Childhood friends share success here in the Inland Northwest
By Jillian Chandler | Photo by Annie Zasadny Photography
It’s those beloved restaurant staples that continue to stand the test of time, serving their communities the best in food and service, while maintaining that feeling of “home.” And since 1996, friends and business partners John Grollmus and Brad Fosseen have remained committed to their community, their staff and their patrons—and their friendship.
John moved to Spokane with his family in 1974. Having worked in restaurants, he went on to complete the hotel and restaurant management program at Washington State University, was involved in several restaurant openings and found success in the corporate restaurant world. With stops from Colorado to Seattle to San Francisco, the Inland Northwest was calling him home. He headed to Sandpoint before making his way to Coeur d’Alene to join forces with Brad to try and open their own restaurant.
Brad was born in Spokane, spending all of his summers in Post Falls on the river. He would leave in 1988 to attend college but returned in 1994. “I’ve always loved this area for all the outdoor activities and beauty of the area. It’s big enough to not be boring—but not too big.” Like John, Brad was drawn to working in the restaurant industry, with a love for the fast-paced environment and making guests feel comfortable and welcome. The pair, who are childhood friends, were working together at a Coeur d’Alene restaurant when they made the decision that it was time to bring their own vision to life.
“Our original goal was to own and operate just one restaurant in Coeur d’Alene. You can’t stop evolution though.” They would open Moon Time in 1996, followed by The Elk Public House in 1999, The Porch Public House in 2003, and Two Seven Public House in 2008.
Their formula for success was to apply all the lessons they learned throughout their restaurant careers to their own place; building on the good experiences and carefully avoiding the negative. Obviously delicious, affordable food served in a comfortable atmosphere and served by genuine, friendly folks is what they have strived for since day one, but what sets them apart is how they go about it.
“Genuinely caring for our employees and trying to take good care of them from all angles is our priority,” says John. “That means not just catching people doing things right and thanking them, but also paying more and providing benefits such as health insurance, retirement and paid vacations. The result is long-term employees—and that ends up benefiting customers who are happy to see the same friendly faces year after year.” And Brad agrees: “I believe it’s a combination of respect, support and thankfulness that ensures we maintain consistent and loyal employees, accompanied by the best benefits and pay we can offer.”
Brad and John are not all work and no play, taking every opportunity to enjoy the beautiful place they call home. “Living somewhere where there are so many lakes, parks and outdoor activities makes living here an ideal spot,” says Brad, who loves being out on the water, boating and fishing. “There are so many waters to explore around here, whether you’re trolling for salmon or throwing flies for trout.”
For John, it’s all about hitting the slopes. “My wife, Kim, and I both love to hike, mountain bike, boat and, more than anything else, ski. Winter is my favorite season, although I enjoy them all. I love the feeling of the cool, crisp air and the way a fresh layer of snow can make everything around you feel new and full of hope.” Kim works as a full-time professional ski patroller, while John works as a backcountry ski cat guide.
With a love for community, their employees, their business and the outdoors, John and Brad will continue to be committed to the place, and the people, that make the Inland Northwest home. They are grateful for all the support they’ve been shown for the past 25 years and look forward to serving you for many more years to come. WeDontHaveOne.com
1602 E. Sherman Ave. #116 Coeur d’Alene, ID
The Porch Public House
1658 E. Miles Ave. Hayden Lake, ID
The Elk Public House
1931 W. Pacific Ave. Spokane, WA
Two Seven Public House
2727 S. Mt. Vernon St. #5 Spokane, WA