Spokane Journal of Business

Downriver Grill updates building, tweaks menu

Audubon area restaurant gets $100,000 in upgrades, also debuts new branding

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North Spokane neighborhood restaurant The Downriver Grill LLC recently saw the finishing touches completed on a $100,000 renovation that was done in part to celebrate its ninth anniversary of being in business.

Located at 3315 W. Northwest Blvd., the restaurant also recently revamped its menu to include more of a focus on seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, says co-owner Juli Norris.

Norris says the recent renovations at The Downriver Grill were designed by Spokane-based restaurant design firm HDG Design Group LLC, and Kilgore Construction Inc., of Colbert, served as the project's construction contractor. Spokane Booth & Table also worked on the remodel, Norris says.

"We felt that we needed a facelift to update and modernize the look," Norris says. "We've always been local, but we wanted to make it more evident to people who come dine."

Norris says the menu still includes favorites that have been offered at The Downriver Grill for years, but a newer feature is the menu's fresh sheet, which changes every two weeks to feature dishes with fresh, local ingredients.

In addition to the interior upgrades, which included installing dark-wood accents throughout the eatery, the restaurant also received an exterior facelift with new paint, awnings, and new patio furniture, Norris says.

She says the artwork around the restaurant by local abstract artist Ben Joyce highlights Inland Northwest landscapes and landmarks.

Also, she says The Downriver Grill has a new, more modern logo that plays off its location in the Audubon neighborhood located above the Spokane River. The new logo and branding is featured on the restaurant's menu, website, and a new sign outside.

Norris says the restaurant recently hired four new employees due to a pickup in customers during the summer months, bringing its total staff to around 30 people.

In addition to Norris, The Downriver Grill is owned by Jonathan Sweatt, Aaron Sweatt, and Hal and Vicki Dixon.

Across the street at The Flying Goat, which also is co-owned by Jonathan Sweatt, a parking lot expansion made room for more patrons of that establishment. The Flying Goat, which opened in 2010, offers a wide variety of artisan pizzas and craft beer.

Its manager Beth McRae says the parking lot expansion will help relieve overflow parking onto residential streets around the restaurant.

The other owners of the Flying Goat are John Stejer and Hal Dixon Jr., McRae says.

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