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Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Fireplace Artisan Pizza in downtown Spokane was extinguished, and, as of April 1 – and that is no joke – Gozo Brick Oven Bistro took its place at 816 W. Sprague Ave. Fireplace’s darkish wooden inside and seafood fare – together with a pizza topped with ahi poke – are gone, and Gozo is on the scene now providing a family-friendly and relaxed ambiance that includes artistic wood-fired pizzas, Outdated World wine and native and regional craft beer.
Jesse Pyles is the managing associate and majority proprietor of Gozo alongside his spouse, Belle, and their son, Dakota. Whereas the Pyles household took possession from next-door Nudo Ramen Home final November, the rebranding and launch of Gozo, which is known as after one of many seven islands that comprise Malta within the Mediterranean Sea, wasn’t till April after reimagining the area and menu.
Gozo – which additionally means “pleasure” in Portuguese, a language by which Pyles is fluent together with Spanish – is impressed by wines from the Outdated World and strives to carry a “hidden nook of the world” really feel to downtown Spokane.
Pyles, who hails from Missoula, is retired from a profession in data know-how and has a doctorate in historical past from Florida State; Belle is from Budapest, Hungary, and a registered nurse; and Dakota’s curiosity lies in geology. Gozo is a end result of their ties and travels to Europe and love of advantageous wine and meals, and it’s their first restaurant.
“Our thought with Gozo was to take it away a bit from the American-style pizzeria. My spouse is from Europe, and my son Dakota, who additionally owns a part of Gozo, was additionally born in Europe,” Pyles stated. “We’re very a lot a European-cultured household though I’m American.
“It made sense to do a European bistro with Mediterranean-style meals. I’m significantly into wine, and in Europe you don’t take into consideration not having a meal with out wine on the desk. We even have 16 faucets of native and regional craft brews. It’s our eating thought – gathering folks across the desk and expertise issues somewhat in another way.”
At Gozo, Pyles presents wines from Sardinia, Greece and Corsica alongside alternatives from Washington, California, France and Germany. “I like discovering wines from the Basque nation of the Pyrenees. Gozo is the way in which we dwell touring to go to my spouse’s dad and mom in Europe and the way in which we now have seen and skilled meals and eating.
“We deliberately, to honor that type, introduced in brie, dates, artichoke hearts, Manchego cheese and gorgonzola and different high-quality, upgraded components. We additionally don’t provide arduous liquor or alcohol or spirits. That was intentional. We all know the margins are higher, however we needed this place to be with a household ambiance and vibe.”
Enterprise throughout the pandemic has been horrible, Pyles stated. “Section 2 was a dud for us,” he stated. “What mattered is the Davenport opening again up, and that’s made an enchancment. We’ve an extended solution to go. From my point-of-view, we badly want Section 3.
“We will limp alongside as long as the Davenport stays open. Since June 5 when it opened, we now have seen an enchancment, however we now have an extended solution to go.”
“We had been capable of keep open throughout your complete pandemic except for closing up March 17 for dine-in, after all, and the whole lot was rebranded by April 1,” supervisor Sebastian Ayars stated. “The most important challenge for us has simply been consciousness. It’s been arduous to unfold consciousness with COVID-19 being at everybody’s forefront.
“April was a horrible month. We minimize down to only two workers – myself and one different man, and we alternated days. It was a horrible month – there was nearly no enterprise.”
One brilliant be aware for Gozo is that buyer response has been constructive.
“Buyer reception has been excessive. Everybody who is available in desires to speak and determine why the rebrand, the whole lot,” Pyles stated. “We’re beginning to get actually, actually good reception. We’d not use salami as a result of we don’t like the way in which it tastes and as a substitute use Capicola. Foodies and different folks actually discover that, and that issues to us.
“With this European and Mediterranean delicacies, we’re aiming for the flavour and the standard. It’s true to position, that’s Gozo’s idea, meals and wines of place. That may be a large deal for us.”
“Buyer reception has been excellent. We’ve dealt quite a bit with previous Fireplace followers,” added Ayars, who’s a Spokane transplant from Atlanta after being born in Coeur d’Alene. “They may name in search of Fireplace Pizza. There have been some staples of the Fireplace model that we weren’t capable of hold. We tried to maintain a model of it however nudge it extra to the genuine area of the place it’s from.
