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Latest Version of Liberty Lake Farmers Market Set to Sprout

in Featured/Local Food/Things to Do in Liberty Lake
Liberty Lake Farmers Market

Rain or shine, the 18th annual rendition of the Liberty Lake Farmers Market will roll out this Saturday, complete with new features and a lineup of over 50 vendors.

Longtime market manager, Holli Parker, says the opening of the open-air venue at Town Square Park – 1421 N. Meadowwood Lane – signals the beginning of the warm-weather season for many.

“One of my co-workers said to me the other day, ‘Oh, the market’s starting, that must mean that summer’s here,’” Parker said. “For a lot of people, it’s the sign that the weather’s going to get better.”

The market’s 2019 debut on Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will include new arrivals selling pies, burgers, pastries, and frozen drinks. Staples like Crepe Café Sisters, Veraci Pizza, and Desserts by Sara will also be part of a vendor array that will number 54 on opening day. Parker said the overall vendor count for the season – which runs through Oct. 12 – stands at 70. The folk stylings of local musician Brad Keeler will also be part of the atmosphere on Saturday.

Market regulars will miss the site of Lenny Munguia’s Jalapeno Heaven truck this year. One of the market’s inaugural vendors from 2002, Munguia has decided to shelf the salsa and burritos for now, although he still serves on the market’s board of directors.

Parker said that while fresh, local produce may not be as abundant early in the season, marketgoers will find plenty of plant and flower starts. There is also a vendor selling “micro-greens,” tasty roughage perfect for healthy salads.

Based on standards established by the Washington State Farmers Market Association, markets throughout the Evergreen state must account for at least half of their sales coming through local farmers. Parker said she and other board members are “observant and thoughtful about who we’re bringing in.”

“We want a good variety,” she said. “We’re not just going to bring in 50 Rice Crispy Treat people.”

Parker can remember the market’s debut on a drizzly Saturday 18 years ago when eight vendors huddled beneath plastic tarps while a paltry crowd wandered by.

“From where we started to where we are now, it’s amazing,” she said. “I’m so proud of this community and these people. I love our vendors and I love our board. We all work so well together.”

Holli’s uncle, Jim Frank and her mother, Susan Parker, first came up with the idea for the Liberty Lake Farmers Market as a way to support local farmers and create a friendly community gathering place. Almost two decades later, those goals and more appear to have been accomplished.

“It’s fun to see it get better every year,” said Frank who is a regular at the market each Saturday. “It is a Liberty Lake institution and really contributes to a strong sense of community.”

Holli said it’s gratifying to see vendors like Veraci’s start from market roots and establish successful brick-and-mortar sites like their restaurant in Kendall Yards. Another recent vendor, Glorious Bakery, found a landing spot over the winter, selling bread and other products at My Fresh Basket.

Market highlights this year include the Italian Festival (July 13), Pie Festival (Aug. 10) and Art at the Market, pared down to one day this September with a date to be announced.

Besides serving as manager in all but two years of the market’s existence, Parker says she relishes the opportunity to shop for groceries, reconnect with old friends and soak up the market’s positive energy.

“I just love going to the market,” she said. “Even though it’s a Saturday, I know I’m not going to sleep in.”

To learn more about the Liberty Lake Farmers Market, visit:

Liberty Lake – Home of the “Grilling Gods”

in Featured/Local Food
Grilling Gods bbq

Grilling Gods logoLiberty Lake couple, Casey McClarty and Cassie Molloy, are the real Grilling Gods. The couple began as sales reps for a food and spice related business, then consulted for a local spice company prior to beginning their own business. They reside in Liberty Lake and create their rubs in a commercial kitchen in Spokane Valley.

Grilling Gods was born after the couple received a phone call from a friend who worked at the Gozzer Ranch in Harrison, Idaho. He asked them to create a rub that the ranch could use for their pork ribs because the head chef wanted to support a local business. Hence the birth of “Sweet Backyard BBQ.” After learning the chef and their customers loved their BBQ rub, Casey and Cassie created three more blends and started their brand “Grilling Gods.”

