As of late, Spokane’s South Perry neighborhood has become my favorite miniature getaway/hiding spot. It’s just far enough away from the Valley to feel like a minor excursion, but close enough that I can scurry downtown or back to the Valley in a timely manner if need be. The neighborhood’s got just about everything you could possibly need or want, too: a pizza parlor, a natural foods store, a fitness clothing boutique, a great place for fine dining, and a quaint little cafe for meet-ups throughout the day. The latter, simply named “The Shop”, is really a catch-all for the neighborhood: it’s got coffee, ice cream, pastries, lunch fare, vegan and gluten-free options, beer on-tap, and outdoor movies in the summertime. Sounds pretty good, right? I thought so, so I scootered on up there and checked it out.
I first happened upon The Shop by accident during a dinner outing this winter. A friend and I pulled up to Casper Fry one evening, eager to check it out after hearing so many great things about the eatery, only to find that we had arrived on the one day of the week it was closed (Tuesdays, for future reference). Feeling slightly let down that we’d driven all the way up there just to be shut out, we resolved to head across the street to drown our sorrows in a pistachio-topped pie at South Perry Pizza (it was terrific). On our way out, we noticed a wee cafe hidden behind the parking lot next to Casper Fry. Lo and behold, we’d found The Shop.
The Shop opens bright and early at 6am on weekdays, and after an hour or so, the house-made pastries and tarts start to appear. To go with your fresh-out-of-the-oven scone or quiche slice, The Shop offers locally roasted Anvil Coffee. If you’re after something a bit chillier to counter the heat of these sweltering July days, ice cream from Spokane’s very own Brain Freeze Creamery is also ready and waiting for your order. The cafe also hosts six taps, a couple of which serve area brews from breweries such as No-Li, Iron Goat, and Paradise Creek. By the way, The Shop has a killer Thirsty Thursday deal: $2 pints all day! The Shop is ready and waiting to offer air conditioning and a cold one for those seeking shelter from the heat and excitement of the farmer’s market that takes place in front of the cafe every Thursday afternoon.
Adjacent to The Shop is Casper Fry, and the two eateries are separated by the latter’s north-facing brick wall. Not wanting a blank canvas to go to waste, the wall is painted to look like the screen of a movie theater, which, on summery Saturday nights, it is. Throughout the summer, The Shop hosts outdoor movies at dusk each Saturday night, each benefiting a different local charity, and this year’s lineup has something for everyone: The Princess Bride is this Satuday’s feature, and upcoming shows include Jurassic Park, Wreck It Ralph, and, to my delight, The Avengers (remember how awesome IronFest 2013 was? I do). Grab your favorite lawn chair and a bag of popcorn and enjoy a free (FREE!) showing in one of the most charming neighborhoods in town.
It can really be a challenge for a business to try to be everything to everyone, but The Shop does an impressive job at it. Offering a place for locals to grab breakfast, lunch, an ice cream cone, or a cold brew, this hidden gem hits all the right notes. As my last trip there resulted in an unexpected sighting of some rabbits sitting at the table next to me (I couldn’t make this up), I’m curious to see what surprises my next trip to The Shop will have in store (fingers crossed that it involves another peculiar farm animal!).