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The Saranac Public House


by Kevin Finch photos by Fine Art Photography


eral years; its successor at 21 West Main in downtown Spokane wants to put comfort on a plate. But for Saranac Public House owners, Brandyn Blanchat and Eric Johnsen, this comfort also happens to include organic and local ingre- dients (whenever possible) at a price that is easy to swallow as well. As such, Saranac Public House fits the trend toward casual dining and drink-


Whereas


ing establishments that seek to stay open by building loyal clientele on modest budgets, rather than focusing on high-end destination diners who roll in occa- sionally to spend a lot. Decide for yourself when you visit, but my sense is that Saranac also fits bet-


ter into the developing street scene on Main than Isabella’s did. “We wanted to connect to the neighborhood,” says Blanchat, and to do so they knocked down walls and moved the bar up to the front of the restaurant. Now, from your stool at the bar you can see out onto the street, and if you walk by you might notice a friend inside having a drink or a bite to eat. The restaurant still has two entrances: one off the street and one that opens


directly into the lobby of the Saranac building proper. The larger Saranac went up in 1910 as a single-room-occupancy hotel for new immigrants to the region. Records from the 1920 census list as tenants a number of laborers, cooks, a restaurant owner, a waiter, a brick layer, a carpenter, a railroad repair worker, a bridge carpenter and a bridge mechanic. In the mix were Swedes, Italians, Frenchmen, Poles and recent arrivals from Japan. If they still lived upstairs, I’d wager they would all have become regulars at Blanchat and Johnsen’s pub. Why? Because they’d probably find a decent


Isabella’s Gin Joint sought to capture “cool” for sev-


www.spokanecda.com 187


A DOWNTOWN PUB RE-IMAGINED


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