Spokane Journal of Business

New burger restaurant to open in former Agave location downtown

Apartment work advances on building’s upper floors

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Josh Hissong, co-owner of Spokane architectural firm Hurtado |Hissong Design Group (HDG) LLC, says he and three others—Armando Hurtado, Hissong’s partner at HDG, Matt Goodwin, and John Wells—plan to open a downtown restaurant called Burger-Lab.

The four owners will operate the eatery through a limited-liability corporation that they haven’t named yet, Hissong says. Burger-Lab will occupy 2,700 square feet of leased space in the first floor of the four-floor Michael Building, at 830 W. Sprague, in the former space of Agave Latin Bistro. The building is owned by Seattle-based Diamond Parking Co.

Hissong says the restaurant is expected to open in mid-December, after design details are worked out and renovations are completed. HDG is acting as the designer for the Burger-Lab project. 

“We are still working with the federal historical preservation society,” he says. “We want to expose the original brick … it’s a time-consuming process.”

The building, originally named the Germond Building, was built at the northeast corner of Sprague Avenue and Lincoln Street in the heart of downtown in 1890 and is on the state and national historic registers, Hissong says. 

Separate from the restaurant project, the upper three floors of the four-story building currently are being renovated into apartments, says Bob Spooner, of Spokane-based Goodale & Barbieri Co., who is the leasing agent and manager for the building. 

Spokane-based Wells & Co. is the developer of the project, Spooner says. Each floor will contain six apartments, for a total of 18 units, he says. He declines to disclose the estimated cost of the renovation, but says it’s “substantial.” 

The apartments will be will be one- and two-bedroom units, Spooner says, and will range from 800 to 1,200 square feet of floor space. Rents will run from roughly $1,080 per month for the smaller units to $2,100 for the largest.

The current timeline on the project has the units available for renters this November, Spooner says.

The ground floor will remain devote entirely to retail uses, he says. 

Two of the three other retail spaces there are occupied by Bruttles Gourmet Candy and Patit Creek Cellars, and a wine and coffee restaurant is in talks to lease the fourth space, Spooner says.  

The Burger-Lab name for the restaurant Hissong and his partners are planning there might change before it opens, Hissong says. 

“It’s kind of evolving as we go,” he says. 

The restaurant will have an upscale burger joint and bar concept, but will still be family friendly, Hissong says. 

“We’re trying to do one extremely long countertop that runs the whole distance of the building, so people can feel like they’re sitting at an old burger bar,” Hissong says. “But we’re running into issues …we have to have a liquor control area, so we’re trying to figure out a design so it’ll be friendly to those under 21.”

Once open, the restaurant will have between 12 and 16 employees, Hissong says.

Hissong also co-owns NUDO, a ramen house located at 818 W. Sprague, on the same block, and Ginger Asian Bistro on the South Hill. 

Hissong says a second NUDO restaurant is in the works in Richland, Wash. 

Matt Goodwin also owns artisan pizza restaurant The Boiler Room, in the Five Mile district; downtown bars the Volstead Act and Fast Eddies Bar & Grill; and the Press Public House bar on the South Hill. 

Katie Ross
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Reporter Katie Ross covers manufacturing, hospitality, and government at the Journal of Business. An outdoor enthusiast and snowboard fanatic, Katie is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University.  

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