They now have four flavors, all of which are Gluten Free and have no MSG. The first three below are also sugar free.

  1. “Steak & Bake” – Is their top selling flavor which takes the best parts of a Montreal style and incorporates California grown garlic and mustard seed.
  2. “Salt of the Gods” – Is their newest and has quickly become a top seller. This amazing all-purpose seasoning is loaded with tons of domestic garlic, fresh pepper, onion, sea salt and smoky hickory flavor, creating a Johnny’s style rub without any sugar, msg. or fillers!
  3. “Southern Heat” – If you like a little heat with a whole lot of flavor, this may be the one for you. It has a unique combination of Cajun and Hispanic flavors, creating an absolutely outstanding profile with just the right amount of heat.
  4. “Sweet Backyard BBQ” – This rub is the Grilling Gods take on a traditional sweet BBQ dry rub with the flavors of fresh chili powder (without any heat) and an amazing cinnamon sugar blend that has half the sugar of traditional brown sugar rubs.

Grilling Gods does not have a retail store, however you can purchase any of these online at, at Yoke’s Fresh Market, Sonnenbergs, Tim’s Meats and at FMI Equipment. Grilling Gods will also be at Fairwood on Tuesdays, Kendall Yards on Wednesdays, the Spokane Valley Farmers Market on Fridays and the Liberty Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Grilling Gods is a small family business working hard to build a loyal following for their brand by focusing on customer service, amazing flavors and affordability for families. They also donate to Soldiers’ Angels through special sales throughout the year.

Grilling Gods rubs

Fujiyama Adding Sushi Bar to Liberty Lake Location

in Featured/Local Food
Fujiyama sushi bar in Liberty Lake

The Liberty Lake community will soon have another opportunity to please their palate.

After receiving many requests, Fujiyama will be opening their new sushi bar on Thursday, May 16th.

General Manager, Laura Cael states, “We’ll be offering at least 15 specialty rolls plus many traditional rolls. Fujiyama is growing along with Liberty Lake and it’s exciting for us to be a part of it. We’re looking forward to bringing more sushi options to the community. We’ll also be opening our patio area with all new furniture on Thursday.”

Summer hours are currently:

  • Sunday Noon – 9 p.m.
  • Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Big Island BBQ in Liberty Lake (Review)

in Featured/Local Food
Big Island BBQ sign

Generally, when a new restaurant opens in Liberty Lake, my family and I rush to try it. Big Island BBQ was no different.

It wasn’t love at first sight.  

Big Island BBQ coupleOn opening day, the first day of March, we attempted to give it a try but found there to be a long line of other Liberty Lake residents hungry for some new flavors. A few food allergies require me to ask some questions the first time we visit a new establishment, so we decided to skip it and try again when Twenty Questions wouldn’t be such a burden.

After a few days, the reviews started coming in and they were not all positive. Some were frustrated with disorganization over the first days of operation and others didn’t care for the food. With this information and not yet verifying what menu items would work with my food allergies, we didn’t rush to give it another try.

On April 14, six weeks after opening, a friend invited us to brunch at Big Island for a Meals on Wheels fundraiser.

It was love at first bite.

Big Island BBQ in Liberty Lake plate

The staff was extremely friendly and helpful; the portions were generous, and the food was delicious. I was there to visit with friends and cover the event, but I couldn’t stop eating. I am not embarrassed to share that I cleaned my plate and then started picking at my wife’s plate.  The steamed clams, pork adobo, and citrus salmon were great. Sauce options with different citrus and spice flavors added a nice kick to the rice.

At this point, I was hesitant to write a review as it didn’t align with some reviews I had seen. So, I gave them another try.

Since that first experience, we have been back twice. We tasted various sides, the pulled pork, short ribs, and curry meatballs. The food was superb both times. At each visit, we learned a little more about the food as the team explained some of their island roots and traditions.

In addition, it is refreshing to find a restaurant where most of the menu is dairy and gluten-free.

What about the haters?

