By Ben Olson, Cameron Rasmusson and Lyndsie Kiebert
There are a lot of great places to eat in the greater Sandpoint area. This issue is dedicated to foodies, locals on a budget and those who are simply seeking a new place to dine. Here’s the idea: We asked every restaurant in the region (except for chain restaurants) to share one dish with us, and we have shared the results with you in the next few pages. Whether you’re a regular or haven’t been yet, do yourselves and the community a favor: Give these restaurants a shot if something sounds good. Tell ‘em the Reader sent you.
Sandpoint — in no particular order
330 N. First Ave.
Arlo’s, which recently celebrated 17 years in Sandpoint, is a family-owned and operated Italian restaurant on the shores of Sand Creek in Sandpoint. With live dinner music on the weekends and a great selection of traditional Italian favorites, Arlo’s is a great place for date night or family dinner. Don’t forget to check out the delicious antipasti menu with amazing seafood options.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. / 5-10 p.m.
One Dish: The best-selling entree, other than the garlic bread, is the Penne Alla Panna with Sausage. It comes with penne pasta, Italian sweet and hot sausage, marinara and a touch of cream. $14.95 for dinner entree or $9.95 for a lunch entree.
102 S. First Ave.
Ivano’s Ristorante is a big part of Sandpoint food culture. First opened in 1984 on Valentine’s Day, restaurateur Jim Lippi named it for his father, Ivano Lippi. Ivano and Jim have passed on now, but their legacy is very much alive, with authentic Italian dishes served with that touch of excellence that has left a lasting impact for more than three decades.
Hours: Dinner 4:30-close – 7 Days a week
One Dish: The Cioppino. “We only do it during crab season while the meat is fresh,” said co-owner Nolan Smith. “Our chef Carl Agazzi came here to help Jim open the original Ivano’s on Second and Lake. He came from the Bay area and brought the Cioppino recipe along with.” Smith said the secret to making good cioppino is amazing stock, and that can only be accomplished with fresh crab. Along with the crab there is an assortment of seafood: fresh fish, clams, mussels, prawns, calamari tubes and tentacles. This is mixed with a slightly spicy stock, tomato sauce and fresh garlic. Ivano’s will be serving this amazing dish for the next couple of months, and since it is fresh, quantity is limited. If making a reservation, ask for it by name and they’ll save you an order or two.
Eichardt’s Pub & Grill
212 Cedar St.
A Sandpoint institution since April 1994, Eichardt’s Pub & Grill is a perfect mix between a public house, a watering hole and an eatery with a world-class menu full of conscientious choices featuring high-quality fare. Plus, the specials board is updated every day with amazing choices. It’s the type of place Norm from “Cheers” would have his name called out the moment he walked in. It’s that kind of awesome. Garlic fries rock!
Hours: Opens at 11:30 a.m. every day – kitchen open ‘til 10pm. Pub is open as business dictates after that.
One Dish: The Chicken Marsala features a flour-dusted seared chicken breast, mushroom-Marsala cream sauce over fresh spinach and pub-made risotto cakes for $18. “But of course, our specials board is the way to go,” said owner Jeff Nizzoli.
Irish American Brewpub
Opened 11 years ago, MickDuff’s Brewpub has consistently reigned as a top eatery in Sandpoint. Featuring a menu packed with mouth-watering pub fare, a great selection of burgers and sandwiches and daily handmade soups, MickDuff’s is a great choice for the casual diner who also wants to share a beer brewed right here in Sandpoint.
Hours: Winter – Sunday-Thursday, 11am-9pm, Friday-Saturday ‘til 10pm
One Dish: “Year in, year out, our most popular dish is the Brewer’s Burger,” said co-owner Duffy Mahoney. The burger comes with a locally-made brioche bun, all-natural beef, nitrate-free bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese and can be accompanied by fries, waffle fries or chips (their potatoes are hand-cut and purchased from an Idaho farm) or one of two daily soups or salad. You can also substitute the patty for a Kobe beef patty.
Connie’s Cafe has that great old-fashioned diner look we all love. From the breakfast counter to the comfy padded booths, Connie’s is passionate about offering home-style food in an unpretentious manner. The bar attached to the rear of the restaurant is also a great place to enjoy a Bloody Mary on those mornings after.
Hours: 7am-9pm • 7 days a week
One Dish: The 8-ounce Bone-In Pork Chop with apple compote and white cheddar mashed potatoes for $12.95.
A&P’s Pub and Grill
222 N. First Ave.
Bar and Grill
There aren’t many options for late-night food in Sandpoint, so A&P’s will always have a special place in my heart for those reasons. But late-night or not, the food offered at this unassuming eatery/bar is phenomenal. Whether it’s the world-famous P.J.’s Cheeseburger or specials offered each day of the week, it’s a great place to have a beer and a quick, hearty bite. The full menu is served every day open to close.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-1:45 a.m. • Sunday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
One Dish: “Our very own World Famous P.J.’s Cheeseburger with classic French fries,” said manager James Mize. “The P.J.’s burger has been served at A&P’s for decades.” Staying true to the original recipe created years ago, this juicy burger is made fresh daily with local Woods ground beef, served simply with pickles and onions. “And yes, we still have that spicy mustard recipe, too!” said Mize.
