Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Friday, November 17, 2017 at 2:20 p.m.
If you’ve ever wondered what could happen if an entire community pitched in for a worthy project, East Central Spokane’s new “Fresh Soul” restaurant is the answer.
“We’re talking about chicken, ribs, hot wings, pulled pork, brisket. But we’re going to specialize in seafood gumbo, something they don’t have here in Spokane at all,” said Michael Brown as he detailed his menu.
Brown plans to serve authentic southern food but the Fresh Soul is really the recipe for bringing new life to East Central Spokane, starting with jobs for neighborhood teens.
“So what we want to do here is give them skills here, so it will be less scary. That’s going to change their attitude and their perceptions towards a career and they’ll change it into an opportunity right here at Fresh Soul,” predicted Brown.
But renovating a former ice cream parlor that’s stood vacant for more than 40 years hasn’t been easy. The City of Spokane got the project rolling with a new roof.
“One of the goals of the Community, Housing and Human Services Department is to be able to help promote community development. We really viewed this restaurant as being part of that and really helping to spur some additional economic development and growth,” said George Dahl of CHHS.
The chance to rebuild a new and lasting focal point for a neighborhood has attracted many hands.
An all-female construction class installed the drywall. Local 44 handled the plumbing. Volunteers from Lowe’s have donated 1200 hours and $15,000 dollars in materials.
“We want to make sure that we are doing the same thing and doing our part with our employees and staff. Volunteering in the communities we live and work in every single day,” said Zane Denison, a store manager for Lowe’s
A grant from the City of Spokane is also paying for all the restaurant’s kitchen equipment.
The City installed a new sidewalk and planted trees in front of the 5th Avenue restaurant.
Brown feels they are all investments intended to restart the heart “and” soul of East Central Spokane.
“The community has rallied around me, and the City. All these different sponsors helping to make this possible. It’s become a reality now,” said Brown.
Brown hopes to have “Fresh Soul” open for business in early 2018.
“What I’ve been telling people for a long time is that you’d be surprised how much you can get done and accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit,” concluded Brown.