Spokane Journal of Business

Marandos owner to restart Otis Orchards eatery

Restaurant slated to open this month in longtime location of Otis Grill

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The kitchen will soon heat back up at the location of the former Otis Grill restaurant. 

The new eatery, to be called the Otis Restaurant, is expected to open this month at 21902 E. Wellesley, in Otis Orchards.

Although it will be a new restaurant with a new owner, many aspects of Otis Grill will carry over, says Mario Ruiz, owner of Otis Restaurant.

“We’re going to keep the same recipes, same menus. Being a staple, we don’t want to take anything away,” Ruiz says.

Ruiz is leasing the 3,500-square-foot space from Vance Emerson, who owned and operated Otis Grill from 2004 until closing it in April 2022 due to staffing shortages.

Ruiz previously owned Marandos Bar & Restaurant, in Spokane Valley, which closed in December, when the building he was leasing at 11420 E. Sprague was sold. Marandos was his first restaurant and had been open for almost five years.

Otis Restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The breakfast menu will be mostly made up of former Otis Grill items, including biscuits and gravy, hot cakes, eggs Benedict, chicken fried steak, and omelets.

The menu also will include some of the popular dishes from Marandos, Ruiz says.

For example, he says he will add a carne asada-and-eggs dish to the selection.

Otis Grill was best known for its burgers, Ruiz says, and he plans to keep most of them on the menu. Also returning will be a variety of salads, sandwiches, chicken dishes, fish dishes, pastas, and steak.

Ruiz says that Otis Restaurant’s menu will include a full page of tacos and burritos for lunch and dinner, as well as a carne asada plate. Carne asada is Mexican-style sliced beef that has been marinated and grilled.

The most popular menu item at Marandos was the quesabirria tacos, says Ruiz. Quesabirria tacos are birria tacos that are folded into pan-fried tortillas with melted cheese, and served with a side of consommé, a soup made from well-seasoned stock, for dipping. Birria tacos typically are made with shredded, stewed meat.

Marandos went through about 50 pounds of meat per day just for its quesabirria tacos, Ruiz says. He expects that they will be a popular choice at Otis Restaurant too.

The new establishment will serve beer and wine, but won’t have a license to sell hard liquor, Ruiz says. It also will have Taco Tuesday every week, an event that he says Marandos was known for.

Aside from some new tables, Ruiz has no plans to remodel the former Otis Grill space, although he says he might add a little “Latin flavor” from his previous restaurant.

Ruiz’s wife of almost 36 years, Belky Ruiz, will be Otis Restaurant’s main chef, he says. She helped him create the menu at Marandos and was the main chef there as well. His mom and his oldest son both helped out at Marandos, and he says they will do the same at his new restaurant. 

In addition to Ruiz and his family, Otis Restaurant will have 12 employees, all of whom worked at Marandos. Most of them found other jobs after Marandos closed but plan to work at Otis Restaurant once it opens, he says.

The couple met in college in California on their first day of class, Ruiz says. They lived in Los Angeles for 15 years before moving to Spokane in 2001 in hopes of raising their four children in a safer environment.

“It was the best move, because they all ended up having good jobs. They all have college degrees, good careers,” Ruiz says.

Ruiz was born in Guatemala and moved to the U.S. in 1985 when he was 18 years old. He is involved in Spokane’s Latino community, serving on boards or as an adviser for numerous nonprofits, including Latinos En Spokane and Hispanic Business/Professional Association, he says.

Otis Restaurant will offer delivery through third-party apps DoorDash and Uber Eats. Ruiz estimates that even after pandemic-related restrictions loosened, about 40% of the sales at Marandos came from delivery orders.

Ruiz says that people in the Otis Orchards community and his former Marandos customers are excited for Otis Restaurant to open.

“We have a good following,” Ruiz says. “We’re going to keep providing our good service, family environment, and quality food and affordable prices.”

Small Bites

Park Lodge, of Spokane, will close permanently on March 31, the comfort food restaurant has announced on its website and Facebook page. The Kendall Yards establishment, located at 411 N. Nettleton, opened in April 2018.


Dylan Harris
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Reporter Dylan Harris has worked at the Journal since 2021. Dylan, who was born and raised in Spokane, enjoys watching sports, cooking, and spending time with his family.

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