Di Luna’s Cafe
207 Cedar St.
Di Luna’s is one of those places with a lot of great stuff going on. Their breakfast is to die for, featuring an excellent array of eclectic dishes and home-style favorites (plus a great selection of eggs benedict dishes). The lunch menu features a great smattering of sandwiches and bistro-style entrees loaded with fresh produce and an excellent selection of protein options. Plus, they usually have live music and a dinner menu a couple times a month, with one of the best listening rooms in town for music. All-star place.
Hours: Weds through Monday – 8am – 2pm
One Dish: The Reuben sandwich. Owner Karen Forsythe said, “Our Reuben sandwich is far and away the most popular. We’ve been told that it’s better than any other, anywhere (and that by people from New York). I don’t know if that is true or not, but it is awesome.” The Di Luna’s Reuben features corned beef that has been slow roasted for 12 hours and hand sliced, served with fresh sauerkraut, homemade thousand island dressing on grilled marble rye. Mmmm.
907 Fifth Ave.
Burgers and Ice Cream
Who hasn’t had a burger from Serv-A-Burger? If not, what are you waiting for? The quiet burger joint just north of the Comfort Inn has those home-style features you love: crushed ice in the drinks, big burger patties cooked with care, items made from scratch and delicious milkshakes in a ton of different flavors. They just celebrated 30 years in August!
Hours: 10am – 8pm 7 days a week
One Dish: “The Logger’s Combo has been our premier choice for 30 years, from back in the day we were a logging community,” said owner Joe Mire. It’s a double burger constituting a half-pound of burger with mayo, onion, pickle, lettuce, ketchup and tomatoes. “Everything is made to order fresh,” said Mire. The Logger’s Combo comes with choice of fries or onion rings, which are made fresh every day. “We slice the onions, soak them overnight, then dip in our secret ingredient which has to do with vanilla ice cream mix,” said Mire. “It’s labor intensive, but it’s our calling card.”
Hwy 2 W.
Burgers and Ice Cream
This iconic burger and ice cream joint in Sandpoint feels like stepping back to a simpler time, with big meaty patties, soft-serve ice cream, a ton of shake, slush and sundae options, and fried favorites all over the menu. It’s a great place for families or a quick bite. Don’t forget they serve breakfast, too!
Hours: Tues. – Fri. 6am-9pm • Saturday 10am-9pm • Sunday 11am-9pm • Monday 10am-8pm
One Dish: Bulldog Burger. Two quarter pounders with ham, bacon, Swiss cheese and American cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles and onion. $6.58.
Spud’s Waterfront Grill
102 N. First Ave.
Spud’s is one of those places where you can’t go wrong, no matter what you order on the menu. They usually have a half-dozen homemade soups available every day, and the sandwiches and baked potatoes are to die for, each with homemade sauces and flavors that leave a lasting impression. Pair that with one of the best dining decks in town overlooking Sand Creek, and you’ve got a winner. Don’t forget about their amazing breakfast options, too!
Hours: 8am – 4pm • 7 days a week
One Dish: Capistrano is the most popular sandwich. It’s on a fresh-baked poor boy roll baked at Safeway for over 20 years with Spud’s original recipe. Homemade honey cilantro habenero mayonnaise made at Spud’s. Lettuce, fresh sliced tomato, house-roasted turkey, avocado slices and a drizzle of sauce on top. $9.75.
The Pie Hut
502 Church St. #A
Bakery American Hearty
Upon entering the Pie Hut, a hungry customer is made even hungrier by the competing smells of savory soups, fresh-baked pies and delectable sandwiches. The eatery located across Fifth Ave. from Columbia Bank is a great choice for comfort food, where you can get everything from chicken pot pie to a Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich with, of course, a slice of your favorite pie for dessert. Everything they do here is great.
Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10:30am – 6 pm / Saturday 10:30am – 4pm
One Dish: Jalapeno Popper Sandwich. Oven-roasted jalapenos, thick-cut bacon, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and apricot pineapple jam on a panini sandwich on ciabatta. $9.95.
Cedar St. Bistro & Espresso Bar
334 N. First Ave. (inside Cedar St. Bridge)
Cedar St. Bistro has a little bit of everything. Organized as a spot to grab quick bites of comfort food, the menu includes a selection of wraps, sandwiches, flat bread pizzas, as well as bistro-style side dishes, baked goods and yummy desserts. They also offer breakfast items, as well as a full service coffee bar and wine bar. Throw in live music every week, a friendly, helpful staff and an amazing view of Sand Creek, the Cedar St. Bistro is one of those spots that caters to everyone.
Hours: 7am-5pm 7 days a week
One Dish: Chicken and Basil Crepe. Basil pesto, thin strips of grilled chicken, sauteed mushrooms with scallions and spinach and parmesan cheese, topped with a savory cream sauce. $9.75, comes with your choice of side salad, or pasta salad.
