By Paul Schlienz
Adam Hegsted’s Eat Good Group is one of the biggest things to ever hit Spokane and Northern Idaho’s culinary scene.
“We have 10 restaurants, all of them are different concepts,” Hegsted said.
The restaurants include the Eat Good Cafe, in Liberty Lake – a food court-style restaurant in a business park; Gilded Unicorn – a craft cocktail bar and comfort food restaurant located in the basement of Spokane’s historic Montvale Hotel; Wandering Table – a share plates restaurant in Spokane’s Kendall Yards, featuring seasonal, local foods in a variety of cuisines, paired up with craft cocktails and wines; Yards Bruncheon is a modern diner style restaurant featuring house made diner favorites and mimosas; Le Catering, run out of Spokane Valley, is the catering division; Pocket Bar, soon to be opened at beginning of June, will be a beer and wine bar downtown Spokane with grab-n-go salads, sweet and savory hand pies.
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Additionally, Hegsted operates three Idaho restaurants – the Farmhouse Kitchen and Silo Bar, in Ponderay – a country-style restaurant featuring applewood smoked barbecue and homestyle brunch; the Republic Kitchen+Taphouse, in Post Falls – neighborhood-style pub featuring local breweries and pub fare; and the Honey Eatery and Social Club, in Coeur d’Alene – two restaurants in one: Upstairs is centered around local Northwest, seasonal comfort food while downstairs is share plates and craft cocktails.
“Adam has been a major contributor to the creativity and choices of dining in our region and has been a major force behind creating the foodie scene in the Spokane area and beyond,” said Todd Mielke, CEO of Greater Spokane, Inc.
Hegsted’s reach extends even beyond restaurants.
“Crave! Northwest is our annual festival we put on to show off the best of the Northwest,” Hegsted said. “Chefs, brewers, wine makers, tastemakers, distillers, cideries and artisans all come together for a three-day event from July 11 to 13.”
Hegsted also operates Vital Fit, an online, prepared meal delivery service; Doughlicious Bakery, a wholesale bakery, which will expand into a retail store this summer; Good Foods, a commissary serving all of Hegsted’s locations; Increditruck, a food truck featuring the Incrediburger; and Share.Farm, part of a partnership that will feature an online local foods available for home delivery.
“I like the people,” said Hegsted. “Whether it’s our employees, vendors, farmers, producers and customers, being able to be a part of people’s lives is a role I don’t take lightly. I appreciate everyone involved in helping us be what we are.”
In addition to Hegsted’s massive impact on the Inland Empire’s culinary scene, he also is a strong believer in giving back to the community.
“We believe in our community and we have the power to help,” Hegsted said. “Whether that’s contributing gift certificates, food or services or packaging something together for an auction. It may not be easy for us to give $10,000, but we can help raise it. We regularly partner with Northwest Second Harvest, Big Table, Emerge Coeur d Alene, Inland Northwest Food Network, Spokane Community Colleges, Rypien Foundation and Inland Northwest Blood Bank.”
These contributions are appreciated and do make a difference.
“People like Adam are extremely important in allowing us to continue to fight food insecurity in the Greater Spokane area,” said Steven Brashears, executive director of Feed Spokane.
Hegsted’s roots as chef go way back.
“I always loved baking with my mom, so I guess that was my first start,” Hegsted said. “My real love probably came from eating though. I’ve always love to try new foods and to experiment with flavors. When I got into the business I started as a dishwasher at Marie Callender’s and moved my way up and eventually worked all jobs in the restaurant. At that time, I also was going to chef’s training in high school at the Spokane Skills Center. The more I worked the job and got into it, the more I loved it.
After high school, Hegsted decided to go to Spokane Community College to get a degree in culinary arts.
“There I learned how to be an excellent cook,” Hegsted said. “After receiving my degree, I decided to get more schooling. I wanted a little more higher end refinement skills. So, I went to the Art Institute of Seattle. While there I worked at the Space Needle. I always had time before school and in between work and school, so I spent a lot of time in the library. I read practically every cookbook and restaurant book in their library. That is really where my passion and insatiable appetite for cuisine knowledge started.”
Although Spokane didn’t have a food scene comparable to Seattle or Portland, Hegsted eventually returned to his hometown.
“Every time I went back to Spokane, I really loved being there, so I decided to move back and see what I could make of it,” Hegsted said. “I feel very fortunate to be able to build a company with many of the people I have worked with in our communities. I am truly thankful for all the people involved and who have supported us including vendors, employees, farmers, producers and our guests. It feels great to be able to have such an impact on our communities and hopefully be a catalyst for more great things to come.”