What was the inspiration behind Casper Fry?
Casper Fry was a Southern-born Baptist minister who lived and preached in the South Perry neighborhood where the restaurant is located. He was my great grandfather, and the great, great grandfather to my children, who are my partners.
When were you first inspired to open the restaurant, and how long did it take from concept to opening?
Our restaurant Madeleine’s had been open for a few years, and we knew we wanted to do something more and keep challenging ourselves. Knowing that we had a deep-rooted and rich history in the neighborhood, it seemed the perfect fit. It took just over a year from concept to finish. Knowing that our intent was to pay homage to my great grandfather, it became a rather visceral journey for us. We learned so much about our family history and ourselves in the process.
How would you describe the atmosphere?
We are very detail oriented. With the exception of the chairs, every piece of furniture and fixture was custom made for us by local artisans. It’s warm, but industrial; lots of dark wood, metal and the original brick. The low-vintage lighting and smells of smoke from the charcoal-burning Josper oven all add to the ambiance.
What influences can be found in the cuisine?
The menu is definitely Southern inspired. Our chef and sous chef cooked together for many years in New Orleans. The food is very authentic. We are also fortunate to partner with nearby farmers and ranchers to locally source as much as we can.
What is your favorite dish on the menu?
Personally, the molasses-brined pork chop. It’s served with Creole-mustard mashed potatoes, corn maque choux and red-eye gravy. For my son, I would say the jambalaya, but for many, it’s the shrimp and grits.
What audience does Casper Fry appeal to?
A very wide array of people, however, we’re a family owned restaurant, so we mostly cater to families. Lots of people from our South Hill neighborhoods, but guests come from all over. We are unique for Spokane in what we do, so we appeal to a lot of different people.
What are you most proud of when it comes to the restaurant?
I’m most proud of my family—my kids who are my partners. They’ve grown to be very good people, and we work hard together almost every single day. There is not a single task that they would ask any staff to do that they wouldn’t get in there and do themselves.
What defines success to you?
A couple things, really. Providing an experience, a meal and a cocktail that has our guests leaving happy and wanting to come back. Having them know that we’ve done everything we could, on a number of levels, to take care of them while they are with us. Also, providing jobs for 60 local people. That means a lot to us, and we take our responsibility to our employees very seriously, and we take pride in the fact that we’re helping to build our community.
What are you looking forward to when it comes to the future of Casper Fry?
It’s important to never give up, never stop trying to be better. We’re excited about the team we have right now, and we’re looking forward to making many more friends and filling the seats of Casper Fry with happy people.
928 S. Perry St.