Five restaurants, same unparalleled dining experience By Jillian Chandler | Photo by Victoria Belle Photography John Grollmus and Brad Fosseen have made a name for themselves, and their restaurants, here in the Inland Northwest. As the owners of not one, not two … but five restaurants spread across North Idaho and Spokane, the longtime friends and business partners are proud of the upscale pub-inspired restaurants they’ve created for their local communities to enjoy.
From first opening their doors to Moon Time in Coeur d’Alene in 1996, their goal, from the very beginning, has been to exceed the expectations of each and every guest who walks through the door. “They may walk in expecting to find typical pub grub, but we hope they walk out blown away by having enjoyed a more elevated and inspired meal,” John shares.
Their original menu, of which some items are still around, was inspired mainly by Brad and John’s experience throughout the years cooking in other restaurants. “We tried to bring the best parts of many world cuisines with which we had experience into one cohesive unit,” John reflects. “These days we seek inspiration mainly from our travels and do a lot of menu testing in our own home kitchens. Of course, we also try to incorporate the input of our kitchen manager/chefs from each location.” They went on to open The Elk Public House in Spokane’s South Hill in 1999, followed by El Que in 2001, The Porch Public House in Hayden Lake in 2003, and Two Seven Public House in Spokane in 2008.
Fresh ingredients, creativity and consistency are at the forefront of their menus. John and Brad take pride knowing that they build everything from scratch with attention to detail during every step of the process. “By making our own stocks, sauces, soups and dressings, along with pretty much everything else, and buying whole foods, which we prep ourselves, we are able to offer the freshest, most delicious, consistent food available,” John shares. “We believe that our dedication to the cause is reflected in the great flavors and consistency of our food.”
They prep their own lettuce and other greens for salads rather than buy pre-processed versions. Burger patties are hand formed, and in some cases they even grind their meats. Chicken breasts are trimmed, cleaned and tenderized for every salad and sandwich. They roast and slice their own meats and buy blocks of cheese and shred and/or slice it themselves.
“Every sauce for every dish, every spread for every sandwich, every dip for every quesadilla, and pretty much anything you can think of, we make in house,” affirms John. “This hard work and dedication to detail was picked up on clearly by Food Network star Guy Fieri while he was filming for Triple D at The Elk when, after watching the whole process for making our smoked onion dip, which starts by smoking the onions, he said in a bit of disbelief, ‘And all this is just for the dip?’ Yes, yes it is, my friend, and that’s why our food is so darn special.”
So what’s on the menu? Probably their most famous, and widely loved, menu item is the Corn Pasta. “A somewhat humble pasta salad which is simply a side item has garnered such a cult following that I almost never make it through a day without someone telling me how much they love it,” smiles John. Another very popular item available at all locations is their 74th Street Gumbo. “Originally created by our Godfather restaurant, the 74th St. Ale House in the Greenwood Neighborhood of Seattle, the process of making the gumbo takes pretty much an entire day, but the results are why people continue to seek it out after 27 years on the menu,” John attests. Some other favorites found on many of the menus, if not all, are the Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich, Caesar Salad, Grilled Lamb Sandwich and, of course, their made famous on the Food Network Reuben—which many agree is the best in the area.
Offering a full bar at each location, they offer craft cocktails to accompany your meal—"without the show and 10-minute wait,” John laughs. Well liquors are always a cut above, so a guest can order anything from the most basic to the most elaborate cocktail and know they will get a quality beverage. Their beer and wine lists are constantly rotating and carefully curated to take the guesswork out of it for the guest. As John says, “Whether you are seeking a dry hopped IPA, a glass of rosé, a crisp pilsner or a glass of cabernet, you can be assured that whatever we are offering is delicious and offered at a fair price.”
Moon Time, The Elk, El Que, The Porch and Two Seven … no matter where you choose to dine, you can trust it’s the right choice. Cheers!
Moon Time 1602 E. Sherman Ave. #116 Coeur d’Alene, ID 208.667.2331
The Porch Public House 1658 E. Miles Ave. Hayden Lake, ID 208.772.7711
The Elk Public House 1931 W. Pacific Ave. Spokane, WA 509.363.1973
Two Seven Public House 2727 S. Mt. Vernon St. #5 Spokane, WA 509.473.9766
El Que 141 S. Cannon St. Spokane, WA 509.624.5412