When was the last time you had a grilled cheese sandwich and dipped it in tomato soup? Well, if you love traditional foods but are ready to dial it up, check out the Pesto Grilled Cheese and Tomato Basil soup at Chowderhead. Chef/Owner Travis Tveit says, “The Tomato Basil soup is really more of a dip then a soup.” Like all things on the menu, everything is very recognizable, but also very elevated in the preparation and presentation.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Chef Travis Tveit, a native of Spokane, Travis graduated from Oregon Culinary Institute in 2010. He returned to Spokane and worked as a pastry chef at Wild Sage, as Chef at Iron Goat Brewery, as well as a private caterer. Winner of Spokane’s Chef Battle in 2019, he went on to nationally compete in Las Vegas where he placed third. BooKoo Chef referred to Chef Tveit as “a staple in the culinary community.” Knowing many of the chefs in town, he says, Chef Tony Brown was the Chef he was interested in working with. He first worked in the Monroe building, now Chowderhead, when it was McRuins. When Chef Tony Brown was making some changes, he sold the building to Travis. Travis commented that he feels he was in the right place at the right time to open his first restaurant. With this perfect timing he created the concept for Chowderhead, contacted friends and found the support of local people to help update the place with new floors, table tops, a black ceiling and red walls. That done, Chowderhead opened the doors on March 7, 2022. Now open for just over 3 months, he is very pleased with the people’s response. The tables are full daily and people are liking the vibe. Here’s why…
Currently the décor includes the work of three artists displayed on the red walls. He plans to stay open to artists wanting to show their work and will keep a rotation going. Be sure to look for an original piece to take home while you’re there and support local artists. I found Chef Travis to be a humble and very real dude, and as he looked around Chowderhead he commented that the place is literally an extension of him and what he likes in his own home décor and what he likes to eat. The whole crew is welcoming and seems to be putting their heart into co-creating an awesome dining experience for everyone.
Menu mentionables ~ I was totally on board when I read on the website “Discover Hand-crafted Food made with love, style, skill, care.” Travis says, “I really try to make as much of the menu from scratch as possible.” For example, the burrata is like a mini baguette, but sub sandwich size, baked in-house and used on the Chop Cheese, Cheesesteak and Meatball sandwich. The Smoked Steelhead Chowder is rockin’, and is a staple on the menu, as well as Clam Chowder and a “Special Chowder” that you’ll want to experience. The Pork Belly for the Cuban is braised with aromatics and then crisped up for each sandwich and, my favorite part, they actually make the pickles that go on the sandwich. He explained the process to me and even shared the brind ingredients.
I am working my way through the menu and can say, they really care about each sandwich, giving it the Chowderhead spin. Additionally, I believe Spokanites definitely needed a new soup stop, or should we say “soupary” (I may have just made up a new/necessary word).
Pattie’s Overall Review: Hearty comfort foods!!! Get some!
Customer Service: 5 Atmosphere: 4 (chill and fun) Presentation: 5 Tasty Factor: 5 Notable: Reasonable prices for amazing fare.
Open for Dine-In and Take-Out, Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm.
CHOWDERHEAD SPOKANE 825 N. Monroe St. Spokane, WA 99201 (509) 315-5318
Patricia “Pattie” Elwing, moved to Washington State in August 2020. A West Coast woman, her love for travel and discovering new places leads her around the world and now, around the Pacific North West. Watch for “Pattie Discovers the PNW” articles in the Huckleberry Press where she will offer fresh reviews and information about places she visits. If she sparked a bit of the travel bug in you, or inspires you on your own adventure, leave her a comment below.