Goodbye and hello: As Fery’s Catering closes, Morsel by Rind and Wheat opens on Cowley Street

It’s an end and a beginning, as Fery’s Catering & Takeout has closed, owner Fery Haghighi retiring after living and working in Spokane for more than 40 years and renting his building to Ricky Webster for his new Morsel by Rind and Wheat.

Morsel, at 421 S. Cowley St. on the corner of Fifth Avenue, opened April 19 and is an offshoot of Webster’s Rind and Wheat in Browne’s Addition, which opened in late 2020. While many baked goods in Rind and Wheat are also available from Morsel, Morsel’s goal is to offer breakfast and lunch items including sandwiches, bowls and pastries.

For Haghighi, who celebrates her birthday on May 25, it’s the end of an era, and she said in an interview at her home on Saturday morning that the reason was beyond her control.

“Our main reason for closing Fery’s Catering was because of COVID. Couldn’t find any help and tried to stay open during COVID. It was very difficult,” Haghighi said. “I did everything for two years, but I just couldn’t find employees.

“My daughter worried about me and helped me a few days a week. But my children convinced me that it was finally time to retire. I thought I was going to die at Fery’s Catering. I wanted to work as long as I was able.

Haghighi was going to close Fery’s Catering in December if she couldn’t find a buyer by then, but Webster had approached her about the building, before it was even up for sale, during Terrain Table last July.

“Ricky came up to me and said, ‘Fery, if you ever want to retire, I’d like to take your place,'” Haghighi said. She had two or three other interested buyers, but she said Webster was her only choice, even for the rental. “I wanted someone to come in who would be a good ending for me and Fery’s Catering.”

“Ricky, I like him. He’s a very wonderful man. He’s doing really well at Rind and Wheat. My daughter shops there all the time. I’m so glad he’s here. I hope that the people who loved me and Fery’s Catering will follow it. I tell all my friends and have stopped by almost every day.”

Haghighi says of Webster’s pastries: “Everything is really good. The bread is good. The croissants are good. He’s at the start, and he’s nervous. It’s difficult to have two places.

Haghighi and his family arrived in Spokane in 1980 from Iran, and his brother, former Spokane surgeon John Ganji, helped them settle by, among other things, buying them a house. Ganji also helped his sister open Au Croissant, a bakery widely credited with bringing croissants and espresso to the forefront of Spokane’s culinary scene.

“It was a very small town, a mining town, when we came here, with very few food options and bread options,” Haghighi said. “We had to do something in our new house. In Iran, there is a strong French influence in bread, pastries, everything. That’s how the Au Croissant bakery was born, and people really loved the croissants.

Au Croissant closed in 1996, and Fery’s Catering was purchased shortly thereafter and opened. Haghighi credits Fery’s long success in part to Leslie Kelly, a former editor of The Spokesman-Review. “She followed me and was nice and wrote about Fery’s Catering,” Haghighi said. “She sent me a nice note and called me when I retired.”

The restoration was “very successful for us,” Haghighi said, and Nordstrom was one of his longtime customers. Even after the Nordstrom Café opened, the department store hired her for catering events. She fondly recalls catering to very large Christmas events for Nordstrom.

Spokane has been idyllic for Haghighi as a place to run a business and call home. “Spokane has been absolutely wonderful. I never heard anyone say a mean word about us. And now, what about retirement?

“Ricky asked me if I wanted to go to Morsel and still cook on occasion, but I think that’s his place now,” Haghighi. “At first, I wanted to keep the garden I have there. There are many vegetables in the large garden. But it’s his place now, and I want him to do what he wants.

“But I want to support him in any way. Many people have asked me for cooking lessons or to write a cookbook. But I’m not into measurements – I just throw everything together. I do not know yet. Honestly, I’m a little depressed about retirement.

Haghighi thinks her home renovation will give her a boost, and she enjoys traveling with her husband, walking, cooking for family and friends, hosting parties and reading cookbooks. She donates the cookbooks to the library when she has finished reading them.

“I’m going to keep myself busy and busy,” Haghighi said. “I’m not the type of person to sit still.”

And his favorite dishes? “Every simple food is my favorite food. I don’t need a lot of ingredients. Simple, fresh and good is for me and the best thing. One of my favorites is Park Lodge. I love cooking ( by Philip Stanton). It’s very pure. I love everyone. We have a lot of great restaurants and chefs in Spokane.

“I’ve been so lucky to find some wonderful friends here in Spokane. I feel like they are my family and I feel like Spokane is my community. I feel very lucky to be here, and I like it here.

Check back soon for an interview with Webster, who talks about Morsel’s opening and writes the weekly “In the Kitchen With Ricky” column and recipe on Food in The Spokesman-Review every Wednesday. Morsel’s current hours of operation are 7am-2pm Tuesday-Friday, closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

About Erick Miles

Check Also

New hair salon in Arlington will cater to black women — with fast, walk-in service

Growing up, Dana White watched her grandmother feed her friends, listen to neighbors’ troubles, and …