Spokane Journal of Business

Restaurateur sells Isabella's to reinvent Geno's near GU

Former Onion employee, dad buy eatery downtown; they plan to rename it

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Spokane restaurant owner William Webster has sold Isabella's Restaurant & Gin Joint downtown and plans to reinvent and open Geno's restaurant, at 1414 N. Hamilton near Gonzaga University, in late September.

He says he sold Isabella's, at 21 W. Main, in early May to Brandyn Blanchat, who worked several years for The Onion restaurant, and his father, Kevin Blanchat. Webster says he sold it so he could concentrate on launching Geno's and operating Zola, a nightclub with food and music at 22 W. Main, in the building across from the Isabella's space.

Webster says the Blanchats plan to rename Isabella's, but he referred further questions about plans for that space to the Blanchats, who couldn't be reached for comment.

At Geno's, Webster, who is a chef but says he'll focus on the business side in operating the restaurant, says he plans to serve Italian food, but in slightly smaller portions for individual servings at lower prices.

"We'll still bring back some classics they're known for like lasagna and pizza," he says. "It will be blue-collar friendly, something for a college neighborhood, affordable."

Webster is leasing with an option to buy the 2,800-square-foot Hamilton Street building, which includes about 90 seats, and the underlying property.

Gina Orlando and her family had operated Geno's Fabulous Pizza & Italian Dinners in the building on Hamilton Street for 50 years, but she closed that restaurant in March after investors bought the building from her.

Webster is working with artist Dan Spalding, who also created an interior for Zola, to remodel Geno's. Spalding is known for dcor that incorporates recycled materials.

"It's going to have a crazy design like Zola, but it will have that old European look," Webster says. "It will have a vintage bar, some live music, a little more of a modern twist to it."

Webster says he and Spalding also are working on some remodeling projects at Zola.

Treva Lind
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