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An Outsider Looking In - Spokane’s Thriving Restaurant Scene

By, Margaret Massey

Featured in Spokane Cd'A Living Magazine

From a little girl sitting on my mother’s kitchen counter in Michigan to traveling and tasting the delights of the globe as an adult, I’ve always had a sincere love and fascination with food. After moving to Spokane two years ago, I enlisted several friends familiar with the food scene here, to give me the inside scoop, alongside my own personal investigating. My favorite thing to do when finding myself somewhere new is to scour the city for the very best they have to offer, and Spokane is no exception.

Chaps was a clear contender and quickly became a family favorite with their scratch made pastries, amazing coffee and tasty brunch and dinner menus. You will find people lining up for a chance to nab one of their signature pastries, like the Downtowner, a crispy fried Cinnamon Roll. Their caprese toast, with fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes is also a personal favorite. Chaps invites you in with its “shabby-chic meets Paris” atmosphere and keeps you coming back with their top-notch service and consistent quality dishes.

I always love a restaurant that sneaks up and surprises me, that takes chances with an inventive menu that changes and evolves with the seasons. In my searching I just so happened to find that here in Ruins! I knew they had McRuins Monday and Taco Tuesday, but I was really dying to try their revolving dinner menu. I decided to go for their Italian dinner series and they completely blew me away with the pure decadence of a simple plate of Cacio e Pepe! I’m still dreaming of that dish, but I love how they keep it fresh by constantly bringing us something exciting and new. Just recently they debuted an Izakaya menu including Japanese street fair like octopus filled Takoyaki, shrimp Okonomiyaki and a trio of Ramen dishes that completely pushed the envelope on Spokane’s food scene with it’s attention to detail and authenticity.

A new contender in the area that is totally nailing it is Renegade by MonteScarlotto, and I want to celebrate what they are doing. Renegade not only offers some of the most celebrated wine in the area, but Chef Gavin is holding down the kitchen displaying real creativity. Pairing their Red Mountain Wines with dishes like the “must try” Mini Smoked Duck Wellington’s and Grilled Lamb Chops, which are coated in a fresh gremolata and drizzled with a stone fruit reduction, he will keep you coming back for more. Keep an eye out for more exciting dishes as Chef Gavin plans to expand the menu, taking us on a journey into Basque Country (Spain) and Gascoyne (France). You definitely want to plan on spending date night here!

Also new to the area in Coeur d’Alene, is the super fun and eclectic dining experience at Ten/6. I recently had the pleasure of eating brunch here. I was missing the flair and excitement that Las Vegas restaurants tend to bring and I’m happy to say Ten/6 has this in spades. They have totally won me over with their kitschy “Alice in Wonderland” atmosphere and amazing Creole style dishes, like their Prima Muffaletta, a mammoth of a sandwich piled high with cured meats, cheese and marinated olives! And don’t forget to leave room for the uber fluffy beignets. They come out piping hot and ready for devouring.

In every place I’ve landed or called home, amazing food & culture can be found when you search for it. Though I’ve only lived here a short time, what I’ve discovered I haven’t found anywhere else. There is a collective love and appreciation for all things local: bountiful produce and farm fresh meats, unparalleled craft beer & wine and the coffee... oh, the coffee! Head out this summer and take advantage of all that Spokane has to offer.

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