Heritage Bar and Kitchen
This new hotspot shows off everything Spokane is known for and does well, and is already a hit with locals. Owners Gabe Wood and Alex King have poured their heart and soul into this business, and it shows. Every detail of this establishment reflects the unique character and style that Spokane is famous for, right down to the beams designed to look like the Monroe Street Bridge around the bar area. It has a quirky whimsy, and is absolutely filled to the brim with customers when we visited back in June.
The room was filled with lively conversation, laughter, and the smell of fresh baked goods. It felt like someone’s living room, not like a bar, and that was a very good thing.
They have a full bar featuring unique, handcrafted cocktails named after local television news anchors, and our personal favorite was the Stephanie Vigil, always a delight as a person as well as her namesake drink.
We were greeted promptly by our server, and food came out quickly. A really rare thing in a restaurant that has just opened its doors.
We were happy with the portion sizes and with the comforting menu items, and were surprised to know that many things are made in house, including the “Fancy Nancy” meat pies, which I could definitely see being even more popular in winter. It’s also Gabe King’s favorite. “It’s loaded with melty cheese and beef and is one of those unique King family recipes. We also have a couple of fantastic burgers, and a killer meatloaf. We set ourselves apart from other establishments in Spokane with the four pillars I mentioned earlier: quality, consistency, value, and service. “
I was lucky to catch Gabe when he wasn’t working and had a chance to interview him about this new restaurant, and learn more about Heritage Bar and Kitchen’s roots and mission.
What made you want to pursue a career in the restaurant industry?
“The restaurant industry is something that’s been a fabric of our lives for quite some time. When I was 7 or 8 years old my brother in-law, Shannon, opened O’Doherty’s Irish Grille with his brother, Tim. Tim opened a few more establishments throughout the next 10-15yrs and I was always fascinated with the idea of owning and operating a restaurant. One of my first jobs was working at a high end steak and seafood restaurant when I was 18. My aunt and uncle also currently own a bar downtown. In addition to these early influences, Alex and I have about 20yrs of industry experience between the two of us. So really, Its hard to say if there’s any one thing that piqued our interest in the industry, it’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. “
Who will your head chef be? What is their vision for the menu?
“Alex King will take charge of the kitchen and menu. To put it simply, it’s pub food done right. The name of our place, Heritage, pays homage to our great city of Spokane, but it’s also a reference to our menu. Many of the items featured on our menu are family recipes from the King family. Our food is creative, full-flavored, fresh, and affordable. “
Will you be sourcing from any local farms or ranchers?
“We’ll look to source locally whenever it’s feasible. We’re attending a few food shows this spring and will be vetting our potential providers at that time.”
When were you drawn to pursue restaurant ownership and management? Who inspired your love of the industry?
“Alex and I have exchanged stories about both of us talking (separately) about restaurant ownership all the way back in high school to anyone that would listen. For years, it was definitely just a pipe dream. The two of us met about 10 years ago while working at the same restaurant, and eventually rekindled the ownership conversation once we discovered we shared that same goal. We got serious about pursuing our dream about 2 years ago, and at that time we began taking the necessary steps to make our dream a reality. I don’t know that there was any one person that inspired a love for the industry, I think a love for the industry is something that has to grow genuinely after you’ve spent enough time in the industry to know what it’s all about. I will say, that Tim and Sam O’Doherty were probably the single biggest influence on the two of us as we grew within the industry.“
Give me an example of someone who has influenced you in your business. How did they inspire you?
“We’ve been really inspired by the outpouring of support from our friends and family as we prepare for our opening. There’ve been so many helping hands, and it’s very humbling to watch everyone do what they can to support us as we launch. We’ve been really lucky to have people we love and respect jump right in to help with anything from construction, to design, to business consulting, to cleaning, to legal advice. We’re blessed to be surrounded by loved ones with a wide array of skill sets. “
What is your favorite place to shop for food and produce locally?
“For my daily personal shopping, I’m a bit of a Trader Joe’s junkie. I love the meat at Costco too (who doesn’t?). I hear great things about “My Fresh Basket” but haven’t checked it out yet. I also really enjoy taking my wife and daughter to our favorite farmers markets when the weather cooperates. We usually frequent the markets at Kendall Yards and Perry Street.”
What are your hopes for the type of establishment HB&K will become?
“We want Heritage to be a community staple. A place that people instantly think of when they consider dining downtown. We aim to be known for our quality, consistency, value, and service.”
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment in your career so far?
“I’m proud to say that I’ve now worked successfully in basically every role at a restaurant. I’ve been a dishwasher, cook, server, bartender, manager, and now owner. This may not sound like an accomplishment, but I believe this type of rounded experience is crucial for a leader to have. Employees respond better when they know you’ve been in their shoes, and you make better decisions as a leader when you know what your employees are going through as it relates to their job responsibilities. “
How do you feel about the food community in Spokane right now? What trends are you seeing? What do you hope to see in the future?
“Loving it! So many great places are opening up around Spokane. We enjoy seeing the dining options diversify, and love when establishments take risks with their menu. I hope the food community in Spokane continues to expand. I’d love to see more great international restaurants open up. “
We look forward to seeing more from this fun new hotspot, and hope you check them out soon. If you’d like to put a smile on their faces, let them know we sent you!
Find them at 122 S. MONROESPOKANE, WA 99201, and online at https://www.heritagebarandkitchen.com/.
The Spokane Culinary Arts Guild works to establish an integrated social and professional network across Washington and Idaho where local food enthusiasts, chefs, farms and restaurant professionals can connect, collaborate and find the resources they need to thrive within local food webs that stimulate stronger local economies, encourage social equity and sustain our natural resources. It is our mission to recognize exceptional restaurants and industry partners in our region, and acknowledge superior business practices, concepts and achievements in our local community.