414 Church St.
Deli Sandwiches and Breakfast
Located inside the Columbia Bank building in Sandpoint, Tango Cafe is known for its savory selection of breakfast and lunch items that cater more toward gourmet down-home cooking. With locally sourced meats and produce, as well as a hearty selection of side dishes, pasta salads and other fun accoutrements, Tango is also a go-to caterer for many of the public meetings that take place within the Sandpoint Center. Also, breakfast is available all day. Cool.
Hours: 7am-4pm Monday through Friday
One Dish: The Harold’s Special, which was named after the old grocery store that used to be here. Barney Ballard (who started Tango Cafe) named it, and it’s stayed that way. It’s a classic breakfast, but healthier, with ham, bacon or sausage from local Woods Meats, two eggs, whole grain toast on la brea bread and home-style potatoes for $8.
Second Ave. Pizza
215 S. Second Ave.
If you like big, hearty pies and that old-time pizza parlor feel, Second Ave. Pizza is definitely the place for you. With a stellar jukebox, unique pizzas that take some serious upper-body strength to lift, and one of the best selections of ingredients in town, Second Ave. Pizza is also headquarters for the annual Lost in the ‘50s Weekend in Sandpoint. Do it!
Hours: Monday-Friday 11am – 9:30pm, Saturday 3-10pm, Sunday 3-9:30pm
One Dish: One of the most iconic items on the menu is the Carolyn’s Special, which started as an off-menu item for Schweitzer lifties and regulars and morphed into one of the most popular choices at Second Ave. Pizza. The pie comes with red sauce, mozzerella cheese, pepperoni, fresh de-stemmed spinach, light all-natural olives, light mushrooms, light onions, lots of fresh garlic, granulated garlic, Canadian bacon, pesto spread onto the bacon and artichoke hearts placed on top of that with a light dusting of cheese. After that cooks and melts down, they add fresh tomatoes on top and sprinkle more cheese, bake it again and voila, you have the biggest, tallest and most delicious pizza in Sandpoint named for owner Carolyn Gleason. Who’s hungry now?
The Hound Downtown
202 N. First Ave.
The Hound Downtown is an extension of the original Powderhound Pizza which began on Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort. With a menu chock full of specialty pizza options, a great selection of appetizers with everything from chicken wings to spare ribs, and a smattering of aptly-named sandwiches you can’t find everywhere. It’s also a great place to have a beer with friends while you wait for your carryout pizza.
Hours: 11am-“until we stop having people in here,” 7 days a week.
One Dish: “The Garbage Can pizza is one of our most ordered items,” said morning manager Seth Tcha. It comes with red sauce, pepperoni, black olives, green peppers, yellow onions, mushrooms and bacon on top. “It’s a mix for people who like everything on pizza. You’ve got meat, veggies, and we cook it to the point where the bacon is crispy and the veggies are tasty. It’s a wonderful pizza for the family to eat, feel full and have some to take home for later,” said Tcha. A large will run you $26.50 and it is excellent on thin crust or gluten-free crust as well.
Baxter’s on Cedar
109 Cedar St.
Baxter’s has rapidly become one of Sandpoint’s most popular fine dining restaurants. With an elegant, modern dining room, a knowledgeable and happy staff and some of the most original entrees in town, Baxter’s is definitely worth a stop if you haven’t been yet. Don’t forget the key lime pie for dessert!
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11am – 9pm
One Dish: Chef Steve Nye recommends the Lobster Roll: “It’s mayonnaise-based, and we use lobster meat from the claws as well as the tail.” The roll comes on a specialty roll from a bakery in Utah, has celery, chives, salt and a little cayenne and lemon juice, as well as Boston Bibb lettuce and homemade coleslaw on the side for $14.
Secret Thai Cafe
218 Cedar St.
Tucked in the alley behind Eichardt’s Pub, Secret Thai is no longer a secret in Sandpoint. Featuring a wide selection of traditional Thai dishes, as well as more adventurous choices that borrow from other cultural cuisine, Secret Thai offers great high-quality food at down-to-earth prices. It’s one of our favorite spots for lunch here at the Reader.
Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:30am – 7:30pm • Saturday 4-7:30pm
One Dish: The Cashew Chicken is one of those dishes that will quickly end up on your favorites list. Featuring peppered chicken, broccoli, onions and signature cashews in a savory delicious sauce and healthy scoop of white rice, this dish for $11.95 can easily leave leftovers for two meals.
Jalapeño’s Mexican Restaurant
314 N. Second Ave.
Jalapeño’s knows how to do Mexican food right. From the moment you sit down, you are greeted with a basket of torilla chips and salsa. Entrees cover everything from traditional Mexican fare to specialty items and combinations. It’s a great place for families, for date night, or for hungry souls seeking excellent quality food. And, as an added perk, the kitchen is one of the fastest in town, serving your food piping hot with a minimal wait, even on those busy Friday nights. What more can you ask for?
Hours: 11am-8pm Sunday through Tuesday / 11am-9pm Weds through Saturday
One Dish: Co-owner Dave Vermeer said there’s a new item on the appetizer menu that is getting a lot of attention: Juan-Tons. “They’re like jalapeño poppers to the next level,” said Vermeer. They take won ton wrappers, stuff with cream cheese, roasted serrano peppers and bacon, then deep fry and serve with a house-made huckleberry dipping sauce. You can get three for $4.95 or six for $8.95. One word: yum.
