By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
The building at 102 S. First Ave. in downtown Sandpoint — known so long as the home of Ivano’s Italian Ristorante — is launching into a new era this summer as two local businesses look to bring fresh life to the space.
The first of those businesses is Heart Bowls, the plant-based cafe known best for slinging its smoothie bowls in the Oak Street Food Court.
Heart Bowls made the change from food truck to storefront on June 4, fulfilling a longtime vision for owner Katie Adams.
“It was always the master plan,” she told the Reader.
Adams, who grew up in Sandpoint, called the well-lit cafe space in the former Ivano’s building a “dream spot.”
“I have been holding out for a spot on First Avenue,” she said. “Others have become available over the past two years elsewhere that were tempting, [but] I really knew that being on First Avenue was what we needed for Heart Bowls.”
Adams said she and her dad worked together to remodel the new location over the past few months.
“I had a very specific vision for exactly how I wanted the space to look and feel,” she said.
Heart Bowls’ new space is bright — white, pink and accented with natural wood — with plenty of plants and a neon “coffee” sign over the hot-pink espresso machine. The inclusion of a full coffee menu, using only plant-based milks at no extra charge, marks a new addition to Heart Bowls.
“We expect the coffee side of our business to be a really fun and passion-infused arm of Heart Bowls,” she said, “as I, along with my team, love coffee.”
Adams said the rest of the menu will remain largely the same, including smoothie bowls, baked goods, avocado toast, rice bowls and more — all vegan.
Adams said she is most excited for Heart Bowls, which is open every day from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., to have finally found its “home” — “a space where we can cultivate our values in our business and create a safe and welcoming space for all.”
“Inclusivity is our main goal with the space,” she added, “and only love will be welcome.”
Just across the patio, Heart Bowls will also gain a neighbor: Blue Room, a new fine dining restaurant. Owner Kim Bond said the name is in reference to the cool, gray-blue shade of paint she and her team chose for the walls while remodeling the space.
“It doesn’t have any deep meaning, but it does have a good vibe for us and … the way we want people to feel when they’re at the restaurant,” she told the Reader. “It’s a little fun, and a little mysterious in a way.”
Kim’s son, Poppy, will manage Blue Room, while local chef Kait Reynolds will guide the culinary offerings.
“We’re calling it fun, healthy fine dining,” said Bond, adding, “We’ve made sure that we have plenty of offerings to please any palate.”
Blue Room will feature live music every night, and open officially on Friday, June 17.
“We’re trying to bring Sandpoint an awesome experience of the meal,” Bond said, “but also, of the whole time that you’re here.”
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