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Chad White plans to open New England-style lobster counter in downtown Spokane

January 24, 2019

Spokane’s own celebrity chef Chad White plans to open a fast-casual, New England-style, walk-up lobster counter in downtown Spokane.

High Tide Lobster Bar will be designed for express service.

The spot, located in Spokane’s Skywalk, stretches not quite 400 square feet – so seating will be limited and the menu will be streamlined.

White expects to offer four sandwiches, one salad and chowder.

The chowder is New England-style clam with tarragon, black pepper, potatoes, bacon, cream and crackers.

The salad is a wedge with green goddess dressing, bacon, blue cheese and red onion.

Look, also, for the main events: a traditional lobster roll, a surf-and-turf roll with lobster and braised short rib, a turf roll with just braised short rib, and a vegetarian-but-not-vegan mushroom roll.

Sandwiches will be served on hot dog buns that are split from the top down, toasted and stuffed. They will be available in regular – tarragon mayo, lemon, butter – or Cajun-style. The spicier version will include notes of smoked paprika, cayenne, chile powder, cumin, coriander and garlic.

White said he’s exploring options for gluten-free buns.

But this is for sure: “You better believe I’m going to be braising my short rib in an Instant Pot.”

White recently teamed up with Los Angeles-based cookbook author Laurel Randy to cook dinner at The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages Book Club sold-out “Top Chef Meets Instant Pot” event.

It was the first time White had used the popular kitchen gadget.

Two months later, he said, “I use that thing at Zona Blanca all the time now.”

Zona Blanca is White’s walk-up ceviche counter. It’s located in the same building that houses Steel Barrel Taproom, an incubator brewing space and taproom, in downtown Spokane. By comparison to the forthcoming High Tide, Zona Blanca stretches about 500 square feet.

White liked the High Tide spot – all 386 square feet of it – because of its Skywalk location. He also liked the fact that it’s nearly move-in ready. (It used to house a Thomas Hammer coffee shop.) Other than a bit of new paint and some new equipment, it won’t require much renovation, White said.

Brittany Stodgell and Millicent Schnebly of the Maker + Made design firm are doing the logo and decor.

Expect, White said, “some nautical fun stuff.”

He’s planning to keep the spot’s roll-top, garage-style door and add about 10 tables – two or three inside the shop, and another seven or eight in the Skywalk.

“People walk back and forth here all the time,” White said. “It has all the fittings for it to be awesome.”

He’s hoping to get High Tide open by the end of February.

“It really depends on permitting,” he said. But, “I’m hoping we can be open Feb. 20.”

He’s also hoping to figure out a delivery system to serve people who work at businesses situated along the Skywalk as well as create a meal incentive program – read: discounts – for those employees.

The High Tide spot, Suite 204 in the Numerica Building at 502 W. Riverside Ave., sits on the second floor above the credit union’s downtown branch and across the hall from Edwards Lalone Travel. It’s perhaps most easily accessed through the Cutter Tower at 510 W. Riverside Ave.

And it isn’t the only project White has in the works. Construction is progressing on TTs Old Iron Brewery and Barbecue, White’s collaboration with brewer Travis Thosath.

Their beer and Kansas City-style barbecue joint is about 5,000 square feet and slated to open in spring – “probably May 1,” White said – at the corner of South Bowdish and South Dishman Mica roads in Spokane Valley.

Kansas City-style barbecue features spice-rubbed, slow-cooked, wood-smoked meats served with a signature, sweet and spicy, thick, tomato-based barbecue sauce. White plans to make his from scratch using beer from TTs Old Iron Brewery.

TTs is known for its Stovebolt Smoked Rye Stout, Magneto IPA and Big Headlights Blond Ale.

The look of the brewery and barbecue spot is slated to be modern and industrial to match its old-car theme.

White was a contestant on season 13 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” After 14 years of living out of the area, mostly in San Diego, he moved back to Spokane in late 2015 with plans to open a restaurant called Native Post and Provisions. The focus there was to be local, seasonal, organic and “as wild as possible” ingredients. That restaurant hasn’t come to fruition – yet. White still likes the idea.

But, first, he wants to expand his downtown seafood offerings. In addition to his ceviche counter and forthcoming lobster shop, White is also hoping to open an oyster bar. Details on that project are still being worked out. So stay tuned.

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