A Great Team at the Sullivan Scoreboard in Spokane Valley

Posted: January 13, 2011 in Spokane Valley Bars, Spokane Valley Dining
Tags: , , , ,

   I called Elaine about 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2nd of last year and asked her to meet me for lunch  at our usual place, which for lunch is Sullivan Scoreboard in the Valley. She blew me out of the water when she told me that a friend had just called and told her about how the Scoreboard’s owner, Scott Reckord, had been involved in  a deadly pickup-versus-bicycle fatal accident. The news shocked me, but it did not affect my desire to go have lunch at our favorite spot.

   While I think Scott has done a lot of things right at his place, he was never the reason we became lunch special lovers at the Scoreboard and so while our thoughts were with him that day, his presence was not required for us to enjoy our meal. Unfortunately for us, Deanna, Scott’s wife, was at home with him dealing with the tragedy and not in the kitchen at the Scoreboard  where she belongs at lunch. While we certainly understood and were very concerned for her as well, lunch at the Scoreboard is not the same without Deanna.

   But then again lunch is not the same anywhere else either.  Deanna is the special ingredient in their daily lunch special. Everyday she comes up with a new creation for lunch that hits the spot without fail. The only reason I ask her what the special is when I go in is so that I can start to focus my hunger on whatever she has dreamed up that day. I already know I want the special, the only question is what will we be treated to.

   And it is not just me, Elaine and I nearly always share the special. But Elaine is a pickier eater and her self-imposed limitations keep her from trying everything that Deanna comes up with, like say a meatball sandwich. On those rare days that Elaine turns up her nose, we split ways and I adhere to the special while she finds some  safe staple to satifisfy her selective sensibillities.  The only two things in this world that I will not eat are peas and lima beans. But if Deanna said her special was a pea salad with lima bean soup, I would give it a try just to see if she could make a special that I did not like. 

    But that Tuesday Deanna was at home with Scott and the Scoreboard was a somber place to be. One customer who comes in for a while each day to visit with his friends was visibly shaken. I have known the guy, who is retired, for many years and I always enjoy his company. As I talked with him that day, I realized that while he felt terrible about what Scott and Deanna and the other family were going through, most of his concern was whether or not the bar might have to be shut down. The guy loved coming to the Scoreboard to visit his friends and flirt with the staff and just being around people.

   That was almost a year ago and the number of patrons like our friend and ourselves that enjoy the atmosphere and people at the Scoreboard continues to grow.  The place is actually something of a phenemenon. They opened just 3 years ago and they sold more beer than any bar in Spokane this year. Jack and Dan’s was second but stop and think how long they have been around and what a prime location they are at. The Scoreboard location, on a hidden secondary lot behind the Tesoro on Sullivan, is worthy of a dive bar, which is pretty much what it was before Scott took it over.

   So why is this one of, if not the most successful bar in town?  The outdoor area, complete with horseshoe pit, volleyball court and a stage packs out from late Spring to early Fall and has done a lot to put the place on the map. This area is probably two, maybe three times bigger than the building. Here is where the beauty of the ugly location comes into play. No place on prime commercial land could afford to donate so much footage to open spaces. The Scoreboard actually does it’s best business in the summer which is the opposite of every other bar. It is a great example of the benefit of being able to zig while everyone else is zagging or should I say, sagging.

    Beyond the outdoor area, there is nothing obvious that makes the Scoreboard different. It is a square cinderblock building with beer specials plastered all over the walls and poorly ventillated bathrooms. (Patrons are well advised to sit at the opposite end from the men’s bathroom and if you must go Number 2 it is a good idea to wander over to Tesoro lest you exit the Scoreboard’s bathroom to find the nearby customers holding their noses and wiping their eyes as they wait to see who comes out.) They do have lots of good televisions and the N.F.L Season Ticket which was a big draw this year.

   The main reason the Scoreboard has done so well is simple and subtle and certainly not obvious because every place has a version of this factor.  It’s just that the Scoreboard has it in quality and quantity. Last Friday I asked Elaine where she wanted to watch the E.W.U. championship game. I let her pick because I go to watch while she seldom gets involved but she loves to visit with whoever is handy. She chose the Scoreboard because she likes the people there. And they are the subtle difference.

     I’m not really talking about the patrons, though the place does get a respectful, friendly and down-to-earth crowd for the most part. The main attraction, however, is the staff. I know from experience that no brand new place opens with a phenomenal staff. It takes time to weed through and find out who the keepers are. Some places never do really get it just right and that is usually a reflection of  the owners or their managers. After three years, the Scoreboard has it nailed. All of the players are keepers.

    Deanna is the key keeper and I give Scott credit for believing that to the extent that he made her his partner in life as well in the business a year or so ago. People like to talk and gossip and Scott gave them a lot to talk about on March 1, 2010. Personally, I simply feel that I was not put on this Earth to pass judgement given the fact that we almost never know the whole story for one thing and for another thing, I am too imperfect and unwise to think I am above anyone else. But I can pass judgement on what Scott Reckord has created at the Scoreboard. It is to his credit that his place is like the lunch specials we enjoy so much, his presence is not required but it is an added bonus especially if his better half is there with him.

Update: Scott began serving today, Oct.30th for the incident mentioned in the above story. He had told that he and his attorney were hopeful that he would end up serving 16 months. I have not heard if that will be the case or not.
Scotty's Sullivan Scoreboard on Urbanspoon

  1. Joe says:

    Amen sister, good food, good people… and yes always wise to look in the mirror right before spouting off about ones neighbor 🙂

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