Pin It
Favorite

Dining Out- When Night Meets Morning 

by Joel Smith & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & f you've been paying any attention as you leaf through this dining guide, you've probably noticed that we're gluttons for a good breakfast. Sit us down in front of a table of sausage and eggs and we couldn't be happier. Splash on some Tabasco, serve it all up with a stiff cup of coffee and some Texas toast, and we're money.





It's such a gustatory delight that it's a shame to box it into one small corner of the day. Any time is right to come down on biscuits and gravy, pancakes, waffles and crepes. Anytime. But nighttime is the second-best time to enjoy a hearty breakfast. For no other time of day so closely parallels the strange, malleable mental space of morning.





We set out to discover where a person could stumble into a stack of pancakes in the middle of the night. The pickings were slim. The first answer, though, was the SATELLITE.





For obvious reasons: It's open later than any other joint downtown. It's the shore upon which all the freaks, punks and disaffected flotsam of the city invariably wash up (meaning it makes for unparalleled people-watching). And it makes a fairly mean breakfast. We'd recommend sitting at the counter and taking on the breakfast burrito, an enormous unit of meat and cheese and other Mexican deliciosities broken over a bed of tater tots -- highly satisfying. Finish that thing off and you'll either be out cold until morning or suitably fueled for another several hours of binge-drinking and assorted mayhem, depending on your digestive disposition.





Once you get outside the Satellite, your options to narrow to a number of chain restaurants -- most notably DENNY'S, Shari's and Perkins (the former tend to be open 24 hours; the latter stays open late but not all night). Their chaininess isn't inherently a bad thing. They all serve up perfectly acceptable morning chow, and they each offer unique dining potential.





Take the PERKINS on Division, just across the river from downtown. That location, kitty-corner across from Fast Eddy's, Talotti's 211 and the up-and-coming area near the Community Building (and that so-called "University District" we keep hearing about) makes it a pretty righteous stumble-in from downtown. And the low booths create an open space that works well for big groups -- of late-night studiers, of rabid and triumphant sports fans, whatever. And it's all kind of cute. Chintzy valances decorate the windows, there's plenty of "tasteful" art on the walls, golden oldies mingle with the sweet smell of breakfast in the air.





The menu is omelet-heavy, with a balance of pancakes, Benedicts and a handful of breakfast sides. Everything looks almost uniformly terrible on the menu, but don't be fooled. It's less than terrible. We stopped by for too-sweet kielbasa and a Benedict and were pleased.





While Perkins is a good place for the big group get-together, though, SHARI'S is a fine place for small groups to hatch terrific schemes -- with its rabbit's warren of small, high-backed booths curving away from the front door. Your mortal enemy could be just on the other side of the room and you'd never know it. So you hunker down low and tuck into some Cinnama-sation (some kind of weird French toast, we reckon) and pore over their glossy, conveniently tabbed menu. Pretty much anything here is a good choice. They don't take a lot of chances -- except on the takeaway quiche, a strange business model indeed.





Most people assume the chain restaurant offerings end here, but there's an overlooked strain of late-night breakfast providers that are equally worth checking out. They may not be scoring high marks in the Michelin guide, but local truck stops -- especially the three local Flying J franchises that dot the area from the West Plains to Post Falls -- are some of the best places for a late-night meal.





That's in part because they're so damn weird. Take the FLYING J on Broadway in the Valley. Strange characters drift in and out, each table comes with a telephone connecting to pass-information hotlines and tabletop ads for everything a trucker might need (driving gloves, powerful flashlights, drug-dealing briefcases). And it's bright as an operating room inside -- possibly as a means to try to keep road-weary drivers awake.





Dimming the lights would make the dour-faced but kindly waitress a little less intimidating, and it might distract from the crunch of the hash browns, but no matter. This is an anthropological mission -- a glimpse into a life that's often forgotten and overlooked. No one knows you here. It's the kind of place Cannery Row's Doc would have escaped to, to order a beer milkshake without fear of embarrassment. It's that weird, tired, wonky place in the brain -- synapses misfiring -- just before the sun rises. The perfect place to fill your empty spaces with eggs and gravy.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event

Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event @ Hillyard Library

Tue., Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


marijuana


Comment


Publisher's Note


BUSINESS


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation