Have you searched for a Tri-City bakery that offers eclairs and croissants made as they are in France?
Maybe you long for a freshly baked traditional baguette or brioche roll?
Or perhaps you want to see what that cronut (croissant-doughnut) craze that started back East was all about?
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Then you’ll be happy to know that the owner of L’epice Spice Kitchen plans to offer all that and more at a new shop he is opening next to his restaurant at 127 Gage Blvd. in south Richland.
Renovations already are underway and owner Jason LaBarge also is still raising capital to pay for improvements and other needs for the new venture. But he anticipates opening the bakery, which will be similar to a boulangerie or patisserie, before the summer.
“There is a lot of excitement for it,” LaBarge said. “We have people asking about it every day.”
LaBarge grew up in the Tri-Cities, trained as a chef in Portland and has worked in kitchens acround the West. He opened L’epice, which offers French-based modern American cuisine and is his second restaurant, less than two years ago.
He has long offered French-style pastries during his restaurant’s weekend brunch, and they are popular with customers. With a French-trained pastry chef working in his kitchen, he decided about a year ago to pursue opening the bakery after his next door tenant moved out and the landlord offered him the space for a good price.
However, the pastry chef has since left and LaBarge said he’s spent months training another kitchen staff member to fill the gap.
Raising money to pay for the new business has taken time because LaBarge wanted to maintain full control of the project. And, of course, there was a need to maintain the quality of the food and service at L’epice while juggling the extra work.
But opening is close, and LaBarge said that he is excited for people to see what he will offer. Sticky buns, apple fritters, yeast-raised donuts and, yes, cronuts, will be available along with eclairs and croissants and various breads. He does not plan to offer cakes or cupcakes but cookies and macaroons should be available.
Joining it will be the soups and meats, like pancetta and the duck breast pastrami L’epice already produces in-house. There will be some packaged items, such as LaBarge’s own spice blends which he already sells at the restaurant, as well as oils and cheeses he’s ordering from other fine food vendors.
LaBarge has organized special dinners to pay for his new start-up, and the next one is April 24. The 10-course meal paired with wine is $175 a plate. The menu is expected to include ingredients such as morel mushrooms, ramps, halibut and rabbit.
“People who come have a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun cooking (the meal),” he said.
Those interested in attending can book a seat by calling L’epice at 509-491-3512. A 50 percent deposit is required at the time of reservation.
And if you just want to try out what L’epice has to offer, lunch is available 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, dinner is served 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and brunch is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Kennewick’s Grill on Gage closes
Grill on Gage, a bistro on the eastern end of Gage Boulevard across from Costco, has closed.
A sign on the restaurant’s door indicates the restaurant was closed for family reasons.
“The support we have felt over the last several years has been appreciated greatly,” the notice said.
Partners Cara McDonald and Mitch McDonald opened the restaurant in early 2012. The menu was characterized as diner-inspired comfort food.
Benton City winery to offer pizza, host food truck for Spring Barrel tasting
A popular Tri-City food truck and wood-fired pizza will be offered alongside the first tastes of new wines at Benton City’s Tucannon Cellars.
The pizza, prepared by the winery’s own kitchen and oven, will be available noon to 5 p.m. April 22 during this weekend’s spring barrel tasting events across the Yakima Valley. The event offers the first opportunity for wine lovers to sample yet unfinished wines from the latest harvest.
Kindra’s Wok ‘N Roll, which offers Asian fusion food, will be at Tucannon from noon to 5 p.m. April 23. Live music will also be played that day from 5 to 8 p.m.
Tucannon is at 40504 N. Demoss Road.