by Jo Miller
The South Hill has lost its garlic go-to spot, the West Wing restaurant on Regal Street.
Raci Erdem, the owner of the Whitehouse Grill and the Oval Office in Post Falls, closed the sister location on Monday night, which had been serving its Mediterranean cuisine out of its upper South Hill mini-mall location for two years.
Erdem said the number-one reason for closing the West Wing was to put his focus on the Whitehouse, the Oval Office.
“It’s easier to run two restaurants next to each other rather than losing focus,” he said.
For Erdem, the West Wing was an expensive venture and one that was ultimately unsatisfactory. The restaurant proved to be too small and would pack out between 6 and 8 pm, but being busy for those hours wasn’t enough.
“We would lose [our] customer base because we were always busy,” Erdem said. “We should have gone to a bigger restaurant. We made a mistake.”
About half of the West Wing employees were able to transfer to the Whitehouse because many were already working at the business’ three locations. Erdem is doing some touch ups back at the Whitehouse to make the original restaurant even better.
"The Whitehouse is the most important part of this company,” he said. “Whitehouse will be as sharp as it has always been and better.”
In case some Spokanites were hoping to get their garlic fix at the Garlic Mobile, formerly parked on N. Division St., Erdem said the food truck is taking some time off. He said he plans to bring it closer to Liberty Lake to have a better eye on it.
A lot people are sad about the West Wing being gone, Erdem admitted, but he said the Whitehouse is where he wants to be.
“I just felt like I wasn’t giving my 100 percent,” he said. “Now it’s 100 percent back to the Whitehouse.”