Chef Spotlight - Michael Wiley of Wiley’s Bistro
by Erin Peterson
featured in Spokane Cd'A Living Magazine
Chef Michael Wiley’s energy and devotion to his restaurant is immediately apparent when you enter the door to his downtown eatery. After starting his culinary career at the tender age of 17 at the Spaghetti Factory in Downtown Spokane, he has been on the roster of many of the top restaurants in Spokane and is finally blessed to have a place to call his own. After more than 20 years of learning tricks of his trade in so many diverse establishments, he has blended new American and classic European styles to create something all his own.
When it comes to the name of his pride and joy, the word “bistro” means a small or unpretentious restaurant, and Wiley’s Bistro represents the very best of that term. The cozy space is warm and filled with local art prominently on display, and though it boasts well-made, sophisticated food, none of it is unfamiliar to the average diner.
Dinner here is not just a meal, it’s an experience. The ever-gregarious chef Michael makes it a point to visit with patrons and works alongside his staff with pride in his eyes as well as a smile. His experience in hospitality shows - with loads of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, he is particularly thoughtful when it comes to people who have restricted diets for personal or health reasons.
When it comes to flavor, he has a knack for taking Northwest favorites and incorporating them into his dishes. His duck confit sports a huckleberry reduction, heirloom carrots and Yukon mashed potatoes, and the pork sandwich also adds huckleberry as a barbecue sauce with bacon, smoked pulled pork, freshly-carved ham, cheddar and provolone all piled high. It’s worth going back again and again for this carnivore’s delight.
His wide variety of salads at lunchtime are particularly unique and offer some high-quality healthy choices for any hungry patron who wants more than just another Caesar. My favorite is his Louie salad, which harkens back to the time when Louis Davenport (of Davenport Hotel fame) was king in Spokane. It’s got juicy shrimp, avocado, tomato, egg, and the classic Louie dressing that we all know and love.
This is one Spokanite’s dream come true that you want to have a part of. Dining at Wiley’s Bistro is sure to bring a smile to your face for more than just the food, but also because of the hard-working chef and his team behind the counter.
Wiley’s Downtown Bistro 115 N. Washington Street Spokane, WA 99201
For reservations - 509-838-4600