Beet & Basil
105 S. First Ave.
World Cuisine with a local flair
What began as a food truck serving worldly cuisine with local flair for a down-to-earth price has blossomed into one of Sandpoint’s most exciting new restaurants. Chef Jessica Vouk offers cuisine from all over the world with her own fusion spin on it, culminating in some of the most note-worthy dishes and flavor combinations in town. You can get everything from Indian to Vietnamese to South American. Plus, the back deck is a great place to dine during the mild months as it looks over Sand Creek. This is the kind of place you can find entrees available nowhere else in town.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 3pm / 5-9pm (open until 10pm Friday/Saturday).
One Dish: Lomo Saltado. It’s a Peruvian stir fry dish with Peruvian beef tenderloin, Shishito peppers, tomatoes and crispy fingerling potatoes in a spicy vinegar sauce for $22. “It’s a twist on a traditional Peruvian dish, which uses French fries, but we make ours with fried fingerling potatoes,” said Vouk.
The Fat Pig
301 Cedar St.
Recently opened, the Fat Pig Restaurant, located in the rustic, yet modern Pend d’Oreille Winery building on Cedar St., is all about our favorite other white meat: pork. With an emphasis on tasty, adventurous fare, owners Kelley Kennedy and Brett Mullinder are all about treating every customer like family.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 12-4 p.m. / 5-9 p.m.
One Dish: The Burger. Not only is the burger ground in-house but it’s plated with tons of house-made ingredients like bread-and-butter pickles and Fat Pig sauce. It’s served on a soft bun from Grains of Montana, a bakery that harvests its own wheat out of Billings, and topped with butter lettuce, tomato and muenster cheese, served with fries cut daily in house. $11.
323 Oak St.
What began as a taco truck in the 1990s blossomed into one of Sandpoint’s most popular restaurants. Featuring a menu full of amazing flavors and combinations, an awesome, friendly staff and hands down the best jalapeño poppers we’ve ever tasted, Joel’s is one of those places you’ll miss whenever you’re away from home. The Reader staff eat there at least once a week. For extra credit, try taking the Joel’s world tour and try everything on the menu. Seriously, it’s one of our favorite places in the world.
Hours: Monday-Friday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. • Saturday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
One Dish: Blackened Chicken Burrito. Grilled chicken breast seasoned with homemade blackened seasoning. Served as a burrito with shredded cabbage, homemade rice, chipotle sauce, pico de gallo, cilantro and cheese.
209 N. First Ave.
Thai and Sushi
At Thai Nigiri, everything is good. Whether you’ve got a hankering for sushi rolls, traditional Thai dishes, or any number of fusion appetizers and entrees, Thai Nigiri always leaves you satisfied. With a bustling, modern dining room, a smiling staff of servers and sushi chefs and a menu that is always a joy to explore, Thai Nigiri is a great option for families, dates or take out.
Hours: Monday-Tuesday 11am-2:30pm / 5-9pm • Thursday 11am-2:30pm / 5-9pm • Friday 11am-2:30pm / 5-10pm • Saturday 12-10pm • Sunday 12-9pm
One Dish: Pineapple Duck Curry, which comes with roasted duck and pineapple, red and green bell peppers, tomato, red curry paste based, coconut milk, lime leaves and a side of rice. $17.
602 Fifth Ave.
Mr. Sub has been a favorite sandwich shop in Sandpoint for years. Featuring home-baked bread and an amazing array of ingredients, Mr. Sub is more than just a sub sandwich shop – it’s a Sandpoint institution. Try their chili and soups! Also, they deliver, which is great for those who can’t get away from their desk at lunchtime.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10am – 6pm • Saturday 11am-5pm
One Dish: “All the locals just love the Turkey Bacon Cheddar,” said Darra Brown. “It’s all melty and crispy! It’s the number-one selling hot sub!” Comes with turkey, bacon, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato.
41 S. Lakeshore Dr.
Fine Dining Waterfront
With one of the most amazing views of Lake Pend Oreille in the area, Forty-One South is well-known for their romantic, fine-dining experience on the south end of the Long Bridge. Forty-One South features innovative cuisine with savory favorites and adventurous flavor combinations, not to mention a full bar and extensive wine list. They recommend reservations for Valentine’s Day, so don’t delay!
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 4:30-9pm • Fri.-Sat. 4:30-10pm
One Dish: “The Etouffeé, which has become a very popular dish for us this winter,” said owner Cassandra Cayson. “It’s a Cajun tomato stew with shrimp, mussels and clams served over ancho pepper rice pilaf with a grilled baguette for $23.
1319 Hwy 2
Seeking New York-style pizza, but can’t afford the plane ticket? Have no fear, Bab’s Pizzeria is here! Their authentic New York-style pizzas are always a big hit, as well as their giant calzones, chicken wings and garlic knots. They also have sandwiches and strombolis on the menu, too. Bring the whole family!
