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North Hill opens on Garland

November 28, 2018

Sit at the bar and note the bottles.

Not the spirits on the floating shelves on the exposed red brick wall behind the counter top, although they make up an impressive collection, too. But the five clear glass containers filled with liquid in bright shades of yellow and orange as well as a deep purplish pink.

Bar manager and co-owner Matthew Stanton is using these infused syrups to boost flavor in the craft cocktails at the center of the bar program at North Hill on Garland. He’s one of four owners in the new neighborhood pub located on the main drag in the heart of Spokane’s Garland District.

North Hill on Garland officially opened Nov. 5. The new neighborhood bar features a menu of elevated comfort foods and cocktails featuring house-made syrups using demerara sugar, fresh ginger, tarragon, bell pepper and agave, and honey and lavender.

They’ll enhance flavor profiles in less time than it takes to muddle fresh fruit or herbs or other ingredients.

“We’re trying to find ways to pair flavors together,” Stanton said. “We’ve been working on how do we get drinks out faster, fresher? The goal is to get these flavors in liquid form, so we’re not muddling and making a mess.”

This will become especially important when the weather’s nice. North Hill features a relatively small indoor dining area. But it also has a covered patio as well as an upper deck. And North Hill owners are banking on the fact that both will likely become crowded in spring, summer and early fall.

That’s when North Hill was originally slated to open. The target launch was Sept. 7. But construction, equipment and other delays pushed the opening back by two months.

“It’s been a long adventure,” said co-owner Keith Riddle. “We’re excited.”

The new restaurant is located in the former North Hill Masonic temple, now home to the offices of the Syngery Group, a real estate brokerage.

Riddle and Paul Cassel are partners in the firm as well as the new restaurant.

“I’m just very happy that we’re open finally,” Cassel said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to have a restaurant and to have it in the Garland area. We’re very fortunate to be here. It’s just a great neighborhood.”

Cassel and Riddle are joined by Stanton, who co-founded El Dorado Cocktail Lounge in San Diego, now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and plans to split his time between California and Spokane to manage North Hill’s bar program.

Darin Talotti, who co-owns Red Lion BBQ and Pub as well as the cozy downtown bar Whisk, is the restaurant’s general manager and fourth partner.

“It’s not fine dining. It’s casual. We’re just trying to give, like, a casual elegant feel,” he said. “We want to be a nice neighborhood restaurant.”

North Hill is at 706 W. Garland Ave. Its name is a nod to the building’s history as the old North Hill Lodge No. 210.

The restaurant’s kitchen is located in the lodge’s old kitchen. And, “We’re standing in what used to be the cafeteria of the old Masonic temple,” Cassel said.

The dining area and kitchen encompass nearly 1,400 square feet.

The look is modern and rustic with industrial accents. Think exposed red brick walls, black and white subway tiles, reclaimed wood and naked Edison bulbs.

Seating is made up of wooden booths, two-tops and stools at the counter at the bar featuring electrical outlets for nearly every guest. A rustic buddy bar made from a piece of reclaimed wood runs parallel to the bar top.

The wood that frames the windows and makes up the fence and privacy walls for the patio and upper deck came from the old Looff Carrousel building in downtown Spokane.

Drop-down heating elements have been ordered for the patio, which is outfitted with six four-tops. The patio and restaurant are all ages. The restaurant seats 38.

The upper deck is 21 and older and will be open seasonally. It seats 20.

Meantime, the restaurant and bar are open seven days per week, starting at 11 a.m. The plan is to be open to at least 11 p.m. Weekends, it will likely stay open to midnight or 1 or 2 a.m.

Taps feature local and regional beer. Craft cocktails feature those house-made infused syrups and freshly pressed juices.

“Every day we’re doing fresh juice,” Stanton said.

His “new, refreshing take” on the classic Pimm’s Cup is one of the bar’s signature drinks. It features house-made syrup made from pressed ginger, which makes it “way more spicy.”

The $9 Cornerstone House Old-Fashioned features an ice cube stamped with the bar’s initials.

The Gin and Celery isn’t on the menu yet, but you might want to order it anyway. It features fresh lime, celery bitters, salt and sugar, and is bright and dry and refreshing with just a hint of sweetness.

House cocktails run in the $7 to $9 price range.

Look, also, for a $7 Salty Dog with vodka, St. Germain, fresh grapefruit and a hibiscus salt rim. The Left Hand is $9 and includes bourbon, Campari, vermouth and chocolate bitters.

The concept, Talotti said, is “bar-focused with elevated comfort food” and pub grub.

Adam Oakes, who helped open Anthony’s and Twigs in the Tri-Cities, is the opening chef.

On the menu: pizza, flat bread, salads, sandwiches and hand-held “Hill Hot Pockets” in bacon cheeseburger, pepperoni and black bean.

The mac and cheese features white cheddar, mozzarella, Gouda and bacon.

Entrees run from $7 to $16.

Appetizers include pigs-in-a-blanket, tri-tip or chicken nachos, and oven-roasted, dry-rubbed wings.

Opening desserts are a $3 brownie, $5 apple crisp and $5 Cajun Delight.

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