“We’re targeted on meals of place within the rebrand. Speaking with the previous Fireplace followers, we’ve had actually good reception. A variety of them have an interest within the rebrand and nonetheless order from us. We haven’t had any complaints in any way to date in regards to the adjustments.”
The most well-liked pizzas, in line with Pyles and Ayars, have been the Veggie Patch for vegetarians; the Raptor, Raptor for followers of meat (“It’s an homage to birds of prey,” Pyles says, laughing); and a extra broadly Asian-flavored pizza, that was previously a Thai pizza, known as the Dragon’s Kiss.
“We do plan on increasing the menu when the time is true,” Pyles stated, noting that upcoming menu gadgets might embrace Manchego mac and cheese, a German-style potato bisque and an Italian sort of soup. “All the recommendation we’re getting proper now could be to maintain the menu easy for now. There’s a larger plan, however we received’t ever have a 300-page menu. We plan on bringing in additional flavors from around the globe.”
Pyles’ favourite menu merchandise? “I’m a sucker for a gyro. We will’t declare to be a Mediterranean restaurant and never provide a gyro,” Pyles stated. “The recipes are all ours. We construct them, we design them, and Dakota has taken an lively function in that. We additionally provide world well-known sausages from Uli out of Seattle. He’s a German grasp butcher, so it’s good.”
Uli’s Well-known Sausages are a menu favourite of Tristan Campbell, one other supervisor at Gozo, noting the whole overhaul of the menu at Gozo on April 1. “We’ve undoubtedly added to the menu. We’re testing a Manchego mac and cheese. I’m a mac and cheese fan, so I’m undoubtedly enthusiastic about that.” For pizza, Campbell is all in regards to the Oasis Mirage and Pardon My French, the latter he calls “completely implausible.”
“We need to cater to as many taste palettes and folks as potential,” Ayars stated. Trying to the long run, Ayars stated, “I can’t anticipate the enterprise to return and for the nice temper and optimism to return. Clients discover that we now have a small menu proper now, and that’s a symptom of the rebrand and instances.
“We’ve needed to be artistic and proactive, and we’re very excited to get again into the swing of enterprise. We wish Gozo to be a spot the place you’ll be able to let your character move and have a superb time. We’re trying ahead to Spokane getting again to regular and feeling good about being out once more.”
Eating at Gozo Bistro
I’ve stopped in for lunch at Gozo twice, and it’ll change into a daily spot for me and my household and associates. I like figs, dates and brie a lot that I’ve not had the Raptor, Raptor but, and I’m a fan of lotsa meat on pizzas. All three components are appreciably ample within the pizza and salad alternatives.
I’ve checked off Uli’s Well-known Sausage Sampler (the Hungarian and Spanish sausages had been flavorful and juicy; the German Thuringer wasn’t obtainable); the salads Aegean Sirens and Balearic Winds, every with the right quantity of French dressing; and the pizzas New Mexico BBQ, the Enjoyable Gi and Oasis Mirage, the latter taking the lead with its creamy brie fig jam, provolone, mozzarella and goat cheese, bac-ham and honey drizzle. Ayars famous that the Oasis Mirage is also standard with prospects.
For subsequent time, frankly, all of the pizzas on the menu sound scrumptious, from the Raptor, Raptor and Bringing the Warmth to the Dragon’s Kiss and Pardon My French. Having fun with the Outdated World wines is on the high of the checklist for the subsequent cease at Gozo; to date, it has been solely a Tieton lavender honey cider. And, as Pyles stated, there is no such thing as a worth gouging regardless of its advantageous wine, fare and site.
Gozo supplied a sneak peek of its pimento-stuffed cheese pretzels. “They’ve taken away the necessity for a cheese dip,” lunch companion Julien A. Luebbers stated, reacting positively. Artwork by Kristopher James provides a colourful and vigorous contact to Gozo’s fashionable and accessible ambiance. Welcome to downtown Spokane, Gozo – your spreading of pleasure and advantageous wine and meals are most welcome in Spokane’s culinary scene.
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