John and Jill Leonetti - Prohibition Gastropub
by Erin Peterson
Featured in Spokane Coeur d' Alene Living Magazine
In the age of fast food, this neighborhood eatery goes the extra mile to not only innovate with new culinary techniques, but also to demonstrate a strong social benefit beyond just being a gathering place. Prohibition Gastropub is a labor of love owned by John and Jill Leonetti, and you’ll find them both there (often with their young son, nicknamed “baby boss” in tow).
There are few businesses in town that actively support local charities with such devotion of both time and money than this power couple. We were so grateful to be invited to attend a social media preview by the Leonettis to learn more about their new menu and the heart behind their business. After closing their business briefly for three weeks in October, the pair drastically renovated their North Monroe establishment to make room for even more diners with the option to host events in their large new space adjacent to the kitchen. That meant a big construction project, but it also meant big surprises. In true speakeasy style, there was a liquor storage safe right in the floor that was revealed during the construction of their new dining space, and they now use it for its intended purpose (without the potentially negative consequences faced by bar and saloon owners during prohibition).
We were mesmerized by the Old Fashioneds and Whiskey Sours smoked table-side on a vintage bar cart, and were excited to see this trendy technique shown off in Spokane. The best menu item was one that looked unassuming, both on the menu and on the plate, but was the easy favorite of everyone at our table. The “Cottage Pie” was everything you love about shepherd’s pie, but with the dial turned up on the flavor. One diner said, “I wish the entire table was made of this. I’d eat every bite!” Equally impressive was the new steak dish meant to share - a petite tenderloin marinated in pineapple juice, soy, and roasted garlic served with charred lemon and blistered shishito peppers. Drizzling the grilled lemon over the meat the acidity breaks through the richness of the meat beautifully. Another winner was the romaine wedge salad and the ridiculously juicy broasted chicken served on a pile of garlic mashed potatoes with a mustard and white wine sauce.
Now, they are fully into the swing of the new space and continue to work on the biggest challenge local chef/owners face - balancing family life and business. Jill and John both see each other at work daily, and you’ll often see their children pop in to visit. It is every bit the family-owned establishment from the collaborative relationship that the staff shows to the way that this couple honors Spokane through their charitable work.
They donated nearly $500 in June alone for the Spokane Parks Foundation’s Make a Splash in a Kid’s Life Program. That meant that 300 meals filled in bags by the Prohibition team and their diners were put together by hand in order to feed hungry kids during their annual free summer pool party. That’s not the only charity they help, either. They also partnered with SNAP in July by using their famous cocktails to raise money for the deserving local program. By purchasing a Bees Knees for just $5, they were able to provide hot meals to SNAP recipients and fill wish list needs with additional donations. This amazing business doesn’t just support these causes themselves, but they also lead fellow community members and their customers to make a genuine difference.