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-8pm • Friday-Saturday 11am-9pm • Sunday 12-7pm
One Dish: Grandma’s Raspberry Chipotle Chicken Wings. “It’s my mom’s signature sauce,” said owner Babs. “We take pureed raspberries and BBQ sauce, with diced chipotle peppers. It’s sweet, with the hint of raspberry and chipotle, but on the exit of the palette of the tongue you’ll feel a little heat. A half-order (.5 lb) is $4.95, while a full order (1 lb) runs $8.95 and comes with a side of dressing.
City Beach Organics
117 N. First Ave.
One of the newer eateries to Sandpoint, City Beach Organics has quickly amassed a loyal following. Featuring healthy, fresh wraps and melts made with love, a full juice bar and a smiling staff of family members who make each interaction a joy, this place is destined to stick around for awhile. Plus, they have a family open-mic night the first Wednesday of every month.
Hours: Monday-Friday 1am-4pm • Friday 7am-8pm • Sunday 10am-4pm
One Dish: “Here at City Beach Organics we LOVE serving you our organic, gluten-free wraps and melts, but you HAVE to try our salads!” said manager Matt Lonestar. “Pictured is our Asian Salad which features julienned veggies, cilantro and green onion, avocado and local microgreens. Topped with chopped almonds and sesame seeds, and served with our house-made Ginger-Teriyaki, this salad dresses to impress. Pictured with the Sunset, freshly juiced carrot, lemon, apple, and beet. Come and enjoy!”
Trinity at City Beach
58 Bridge St.
How can you beat the combination of amazing fine dining with a breathtaking view of Lake Pend Oreille? Trinity at City Beach has it all: innovative dishes made with love and loaded with flavor; breakfast, lunch and dinner; an attached bar with a strong local following and a dedicated staff that know how to make your dining experience top notch. Also, don’t forget about the Sunday brunch!
Hours: Monday – Thursday 7:30pm-9pm • Fri.-Sat. 7:30am-10pm • Sunday 7:30am-9pm
One Dish: Shrimp & Grits. Jumbo Shrimp sautéed with bacon, Trinity (red and green bell peppers, onions, celery), and green onions in a savory lemon-butter sauce, served over creamy four-cheese grits. Served breakfast and lunch.
120 S. First Ave.
American Fare / Bakery
Walking into Panhandler Pies, you are greeted by a friendly staff and amazing aromas of this down home Sandpoint eatery. Their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus have you covered for American cuisine, with a few surprises thrown in. Also, they offer over 20 types of pie, all of which are made from scratch, including the crust, every day. Next week, Panhandler Pie’s enters their 30th year of serving Sandpoint. Don’t forget, if it’s your birthday, the meal is on them!
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 7am–8:30pm • Fri.-Sat. 7am–9am
One Dish: Navajo Taco. Indian fry bread, smothered in their own chili, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, olives, provolone and cheddar cheese and sour cream.
The Hydra Steakhouse
115 W. Lake St.
The Hydra is a great, old-fashioned steakhouse. The cuts of meat are large and delicious. The full salad bar always features a daily soup. The seafood options and signature appetizers round out the menu so everyone will have a favorite. It’s a great place to meet friends for a drink and dinner after work in their restaurant bar, or grab your significant other and tuck into one of their romantic hidden booths.
Hours: Monday 4-9pm /Tuesday-Thursday. 11am-9pm / Friday-Sat. 11am-10pm / Sunday 11am-9pm
One Dish: Royality-Style Hydra-Cut Prime Rib:
16-18 oz. portion of slow roasted prime rib, cut to order. Seasoned with Crazy Mike’s Seasoning (created and patented by Executive Chef/Owner Mike Armstrong) then seared at 800 degrees on cast iron skillet to seal in flavor. Served with steamed green beans, your choice of sides, and a house-made Au Jus and Horseradish. Served everyday during dinner hours.
Shoga at Forty-One South
41 Lakeshore Dr.
Asian fusion / sushi
When it comes to sushi and sashimi, Shoga has it down pat. Throw in a world-class view of the lake, a cute dining area and a friendly staff, this place always scores well. For such high- quality rolls, they are priced for locals.
Hours: Weds-Thurs. 4:30-9pm / Fri.-Sat. 4:30pm-10pm / Sunday 4:30-9pm
One Dish: The Volcano Roll. It comes with spicy tuna topped with crab, spicy scallops, sriracha, tempura crunchies, tobiko and unagi sauce.
Joe’s Philly Cheesesteak & More
102 Church St.
Nothing beats a mouth-watering Philly cheesesteak for lunch, but that’s not the only thing available on the menu. Joe’s also offers comfort food in just about every form: cheeseburgers, chili dogs, melts and pulled-pork sandwiches. They also make excellent milkshakes.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm
One Dish: “The Original Philly Cheesesteak: Thin shaved beefsteak, onions and provolone cheese grilled fresh when you order. All in an original Amoroso hoagie roll. Or customize it with our selection of chesses, sauces and peppers. If we have it, we’ll add it. We even have a gluten-free hoagie roll we make from scratch.”
504 Oak St.
Bistro / Cafe
Located inside the antique warehouse Foster’s Crossing on Fifth and Oak, Cafe Bodega is one of those places you have to try. With an array of bistro-style sandwiches, hearty soups and stews, beautiful healthy salads and thick-cut roasted meats on home-baked breads, this eatery sources much of its fare from local and organic farms.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-5pm. Sundays 11am-4pm
One Dish: The Cuban: Ham, sliced dill pickle, Swiss cheese, grilled to perfection. $7.95.