Big Island BBQ in Liberty Lake plate

All that being said, I can see where some guests may not have cared for it. Some of the reviews I heard describe the meat as tough or fish as dry.  Most of the food is pre-made and sits in covered food wells where controlling the moisture and temperature of meat is challenging.

This hasn’t been my experience at Big Island, but I expect it might be some day. I won’t mind if it is tough or dry some time. The benefit of “fast-food” that is not bland or greasy is so appealing to me that I would be ok with a little over cooked fish or chicken.

Bottom Line

Overall, I found Big Island to be a good value, provide fast service, have dedicated owners, friendly staff, and deliver delicious, diverse flavors.

I recommend giving Big Island BBQ a try and if you weren’t impressed on your first visit; give it another try.

For more information on Big Island BBQ hours and location, visit their website:

Did You Know: All of the Liberty Lake Golf Courses include Restaurants

in Featured/Local Food
did you know golf courses

It is difficult to miss Palenque; the Mexican restaurant sharing a building with the Trailhead Golf Course pro shop. It is visible from the intersection of N Liberty Lake Lake Rd and E Country Vista Dr.

However, unless you are a golfer or live around the course, you might not know that the other two courses have restaurants as well.

Both MeadowWood Golf Course and Liberty Lake Golf Course include restaurants. They are both open to the public during golf season.

We have added their addresses and phone numbers to our Liberty Lake restaurant list.

25 Percent of Restaurants in Liberty Lake are Pizza

in Featured/Local Food
Liberty Lake pizza at 25%

In my opinion, Liberty Lake has become 5% better over the last year.

In September 2017, I reported that 30% of the restaurants in Liberty Lake were pizza.

With the recent additions of Phở Liberty (Vietnamese), Fujiyama (Japanese), Cafe 19, and Big Island BBQ (Pacific Islands), the community gained more diversity in flavor and choices for dining.

Here is the updated list:


  • Brother’s Office Pizzeria
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Fieldhouse Pizza & Pub
  • Papa Murphy’s Take N’ Bake Pizza
  • Piccolo Artisan Pizza Kitchen
  • Pizza Hut

Not Pizza

  • Barlows Family Restaurant
  • Big Island BBQ
  • Bobby’s Cafe & Catering
  • Cafe 19
  • Carl’s Jr.
  • Cork House
  • Ding How
  • Eat Good Cafe
  • Fujiyama
  • Hay J’s Bistro
  • Jimmy John’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Palenque
  • Pho Liberty
  • San Francisco Sourdough Eatery
  • Subway
  • Taco Bell
  • Taco Time
  • The Well
  • True Legends Grill

Which pizza place is your favorite?

What restaurant would you like to see move into Liberty Lake?


  • These numbers do not include places that serve food, but food is not their primary product. (Starbucks, Just Chillin’, Yoke’s, etc.)
  • These numbers do not account for restaurants or places where you could order pizza. (Farmers Market, True Legends, etc.)
  • As of Aril 15, 2019

Big Island BBQ Donates to Meals on Wheels

in Featured/Local Food
Mollie Dalpae and Berni Young

Sunday, Big Island BBQ in Liberty Lake held a fundraiser brunch with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Meals on Wheels Spokane.

Guests enjoyed generous portions of citrus salmon, pork adobo, seafood lolo-laulau, Marianas shrimp patties, sides, and pastries.

At the end of brunch, Big Island BBQ presented Meals on Wheels Spokane executive director, Mollie Dalpae, with a check to support Meals on Wheels; which delivers meals to disabled or homebound seniors in Spokane.

Big Island BBQ owners, Bernie and Cody Young, stated:

We want to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who helped put this in motion. Most especially Tom Sahlberg who has been a great partner.

We hate the thought of people being hungry and lonely and our support of MOW is our small way of trying to help.

