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Guild Award Winners - 2018

Spokane’s Hot 50

When I first moved to the Spokane Valley from Hayden, Idaho, it took me a great deal longer to find my way around than I had thought it would, but it took me even longer to find all of the truly great restaurants. With so many local food bloggers and some that are paid for their opinions, it was difficult for me to get a list of date night spots for myself and my husband (also a gourmet food enthusiast) without worrying about the authenticity of the “best” lists I was reading. I didn’t want the results of a popularity contest, and I didn’t want to fall for a paid advertisement. If ever saw “#sponsored” on a social media post, I knew that I couldn’t trust that message to the same level as I would other fully unbiased sources. I realized that I had to do something about it myself, and that’s when the Spokane Culinary Arts Guild was born.

It was just an idea in that moment, but it felt so real to me. It was almost as if it was what I’d been waiting to do my whole life. I ran it by several chef, blogger and food writer friends of mine to get quality feedback and meticulously researched culinary award evaluation systems. Being a professional educator, evaluation is a daily part of my job. Applying these same concepts to food translated naturally from my field, and I approached it with the same intensity. I quickly realized, though, how many restaurants there really were in the Inland Northwest, and knew that the next step would be forming a really dynamic team.

I again took to researching, but this time, under local hashtags like #spokanefood and #eatspokane, and found so many wonderful individuals who had a zest for life, and a strong knowledge base about cuisine. We shared our passion for living well, and formed fast friendships through mutual respect. They ranged from chefs, to food bloggers, to passionate (and talented) home cooks, to food photographers, business professionals who dine out almost every day and more. They are as diverse in their interests as they are as individuals, and each one of them has a really helpful perspective in discovering great local gems as well as evaluating meals. They all rallied behind our collective cause, and evaluated hundreds of restaurants throughout the last two years using our highly developed rubric that includes ratings on service, ambiance, plating, proper execution, consistency over multiple visits, accurate menu description, flavor balance and many more. We have meticulously reviewed the data compiled throughout the year to find Spokane’s very best eateries, and every one of these unique spots is listed below. We are thrilled to be celebrating all of these local award-winners at our very first annual Spokane Culinary Arts Guild Awards Gala at the Max at Mirabeau Park Hotel on January 8.

We hope you enjoy eating at these phenomenal, locally owned hotspots - let them know we sent you and give them a high-five from us.

The SCA Outstanding Restaurant Awards were presented by Numerica Credit Union. The winners are:

Fine Dining – Park Lodge

Upscale Casual – Vine and Olive

Casual – Ruins

Fast Casual – Cochinito

Brunch – Bruncheonette

Bar – Hogwash Whiskey Den

Gastropub – Prohibition Gastropub

Best New Restaurant for Fine Dining – Park Lodge

Best New Restaurant for Casual Dining – Cochinito

Best New Bar – Tiny Tiki

Spokane Legend – Luna

The Category Awards were presented by Windermere Valley/Liberty Lake. The winners are:

Best Destination Dining – 1898 Public House

Best Neighborhood Dining – Elliotts, An Urban Kitchen

Best Sushi – Izumi

Best Ice Cream – Panhandle Cone and Coffee

Best Hotel Dining – Table 13 at the Davenport Grand

Best Family Dining – Central Food

Best BBQ – Junior’s Barbecue

Best Food Truck - Raw Dead Fish

Best Ethnic Dining – D’Bali Asian Bistro

Best Take Out – King of Ramen

Best Bakery – The Grain Shed

Best Craft Cocktails – Ruins

Best Cafe – Madeleine’s Cafe and Patisserie

Best Quick Lunch – Soulful Soups and Spirits

Best Market – Main Market

Best Wine Tasting Room – Nectar Tasting Room

Best Brewery – Whistle Punk Brewing

Best Juice/Smoothies – The Wellness Bar

Best Southern Food – Ten/6

Best Doughnuts – Hello Sugar

Best Tacos – Cochinito

Best Steaks – Wolf Lodge

Best Seafood – Hay J’s

Best Vegan Dining – Mizuna

Best Burger – Durkin’s Liquor Bar

People’s Choice for Burgers – Messy’s Burgers

Best Sandwiches – Smacky’s On Broadway

People’s Choice for Sandwiches – Meltz

Best Coffee – Indaba

People’s Choice for Coffee – Vault and Woops

Best Pizza – Veraci

People’s Choice for Pizza – The Flying Goat

The Individual Awards were presented by San Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water. The winners are:

Best Chef – Jeremy Hansen of Inland Pacific Kitchen, Hogwash Whiskey Den, Sante Restaurant and Charcuterie, Biscuit Wizard and 509 Cooks.

Best Front of House/Manager – Justin Curtis of Cochinito

Best Bartender – Simon Francis Moorby of Hogwash Whiskey Den

Best Food Event – Coeur d’Alene Food and Wine Festival

Best Food Blog – Feasting At Home by Sylvia Fountaine

Restaurateur of the Year – Tony Brown of Ruins

Best Guild Tastemaker – Queena Hale

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