Spokane Journal of Business

Restaurateurs hope to strike gold in old Prospector’s space

Couple plan ‘blue collar’ restaurant, music venue at building on North Side

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-Virginia Thomas
From left to right, Hammers Bar & Grill manager Brittany Nuesmeyer and owners John and Shadda Lee plan to open the new eatery on Sept. 1.

The former operators of Bigfoot Pub & Eatery are opening a restaurant and live music venue in the former Prospectors Bar & Grill space in the Wandermere area, on Spokane’s North Side.

John and Shadda Lee, who are husband and wife, plan to open Hammers Bar & Grill on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 12611 N. Division.

Shadda Lee says the menu will be similar to that of Prospectors, featuring sandwiches, soups, steak, pizza, and pasta. The restaurant also will have a salad bar and offer breakfast on weekends.

Lee says a stage for live music performances will be constructed in the former lounge area, where furniture will be removed, and the concrete floor will be polished to create a dance floor.

“The lounge end is going to change into more of a music venue,” Lee says. “We’re going to have live music every Friday and Saturday, and we’re going to have country (music) at least once a month, if not every other weekend.”

Opening night will feature line dance lessons from Sandy Weiss-Plass, owner of Spokane-based Line Dancing With Sandy, from 7 to 9 p.m., followed by country music. General manager Brittany Nuesmeyer has begun booking performances for rest of the year, Lee says.

Hammers will employ about 40 people, she says.

The name of the restaurant is drawn from a defunct Spokane restaurant and live music venue called Swackhammer’s Bakery & Grill. Lee says she and her husband were reminiscing about Swackhammer’s with friends one evening and found inspiration for the name of their restaurant.

“It’ll be a blue-collar, working (class) place,” she says.

The Lees operated and managed the Bigfoot Pub & Eatery on north Division Street for four years, she says. John Lee’s father, Larry, had owned the restaurant until he passed away in 2018, when the restaurant was left to his three children.

Restaurateur Jeremy Tangen recently bought Bigfoot.

“We were thinking, OK, we enjoyed that. We did a good job. Now what? We're not ready to quit,” says Lee, who is 62. 

She says the couple were driving around Spokane when they saw a sign advertising the 12,000-square-foot former Prospectors restaurant for lease through Spokane-based Vandervert Developments LLC.

“We saw the sign in this building and talked to Dick (Vandervert), and we were off and running,” she says. “The building is fully loaded with furniture, kitchen equipment, and dishes.”

Prospectors Bar & Grill closed in 2020.

The restaurant and bar will be open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the health care industry. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys travelling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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