shales of Sante fame led the kitchen for the (re)opening of Steam Plant on Nov. 4.
“The soft opening has been great so far,” Dicker told me after I dined at Steam Plant for the second time, with him as the owner, on Nov. 13. “We sincerely appreciate the community’s support, 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 fairly empty. The dinner, before a tour, did not disappoint: calamari, a beef and lamb shawarma platter, winter squash soup, ribeye, pork loin, cinnamon ice cream, whiskey ice cream, truffle brownie with mocha cream ice cream (all the ice creams are made in-house), raspberry sour beer and the cocktails Washington Apple and Steam Plant Old Fashioned.
The soup, ribeye, pork loin and ice cream were the standouts. The tour, led by Jeff Cooney, Steam Plant’s general manager pre- and post-Dicker, included the Grain Shed, which is now onsite for brewing (the original location in the Perry District remains open for the taproom and food program), inside one of the smokestacks and an event space with patios opened in 2017 as part of the remodel of the Steam Plant, which heated downtown from 1916-1968.
“The biggest change is the menu. We brought on Tyler Shales, and he’s done a great job. He has put together a fantastic menu,” Cooney said. “The menu has a lot of fresh and handmade items like pasta, pizza and ice cream. Tyler has brought a whole new level to the cuisine at the Steam Plant. We really want to make the experience better for guests.”
I returned the following Saturday for dinner before the Spokane Symphony’s Masterworks 3: “Points North” at Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, and the restaurant was bustling. Dinner was Parisienne gnocchi, quinoa stir fry, a Korean fried chicken sandwich and the cocktails Sailors Delight, Huckleberry Mojito, Steam Plant Old Fashioned and Spicy Paloma. The newly (re)opened Steam Plant is definitely a worthy destination for Happy Hour and dinner.
“I’m so excited about bringing Steam Plant back to life. It’s such an iconic downtown Spokane location,” Cooney said. “When COVID hit, a lot of people questioned whether Steam Plant would reopen. Everyone is happy to be back. This is my 21st restaurant opening, and it has been the smoothest one. People love the Steam Plant.”