Churchill’s Owner Looking To Re-Open

SPOKANE — Picking up the pieces is going to be difficult but Churchill’s owner Bill Alles says he hopes to re-open his restaurant.

But it depends on two main things: Waiting to see what will happen to the Joel building and overcoming some financial obstacles.

Momentos from Churchill’s Steakhouse were laid out on the sidewalk on Saturday. Computer equipment, bar stools, wine, china, and silverware; all reminders of the past.

Owner Bill Alles didn’t want to go on record but said anything that can be saved is going to storage, carpets are being pulled out and the restaurant will be stripped down to bare studs.

David Matthews with Legacy Construction has been given the task of stripping Churchill’s down. He was expecting the worst.

“I was surprised that there wasn’t more actual black soot damage, it was mainly limited to water damage,” said Matthews.

Mathews spent eight months on the construction of Churchill’s. Now he’s helping clean-up.

“At this point they still haven’t had a structural engineer come down to see what’s going to happen from here,” said Matthews. “My guess is that it’s probably going to be rebuilt at some point.”

But rebuilding could get costly. Alles confirmed that he owes money in back taxes, it’s a debt he’s working to repay. On Tuesday he made a $12,000 payment to the Department of Revenue. He was scheduled to sit down with them on Friday as well, but the Joel Building Fire changed those plans.

Despite the challenges, friends say one family is staying strong.

“Bill and his family keep things together and bring people together still even when they’re the ones who should be better supported,” said Matthews.

Fire officials say crews will be at the Joel buidling overnight on Saturday to watch for any flare ups. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. The future of the Joel building is now in the hands of the building’s owners and their insurance companies.