Long Bridge Grill
Hwy 95 S. – Sagle
Located just south of the Long Bridge, the Long Bridge Grill features a down-home traditional American menu with great guilty-pleasure bar food. Adjacent to the extraordinary dive bar of the same name, Long Bridge Grill leaves pretense at the door. Yes, that is a pole in the middle of the dance floor. Yes, they also allow smoking in the bar. They also have potlucks from time to time and great parties. The owner is a nice guy, and the local salts at the bar are a never-ending source of entertaining conversation.
Hours: 3pm-12am, 7 days a week
One Dish: Build-a-Burger. One-third pound burger, lettuce, tomato and onion. You can add bacon, grilled mush, grilled onion, jalapeño or cheese. Comes with French fries. Basic is $6.95. “I would say it’s the best burger in the county,” said owner Dan Maddux.
Fifth Ave. Restaurant
807 N. Fifth Ave.
The Fifth Ave. Restaurant and its adjoining bar, Mitzy’s, have been around in Sandpoint for a long time. The décor is mid-century and feels like a classic American diner. During breakfast hours, the restaurant is full of locals laughing over steaming cups of coffee and a staff that still calls you “honey” and “darling” from time to time. Also, they give you a free meal on your birthday. How cool is that?
Hours: 5am-9pm, 7 days a week
One Dish: Roasted Turkey Dinner. This comes with all the fixings: Roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, stuffing, a side salad and dinner roll and a piece of pie for dessert. It’s available every Thursday!
Loaf & Ladle
124 S. Second Ave.
Loaf & Ladle opened a couple years ago in Sandpoint to much acclaim. The family-owned and operated restaurant has a bit of everything: standard American fare with a unique twist, plus great homemade soups, innovative salads and entrees that go off the beaten path . The owners believe in locally-sourced food that makes you feel good, and they hit the mark all the way. They offer a great brunch on Sundays and always have an interesting special on the menu to try. There’s a reason they have nearly all five-star ratings on Yelp. Check them out!
Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-9pm / Saturday-Sunday, 9am-9pm
One Dish: Chicken and Waffles: If you’ve never tried them, what are you waiting for? This is soul food at its finest. Cheddar bacon waffles are topped with crispy chicken breast, fiery maple syrup and pickles. $15.95.
206 N. First Ave.
Located on First Ave. in downtown Sandpoint, the China Kitchen features a large selection of traditional Chinese entrees available for dine in or take out. The owner and staff are always friendly and patient. For fans of the old Downtown Crossing Bar, it’s an interesting experience eating here, as it used to be one of the most happening bars in Sandpoint.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-8:30pm / Saturday-Sunday 12-8:30pm
One Dish: Chicken Fried Rice: It’s hard to go wrong with Chicken Fried Rice, made in the traditional manner, with lots of vegetables and a savory flavor.
Old Ice House Pizzeria and Bakery
140 W. Main St.
The Ice House is Hope’s premier place for a bite to eat in the winter months, but even with the cold weather, this joint is “where the only thing better than our pizza is the view!”
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 12-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 12-8 p.m.
One Dish: The United Nations supreme pizza is a customer favorite. It starts out with fresh, house-made dough rolled out thin and topped with zesty marinara, Wood’s pepperoni and sausage, fresh sliced ham and an array of hand-cut vegetables, then finished with whole-milk mozzarella. “We pride ourselves on using top-quality ingredients, and we’re confident it makes all the difference.”
Cabinet Mountain Bar and Grill
213 4th Ave.
The Cabinet is back with a brand new building after it burned down in 2015, offering the same classic diner food it always has.
Hours: Seven days a week, 6 a.m.-late.
One Dish: The Cabinet highlights their large breakfast menu, popular burgers and “bucket snacks,” including popcorn shrimp and chicken, hot wings, gizzards and more.
The Rusty Moose Tavern and Grill
7211 Main St.
American food prepared fresh — with a particular emphasis on burgers and steaks — is what the Rusty Moose hangs its hat on.
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Monday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
One Dish: Junk Yard Ribs: Slow roasted then deep fried golden brown, and tossed in a house-made General Sao sauce. “Sweet, spicy and delicious!”
Mugsy’s Tavern and Grill
7161 Main St.
Mugsy’s was voted “Best Restaurant in Boundary County” in 2017, and boasts other accolades from over the years. From their diverse menu to their varied beer selection, Mugsy’s is a highlight of the Bonners Ferry restaurant scene.
Hours: Seven days a week, Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
One Dish: The signature item at Mugsy’s Tavern and Grill is the Rattlesnake Pasta. It’s a blend of freshly grilled chicken tossed in a bed of penne pasta with a spicy jalapeño alfredo sauce. “It’s chicken with a bite!”
Goat Mountain Pizzeria
7217 Main St.
Goat Mountain boasts their Roman-style pizza, local brews on tap, organic salads and “famous” chocolate chip cookies.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
One Dish: The pizzeria’s most popular pie is the Sasquatch: red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, olives, Canadian bacon, artichoke hearts, green bell pepper, onion, garlic, bacon and fresh tomatoes make up this monster of a pizza.