For more information on Meals on Wheels, visit

For more information on Big Island BBQ, visit

Liberty Lake’s Mobile Concession Stand (“Food Truck”) Regulations

in Featured/Government and Politics/Local Food
Liberty Lake Planning Commission

The Liberty Lake Planning Commission met on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 in the City Hall Council Chambers and passed a motion to approve the following proposed amendment:

  • Allow “Food Trucks” on private property as an accessory use in the “I” zone by temporary use permit when associated with an existing business.
    • Require site plan to address location on private property, traffic circulation, refuse disposal, fire extinguisher, seating (if applicable);
    • Require City of Liberty Lake Business License and Health Department Food Vendor Permit.
    • Limit the hours of operation for food truck to the hours of operation of the principal use on the subject property.
  • Incorporate “Director’s interpretation” from Policy Bulletin No. 21 into code related to “temporary use permits”:
    • Waive permit requirement for individual vendor booths within a larger non-profit special event permit provided the vendor has been included in the site plan for the event.

A secondary motion was made and passed to recommend the City Council review implementation of allowing Food Trucks as an accessory to a business or event at 1 year and to consider expanding Food Truck use for a non-accessory business.

The above amendment will now go in front of the Liberty Lake City Council which will meet on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 at 7 pm.

Liberty Lake Wine Cellars: Where great wine and good friends meet!

in Community Spotlight/Featured/Local Food
Liberty Lake Wine Cellars building

Since meeting in 2005, Mark and Sarah have dreamed of entrepreneurship and owning and operating a winery. That dream became reality in January 2016 when they purchased the Liberty Lake Wine Cellars (LLWC) from Doug and Shelly Smith.

In 2017 the couple moved the winery from its original home overlooking Liberty Lake to their newly built winery located in the heart of Liberty Lake. The new winery allows them to produce approximately 1500 more cases of wine than the previous location. It boasts a larger tasting room, production space, and barrel storage area.

Mark and Sarah have embraced an interactive winery with all wine production taking place on-site. Grapes are harvested in September and October, pressed in October and November and every bottle of wine is bottled by hand during the spring and summer months.

Since purchasing the winery, the couple has invested into upgrading their barrel program to primarily American made barrels with a very tight grain which act like French barrels. They’ve also made some changes to their Wine Club. Speaking of which, if you are interested in joining one of their three Wine Clubs, don’t hesitate. The Wine Clubs are approximately 150 people away from having a waiting list. Each Wine Club was named after the community: Lake Club, Eagle Club, and Pavillion Park Club.

Since opening, Mark and Sarah have enjoyed making big bold reds and have added a second label, Tahija, introducing whites, rosés, and other reds. Recently released and very well received are the 2016 Bud Burst Reserve Red Blend, 2014 Heritage Reserve Red Blend and the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. Upcoming releases include: 2016 Petit Verdot, 2016 Syrah, 2018 Tahija Dry Riesling, and 2018 Tahija Sangiovese Rose’

“Because we buy great Red Mountain fruit we can take a hands-off approach to winemaking, let the grapes do most of the talking, and focus on having a little fun,” comments Mark. “All of our wines (except one) are fermented to dryness (i.e. no residual sugar.) They are also vegan because we don’t find them with additives.”

Both Mark and Sarah love being a part of the community and enjoy offering and introducing extraordinary wines to inspire the palate of all who walk through their doors. Sarah states, “Liberty Lake is such a great community, so supportive of its citizens that we’ve had a lot of fun creating events for the community and partnering with various local organizations. We’re excited to do more.”

In addition to being a great place to enjoy a savory glass of wine and antipasto plate with friends and neighbors, the Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is also a fantastic place to hold private events: Milestone birthday parties, bridal showers, business meetings, etc. Mark and Sarah hold various events at the LLWC including Bottle Painting, Sign Making, an annual Liberty Lake Library Fundraiser, a Mother’s Day event, plus many more. You can view their scheduled events under the event tab on their webpage

As of April 01, 2019, Mark and Sarah expanded their hours to:

  • Wed, Thurs & Fri: 1pm-8pm
  • Sat & Sun: Noon – 5pm

Stop by and tastes the new releases or enjoy a glass of an old favorite.

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