15614 E. Sprague Ave
Jars of spices from all over the world speckle the wall with green, orange, bright red and pale colors. There are 120 spices and spice blends in the nautical-themed shop. Most are from the Middle East and Asia — spices like zahtar, besar, baharat and togarashi — then you've got the Smokin' Texas Rub.
Spice Traders Mercantile purchases its spices in small batches, so they don't sit on the shelf for weeks or months, says Bill Coyle, who owns and runs the shop and the adjoining Plantland Nursery with his wife, Jan Love.
Being a specialty food shop, Spice Traders has more than just spices ($3/ounce on average). It stocks 80 kinds of loose-leaf tea, local honey from a farm down the street, craft beer in bottles, and wine from around the world not typically found in supermarkets.
In the middle of the room, the numerous silver jugs of olive oil and balsamic vinegar make the shop a tasting room, too. The oils and vinegars drip out of the spigot like molasses, and a small paper cup can give you a taste of each of the 10 flavored first-cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oils and 28 kinds of balsamic vinegars (about $2/ounce). The vinegars, infused with natural flavoring with no sugar added, come in flavors like fig, strawberry, garlic-cilantro, chocolate and bergamot-lemon.
Soon, customers will be able to attend cooking classes at Spice Traders. The shop, which opened two years ago, is currently expanding its space to double the current size. They planning to bring in new products and hold events and classes in the additional space, which they hope to have ready by the new year, Coyle says.
Fri, Dec. 6 from 5-8 pm
Wall Street between Main and Riverside, downtown Spokane
The food truck movement might have taken its sweet time to get to the streets of Spokane, but if you ask the chefs and business owners who run these mobile operations, they'll tell you they're here to stay. They've got each other's backs, too.
"It's a unique business plan, but we need each other," says Barbara Pagarigan, the owner of Bistro Box, which relocated from Seattle to Spokane this summer.
"It's been proven in other cities that the more trucks, and the more variety of trucks, the more it attracts people," she says.
On Friday night, six local food trucks — Bistro Box, Couple of Chefs Catering, The Jamaican Jerk Pan, Azar's, Veraci Pizza and The Scoop — will set up shop in the pedestrian walkway on Wall Street, between Main and Riverside, for a food truck rally coinciding with the monthly First Friday art walk.
The event, organized by the Downtown Spokane Partnership and the city of Spokane, also will feature live holiday music — and because it's going to be cold, heat lamps. For DSP, the event is not only a chance to showcase the city's burgeoning food truck culture, but to bring people to a downtown spot that has been characterized as a nuisance.
Andrew Rolwes, the DSP's public policy and parking manager, says it's also a pilot program to use the stretch of Wall Street for public events. During a trip to a conference in New York, Rolwes saw how integral food carts can be to the environment of a downtown area. Cities like Portland, Rolwes says, have designated certain areas for food trucks, something that currently isn't in Spokane's plans but shows the power of grouping these mobile vendors together.
Pagarigan says she's been in contact with other truck owners who want to make this sort of rally commonplace — perhaps four times a year. She sees these plans, as well as the city's cooperative attitude toward clarifying rules and regulations for these businesses, as a sign of things to come.
"Based on the reception we've had since last summer, people in Spokane are ready for more great food from trucks," says Pagarigan.