Kootenai River Brewing Co.
6424 Riverside St.
Kootenai River Brewing Company is a family-style restaurant and tap house that serves lunch and dinner. There are always eight beers on tap, as well as a great view of the Kootenai River.
Hours: Seven days a week, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
One Dish: Kootenai River Brewing Company’s signature menu item is their Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon. They feature their salmon in several dishes: salmon fish and chips, salmon dinner, salmon wrap or add salmon to any of their salads. Enjoy it with any of their fine craft beers, made in house.
Klondyke Cafe and Tavern
14873 E Hwy 2
The Klondyke is Laclede’s premier diner, where they boast “amazing home-cooked food and a comfortable atmosphere.”
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
One Dish: The Klondyke has prime rib every Friday, starting at 5 p.m. 16 oz. cut for $19.95. “It’s the best prime rib around!”
The Village Kitchen
911 Alberni Hwy, Priest River
Variety is the spice of life at Village Kitchen, where they serve everything from hand-cut steaks to one-pound burgers to Mexican food.
Hours: Seven days a week, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
One Dish: They serve breakfast all day — the chicken-fried steak is a fan favorite— and “everyone enjoys a mimosa on our screened-in deck!”
The Beardmore Bistro
119 Main St, Priest River
This bistro is in the historic downtown Beardmore Building and specializes in craft and domestic beers, as well as a large wine selection. The Beardmore Bistro serves a full menu and features a beer and wine club.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-close
One Dish: The Beardmore Bistro suggests you start with an appetizer and then try one of their gourmet thin-crust pizzas.
45 S McKinley St suite 101, Priest River
The Rusty Rooster is a classic diner that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Among its many great reviews, customers often highlight that the Rusty Rooster smokes their own meat.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
One Dish: A couple of the Rusty Rooster’s top sellers are a mesquite slow-smoked brisket sandwich with melted pepper jack cheese, served on a toasted ciabatta roll, or the chicken-fried steak — hand-cut, tenderized and breaded.
Chimney Rock Grill
Hours: Seven days a week at 7 a.m. They seat until 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
One Dish: The favorite this season has been the Chipotle Pasta. This creamy chipotle sauce is loaded with veggies, shrimp, chicken and Andouille sausage, sourced locally from Spokane, and all tossed with linguini.
Powder Hound Pizza
73 Village Ln.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
One Dish: A Powder Hound customer favorite is the Husky Hawaiian pizza. This pie starts with locally-made dough, and then gets topped with Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. Next come mozzarella, then fire-braised chicken and pork, bacon, onions, pineapple and jalapenos. Finally, it is topped with smoked Gouda cheese.
Upper Lake View Lodge
Taps might be known as the go-to spot of a frosty glass of craft beer and little indoor fun while on the mountain, but we can’t forget the menu of snacks, salads, pizzas and more, which is seeing a makeover as of late.
Hours: Seven days a week, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
One Dish: Taps is excited to announce the addition of hot and cold sandwiches, as well as flatbreads, to their menu. Sam’s Signature oven-baked sandwich is a highlight, with Canadian bacon, Capicola, onion, olive, melted cheese, house-made sweet and hot mustard, creamy roasted garlic sauce and finished with fresh greens and tomato on toasted ciabatta.
Pack River General Store
1587 Rapid Lightning Rd.
It may be tucked away, but the Pack River Store’s food will leave an impression that will have everyone driving through the woods for an occasional taste of everything this store offers. The specials are always changing, and everything tastes home cooked.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
One Dish: They cure and smoke their own bacon at Pack River Store. It’s the only bacon they use in their menu items, and is also available by the pound. They apple-wood smoke it and get their chips from local family-run business Wildwood Grilling.
SKa’l Tap Room
476864 U.S. 95.
While primarily a place to relax with a beer and friends — hopefully after a long day of skiing — SKa’l Tap Room also offers some vittles to satisfy that post-slope hunger. River General Store burritos and pizza are available to eat in house. Keep an eye out for take-and-bake items like chicken pot pie and Sonia chicken enchiladas, too.
Hours: Tuesday, 2-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday: 2-8 p.m., Sunday, 12-6 p.m.
One Dish: Manager Lisa Campbell recommends the small plates, saying, “From Flying Fish company we put together a lox and bagel plate with cream cheese, chopped red onion and capers. We also have smoked salmon small plates with a variety of options, including three different kinds of cheese: cheddar, brie or cream. Also on the list: blueberries, apples, almonds or pecans.”
Farmhouse Kitchen and Silo Bar
477227 U.S. 95
Quality ingredients and a personal touch by Chef Adam Hegsted are the name of the game at Farmhouse Kitchen. Whether you’re hoping for a solid brunch or a satisfying dinner, the restaurant has a menu item for you. The restaurant smokes all its own meats, infuses its own liquors and offers some terrific barrel-aged cocktails.
Hours: Winter hours: Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Happy hour, 3 p.m.
One Dish: The twice-fried chicken and buffalo meatloaf are both popular options for dinner. For brunch, many patrons find themselves opting for the huevos rancheros.
