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TMCNet:  Prospectors goes back to the future

[February 06, 2013]

Prospectors goes back to the future

Feb 06, 2013 (The Spokesman-Review - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Prospectors Bar and Grill on North Division Street has been reunited with its original owners.

The restaurant closed just before Christmas but was reopened in late January by Mike and Cheryl Didier. The Didiers opened Prospectors just off Highway 395 in August 2004 and sold it so they could help care for Cheryl Didier's ailing parents. Their first Prospectors in Airway Heights opened in 2003. That restaurant was also sold and is now the Rusty Moose. They were also once the owners of the Harvester restaurant in Spangle, and Didier's Yogurt and More on North Division.

"The two gentlemen, the business partners that we sold to in 2010, just didn't make it," Cheryl Didier said. "So, we stepped right back in and brought back a lot of our former menu items and we've been working with our executive chef Paloma Kunzelmann." Kunzelmann served as the chef before Prospectors sold and she returned to the kitchen when she found out the Didiers were taking over again. "Chef Paloma and Mike and I have put our heads together and come up with even more new comfort foods, more new scratch items. We've gone back to our scratch cooking and it is no longer a thaw and serve or, as I call it, a microwave kitchen. Everything is pretty much made to order." That means the chef can substitute or leave out ingredients for diners. "It's time to come in and try us again because now it's made right," Kunzelmann said.

"Give us a chance to reclaim the Prospectors name," Cheryl Didier said. "The main ingredient is a lot of love." Kunzelmann said they've also downsized some of the gigantic portions that were first served at the restaurant. "Before everything was just huge and that was our signature at the time but now we've made some smaller portions," she said.

"Smaller portions and a smaller price point," Cheryl Didier added.

The fries are fresh cut, ribs are slow roasted and the country gravy recipe has been returned to its original glory, Kunzelmann said. Pan-style pizzas (or thin crust if you prefer) are baked in the Wood Stone oven ($12-$13.) Lunch and dinner are served during the week. Burgers, bison burgers, sandwiches and entree salads range from $9-$16. At dinner, entrees begin at $16 for the fish and chips or a Kobe beef steak and baked potato. On the other end of the price range, the tenderloin filet is $29.50. Ribs are $16 for a half rack and $20 for the full. Prime rib dinners range from $19.50 to $25.50. Pastas and comfort food favorites such as macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, liver and onions, and chicken pot pie start at $11 and stop at $17.

Prospectors is open for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.

The restaurant was able to rehire some of the crew members who were laid off when Prospectors closed in December, said general manager Shareen Ross. There are about 45 full- and part-time employees working there now. The restaurant can seat 400 people, including a banquet room that can handle up to 70 for parties, receptions and meetings. There is also room for large groups or families in an area beyond the bar and near one of the double-sided fireplaces they call the "rear saloon." Prospectors is across from the Wandermere Mall on Highway 395 and is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On Friday, the hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday the restaurant opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. On Sunday, hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Reach the restaurant at (509) 467-6177.

The owners of area Thai Bamboo restaurants have opened a new pizza and frozen yogurt hangout.

Did's Pizza & Fro Yo, 5406 N. Division St., offers pizza and calzones, Hawaiian barbecue teriyaki and salads for lunch and dinner. There is also espresso, a juice bar, smoothies, bubble tea, shaved ice and a frozen yogurt dessert bar with 18 flavors of yogurt and 32 different toppings. Beer, wine and cocktails are also served.

Pizzas are 11 or 17 inches and it is also sold by the slice.

The casual restaurant is next to the Thai Bamboo on North Division Street. It is a family friendly place with video games, television and laid-back, "surf-style" atmosphere. There is music and a light show that pulses to the beat as it shines on surfing-inspired graphics.

Tom and Matavee Burgess are the owners of four Thai Bamboo restaurants in the region, including North Division Street, 2926 E. 29th Ave. and 12722 E. Sprague Ave.

Did's is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. On Friday, the restaurant stays open a half hour later. Saturday hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday the store is open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. They plan to stay open later during the summer.

There is more information on the restaurant's website, www.didspizza andfroyo.com, or reach it by calling (509) 808-2090.

If waking up to giant cinnamon rolls and Roast House coffee would help get things going the right direction, consider Morning Sun Bakery.

Lisa Taylor and her husband, Chad, opened the bakery in December at 5602 N. Wall St. The couple bake the assortment of pastries, rolls and goodies fresh every day at a commercial kitchen and bring them to the new coffee shop. They sold the goodies at the Spokane Public Market for a while, but decided to open the coffee shop and bakery when they noticed the space on Wall Street about six blocks from home.

The selection always includes three varieties of those cinnamon rolls -- right now, that means caramel pecan, glazed and cream cheese frosting rolls -- but they have perfected more than dozen different flavors and plan to start adding those to the rotation soon. They also make cookies, croissants, coffee cake, Danishes, muffins and tarts.

Morning Sun Bakery serves espresso, brewed or pour-over coffee from Roast House. Taylor also makes her own chai tea from scratch. They have plans to add a cold case and begin offering sandwiches, salads and other brunch and lunch items. Taylor posts photos of the pastries and other goodies, ranging in price from $1.85 to about $3.50 each, on the bakery's Facebook page.

Morning Sun Bakery is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily except on Wednesdays when they close for the day. Reach the bakery at (509) 241-3871.

--Savory Restaurant and Lounge owners announced they were closing with a Facebook posting for customers on Saturday.

The restaurant, 1314 S. Grand Blvd., opened two years ago after extensive remodeling of the former Blockbuster video store. Saturday night's dinner was the last meal served there.

Owner Mike Schneider, of Spokane Restaurant Equipment, said he was thankful to everyone who supported the restaurant over the past two years and that he felt terrible about closing Savory. "It was beautiful. I just fell in love with what we did there," he said. "It wasn't profitable. Blame tough economic conditions; we just had to do it," he said.

The restaurant fixtures and equipment are for sale with an assumable lease at that location.

--The Battle of the Pita Pits competition is down to the final four restaurants -- and one of the Spokane Pita Pit locations is still in the running.

The Pita Pit at 818 E. Sharp Ave., owned by Eric Morris, is still vying for the battle's grand prize -- free pitas to customers for one day. Also, during each round, one fan who votes is chosen to get free pitas for a year. The Spokane Pita Pit also recently celebrated its seventh anniversary.

Fans of the Pita Pit must log on to the Pita Pit Facebook fan page to vote. On Monday, the Spokane location was lagging behind franchise stores in Williamsburg, Va., Claremont, Calif., and Indiana, Pa.

The winner will be announced Friday.

___ (c)2013 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) Visit The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) at www.spokesman.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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