Spokane Journal of Business

Emma Rue’s debuts in downtown’s Symons Block


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-Kevin Blocker
Jeff Hunter is managing Emma Rue’s the coffee shop and cocktail bar that opened next to People’s Waffle restaurant downtown.

Aaron Hein and longtime friends Alyssa and Bryan Agee have opened Emma Rue’s, a coffee, cocktails, and dessert establishment at 15 S. Howard, in downtown Spokane.

Following a two-week soft opening, the trio had scheduled a private event on Tuesday, Aug. 24, to commemorate the Emma Rue’s debut.

Emma Rue’s is located in the south portion of the Symons Block building, at the northeast corner of Howard Street and First Avenue. With a total of five employees to start, Emma Rue’s is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Agees and Hein also own and operate the adjoining People’s Waffle restaurant establishment in the 3,000-square-foot space that once served as home to The Blue Spark bar, which closed in 2013 after 14 years. More recently, the space was occupied by event venue and bar The Observatory, which closed in early 2019.

Regarding Emma Rue’s, Agee says, “We make our own oat milk in-house and all of our own sauces and syrups.”

Emma Rue’s features single-origin espresso and brews sourced from Portland-based Coava Coffee Roasters, she says. Jeff Hunter will serve as Emma Rue’s coffee shop manager.

Agee, who heads Symons Block LLC, acquired the historic Symons Block building, located at 9 S. Howard, in June for $2.6 million, according to Spokane County Assessor’s Office records.

The 67,700-square-foot building was constructed in 1917 and was listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Places in 1996.

Kevin Blocker
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