Sweet Lou’s Restaurant and Bar
477272 U.S. 95
Look for home-style comfort food — and a lot of it — at Sweet Lou’s, where a welcome-to-my-home sensibility informs the service and atmosphere. From burgers — including the 60-40 that combines ground beef and bacon — to sides like baked beans and horseradish mashed potatoes, rib-sticking grub make up the Sweet Lou’s menu.
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., happy hour 4-6 p.m.
One Dish: The bison ribs are a unique and hearty take on barbecued ribs, with meat smoked in-house and covered in a homemade barbecue sauce.
870 Kootenai Cutoff Rd.
Those looking for a robust, fast lunch will find plenty of Mexican flavor at Tacos Tacos. A food truck with a standard location in Ponderay, the vendor serves up delicious burritos and tacos for a quick bite at a reasonable price. The spices in each item are custom mixed in California in a proud family tradition.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
One Dish: Carne asada burritos with carefully spiced and cooked steak.
30784 Hwy-200, Ponderay
When it comes to an amazing breakfast the morning after a late night out, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better — in Sandpoint or anywhere else — than the Hoot Owl. A breakfast-and-lunch joint that serves up classic comfort food, Hoot Owl has flavorful takes on all manner of classics, which it serves in mountainous portions. From its biscuits slathered in delicious house gravy to its breaded porkchops with all the classic breakfast fixings, the Hoot Owl menu is filled with soon-to-be-favorites.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 5 a.m.-2 p.m.
One Dish: The Hashbrown Scramble Supreme packs eggs, ham, cheese, hashbrowns and breakfast veggies into one delicious scramble and tops it all with your choice of salsa and sour cream or in-house sausage gravy. And it all comes with a side of toast.
Curry in a Hurry and 7Bistro
870B Kootenai Cut-Off Rd.
Curry in a Hurry made a splash last year with its delicious curry served up during limited hours of operation primarily through online preorders. Now owner Peter Hicks hopes to expand Sandpoint’s limited-operation restaurants with his new business venture, 7Bistro.
At the moment, 7Bistro is primarily the center for new Curry in a Hurry operations. However, Hicks hopes to recruit more would-be restauranteers who can’t afford the time commitment, circulating several different types of food at the location throughout the week. Those seeking curry can still preorder at www.sandpointcurry.com
Hours: Thursday-Friday, 12-6 p.m., which will expand as more restaurants sign up.
One Dish: The coconut chicken curry is an onion-ginger-garlic base jazzed up with marinaded chicken and a variety of spices. It’s become a Curry in a Hurry standout.
949-290-2020 – Ponderay
You’ll have to wait until March 1 before it re-opens, but for mind-meltingly good biscuits and gravy, look no further than the Preferred Pastries food trailer. The secret is in the high-quality pork butt ground into sausage and made together with the gravy for a rich, zesty flavor you won’t ever find in a can. What’s more, the Preferred Pastry biscuits are the chef’s signature recipe informed by his training at Le Cordon Bleu Pastry School. It’s the same expertise and care that goes into the turnovers and other pastries.
Hours: Thursday-Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. starting March 1
One Dish: If Preferred Pastries’ biscuits and gravy don’t get your mouth watering, biscuits and gravy probably aren’t your thing.
100 Tibbetts Dr., Ponderay
Whether it’s take out or dining in, Golden Dragon has your Chinese food craving covered, as it has for years. A staple of the Ponderay restaurant community, Golden Dragon prides itself on a friendly staff and prompt service, not to mention its substantial menu of classic Chinese cuisine. The restaurant puts a modern spin on dishes like szechwan beef and general sesame chicken.
One Dish: For a full tour of Golden Dragon offerings, come in with a friend and try a family dinner. Dinner A gets you hot and sour soup, egg rolls, moo shoo pork, spicy crispy chicken and chow mein for $35.60. Just be ready for some leftovers.
202 N 2nd Ave., Sandpoint, and 700 Kootenai Cut Off Rd., Ponderay
Expect delicious Mexican food piled high on a big plate at Fiesta Bonita, which recently completed its expansion into Sandpoint. Whether you check out the new restaurant or prefer its flagship Ponderay location, you’ll get the same great service and generous portions of food crafted according to family traditions and recipes.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, 11-9:30 p.m. weekends
One Dish: The mole sauce has an especially personal touch since it’s a family recipe right down to the basic ingredients. Customers also can’t get enough of the carne asada, which is grilled over charcoal and carefully seasoned.
While not everyone we reached out to was able to provide us with a menu item to feature before press time, here’s a list of other great eateries in the area to try sometime.
Clark Fork Grill
14 Elk Horn Road, Clark Fork
Three Mile Corner Cafe
3 Mile Jct, Bonners Ferry
Springs Restaurant and Lounge
Steak and seafood
7169 Plaza St, Bonners Ferry
6421 Main St, Bonners Ferry
Breakfast, lunch and espresso
6551 S Main St, Bonners Ferry
6231 Main St, Bonners Ferry
Locations in Priest River, Bonners Ferry and Newport
536 High St, Priest River
5634 Hwy 2, Priest River
Mangy Moose Cafe and RV Park
3604 US-2, Priest River
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