The Revitalization of Spokane is in large part thanks to the creation of a unique, fun and flavorful dining and nightlife scene. After all, if you give people a few good places to eat, they’ll usually want to stick around for more than just the weekend. Ask anyone around town about their favorite restaurant, and you will get a mix of old classics and new up-and-coming places. What makes the scene so fun right now is the amazing variety of flavors our local chefs keep serving up.
In Spokane, the amount of dining options is incredible, and restaurant owners opening here are making sure they are noticed. Newly opened ZONA BLANCA is the first of its kind in the area focusing on ceviche, raw fish cured with lime and salt. Chef Chad White of “Top Chef” fame returns home to Spokane after opening renowned restaurants in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Zona Blanca gives you the incredible flavors Chef White acquired while immersed in the Mexican culture.
TORTILLA UNION is a popular lunch spot for the downtown crowd. Located adjacent to Nordstrom’s, you’ll find a variety of Southwest-style cuisine featuring slow-roasted chicken and pork and slow-braised beef used in many dishes. The focus is on whiskey, bourbon, and scotch concoctions at PROHIBITION GASTROPUB, but you’ll also find local craft beers and both traditional and non-traditional pub fare.
With the Spokane Tribe’s purchase of the Spokane Country Club, a restaurant that was once only available to members is now open for all. 1898 PUBLIC HOUSE has floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping views of one of Spokane’s best courses. Start your weekend brunch with a mimosa or enjoy anything from burgers or fish and chips to lamb or surf and turf for dinner. Locals who have enjoyed following the Couple of Chefs food truck around town will be pleased to hear that Allen Skelton and wife Joile Forral are now serving brunch at their first brick and mortar restaurant, BRUNCHEONETTE. While there are traditional offerings of eggs and bacon, and biscuits and gravy, breakfast goers will also find a spicy start to their day with the verde hash or tamale waffle.
A welcome addition near Sacred Heart Hospital is FLEUR DE SEL ARTISAN CREPERIE. Here, you’ll find the traditional French staple made many different ways. The savory side includes bison and horseradish or salmon and capers; the sweet side has peanut butter and jelly with vanilla cream. Breakfast is served here all day. When Station House Pizza closed down in Hillyard, it didn’t take long for something familiar to open up. The new STATION HOUSE BAR AND GRILL pays homage to its predecessor with some changes. There’s more focus on sandwiches and the bar side of things, but you can still get a pizza here.
In Seattle, the city is defined by its neighborhoods—Ballard, Queen Anne and Capital Hill—and the Spokane dining scene is seeing this shift as well. Restaurants are becoming the focal point of many up-and-coming or revitalized neighborhoods. Instead of choosing one restaurant, many will choose a neighborhood to stop at then make their decision on where to dine. Neighborhoods like Wandermere, The Perry District, Kendall Yards and the University District offer more than just restaurants. On Thursdays in Perry you can partake in the local farmers market for produce, breads, meats and crafts, enjoy pizza, Southern cuisine or pub food, and cap your evening off with a local craft beer from Perry Street Brewing. It’s similar on Wednesdays in Kendall Yards where the street is closed for a night market; you have your pick of several excellent new restaurants, beer and wine tasting at Nectar, and a stroll down the adjacent Centennial Trail to conclude the experience. Even in downtown where space is limited, the Saranac Commons is a space shared by five dining-driven businesses. Restaurant owners see that despite having competition next door, if you give people multiple options and reasons to visit the area, they are more likely to come back again and again.
Spokane’s reputable dining establishments are gearing the focus of their menus on the freshest local ingredients. Food undeniably tastes better the less processed it is and the shorter is has to travel between farm and table. Fruits and vegetables grown in Central Washington can be harvested in the morning and in Spokane before the dinner rush. With a community that goes out of its way to support local businesses, many restaurants are doing their part to invest locally, which keeps more money local in support of community organizations and local jobs.
What’s New & Exciting:
Over the course of the last 15 years, the change in downtown has been incredible. Where there were once nearly condemned buildings, there are now flourishing local boutiques, cafes, restaurants, condos and apartments. Many of these 100-year-old buildings are now being brought back. The craft brewing industry is continuing on its incredible growth, and the downtown core is benefiting from both new breweries opening up and local standbys moving in. Iron Goat’s new brew house and tasting room is a perfect example of investing in an old building and making it shine again. As evidenced by an always-packed tap room, the move downtown is great for business. Also setting up shop is Orlison Brewing. On the west side of downtown, Black Label continues to gain loyal followers, and a shared system between Little Spokane and Young Buck Brewing brings new flavors to downtown. With more than a dozen wine and cider tasting rooms as well, visitors and locals alike can sample all the best in beverages our town has to offer without worrying about driving from spot to spot.