If you head south from Spokane’s downtown, you’ll come across the vibrant South Perry neighborhood. Here you’ll find a wellness bar, a brewery, thrift shops, a bakery, a coffee shop, a pizza place, art galleries and a greenhouse. One of the best farmer’s markets in Spokane occurs here on Thursday evening in summer and the annual South Perry Street Fair draws visitors from all over the area. But South Perry wasn’t always the inviting neighborhood that it is today. In fact, it’s the perfect example of a highly successful revitalization project spearheaded by local business owners.
Twenty years ago, South Perry was considered a low-income area and dealt with significant crime issues. The transition began with business owner Mark Camp, who rented a former mechanic shop in 1994 in order to have space for welding. He had a different vision for the space 5 years later, so in 1999 Camp transitioned the space into a coffee shop dubbed ‘The Shop’.
At the time, it seemed like an odd endeavor, but Camp knew that the area needed a space for the community to gather, and the success of The Shop proves his point. Camp, along with other business owners in the area, petitioned the city of Spokane for grants to revitalize the area and held events to draw attention to the area. It worked well, and thanks to the joint efforts of local business owners and the city of Spokane, the South Perry District has become a bustling community and a highly desirable place to live.
Let’s start where it all began, at The Shop. It’s a popular coffee shop in the heart of the South Perry neighborhood with a patio surrounded by flower baskets in warmer months. They serve local Anvil Coffee Roasters, feature vegan cupcakes and are well known for their huge cinnamon rolls. There are food options and ice cream from Brain Freeze Creamery a few blocks away. During the summer they host an outdoor movie event where guests bring their own chairs and enjoy a movie under the stars. You’ll also find they offer live music every Saturday night featuring local artists. The Shop continues to be a vital place for the community in the South Perry neighborhood.
The Grain Shed
Just down the street from The Shop is The Grain Shed, a bakery and brewery that opened in 2018. What sets them apart is their focus on local grain sourcing, grown and processed in Spokane. Due to the proximity of sourcing and method of processing, the grain they use retains more of its nutrients as opposed to grocery store breads.
In addition to their featured breads, The Grain Shed offers excellent croissants, cookies, brownies, sandwiches and freshly brewed beer. They truly utilize their grain in every way that they can. Doma Coffee Roasters based out of north Idaho are featured here with drip coffee and cold brew options. With ample seating and a patio out back, The Grain Shed is a great spot in the South Perry neighborhood to relax and try some delicious baked goods, perhaps with a side of craft brew.
Several neighborhood shops support a healthy lifestyle for South Perry residents. South Perry Yoga offers a space to practice a wide range of yoga styles and meditation classes. The Wellness Tree is a comprehensive center that features a smoothie bar as well as acupuncture, herbal medicine and naturopathic medicine. Residing in a historic windmill building, Lorien Herbs & Natural Foods has been selling bulk herbs, teas and health foods to Spokane since 1977. When you factor in the weekly South Perry Farmer’s Market, you’ll find that the neighborhood has top-notch options to keep its residents in good health.
Liberty Park Florist
Head north of The Grain Shed and you’ll come across a rather large glass building filled to the brim with plants of all kinds. This is Liberty Park Florist & Greenhouse, one of the oldest businesses in the South Perry District. It opened its doors in 1928 and has been family run for generations. Succulents, indoor plants, flowers, cacti, fresh bouquets and more can be purchased here, so it’s worth stopping by for a little plant perusal.
Even the Lantern Taphouse at Perry St. and 10th Ave. offers a run club throughout the year to encourage a healthy lifestyle. The interior of the taphouse is adorned with brick and a rather large fireplace with the bar off to the side. Their Fish & Chips are infamous, and they have a well-rounded beer selection.
Perry Street Brewing
If you’re looking to try craft beer that is brewed in the South Perry District itself, look no further than Perry Street Brewing. They have been brewing up craft beer in their modern, industrial-chic brewery since 2014.
Their patio is the spot to be on a warm Sunday afternoon, and it’s canine friendly if you care to bring a furry friend. Recently, their charcuterie board was labeled the best in Spokane in Spokane CDA Living Magazine and it is indeed, an excellent appetizer. Their beers are unique, like their Doma Chronic Porter – a collaboration with local coffee roasters Doma Coffee or their Getting’ It Cryo IPA made with Cryo Hops.
After sampling some beer, stroll down Perry Street to do a little window shopping. There are thrift shops, vintage furniture stores, an upcycled clothing boutique, skincare shops and a few art galleries to take in. You’re guaranteed to find a one-of-a-kind item in this neighborhood.
South Perry Pizza
If you’re craving some pizza while in the area, make your way to South Perry Pizza. A neighborhood staple since 2010, they bake up thin crust pizza in their wood fired oven, topped with whatever you choose. Feeling indecisive? Try their inventive specials like their Peach & Prosciutto pizza topped with arugula. They tend to offer seasonal specials in order to offer the freshest produce available. The open floor plan accommodates numerous seats throughout and their patio offers additional seating. While pizza is the focus, their salads are noteworthy as well. Particularly their Bleu 8, which is spring mix topped with candied walnuts and doused in blue cheese vinaigrette.
Grant Park lies at the heart of the South Perry District, offering plenty of green space and walking paths to burn off all those craft beer and pizza calories. It was founded in 1904 and a few upgrades to the park have occurred over the years. It currently features a playground, basketball court, gazebo, tennis court and a lovely community garden. The park lies just to the west of Perry Street off 10th Ave.
If you look at the homes surrounding Grant Park, you’ll see rather charming, historic craftsman builds that largely comprise the style of the homes in the area. Many were built in the early 1900s and fortunately have retained their historic appearance.
Thanks to the efforts of local businesses and the city of Spokane, what was once an avoided neighborhood has become one of the most desirable places to live in Spokane. It draws people from all over the region and is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.