I lived in Vietnam for almost two years, a country filled with fresh street food, outdoor markets and unparalleled ph stands. But one meal I'll never forget came during a nasty bout of homesickness when I just had to have a Popeye's chicken sandwich. Few things are as comforting as the familiarity of your favorite franchise. This fall, three new chains opened new locations in the Spokane area, each with the secret ingredients for flavor and nostalgia.
HOUSTON TX HOT CHICKEN
1839 N. Ruby St. • Open daily 10:30 am-10 pm (Fri-Sat until midnight)
There were 42 texts in my group chat about Houston TX Hot Chicken when it opened where the Sweeto Burrito on Ruby Street used to be. The verdict: quality meat, legit spice, "thicc" fries, long lines, efficient service. The Las Vegas-based franchise does Southern-style spicy chicken sandwiches and tenders, plus waffles, milkshakes and draft beers. Their highest spice level, the "Houston We Have a Problem" level, requires a waiver. Verdict is out if HHC can keep up the quality and enthusiasm it had during those first few opening days. But sometimes, no matter what, nothing hits the spot like a fried chicken sandwich. The group chat was quick to point out that HHC's sandwich was way less greasy than Popeye's.
15705 E. Broadway Ave., Spokane Valley • Open daily 10:30 am-9 pm
Whatever your ultimate burger experience is, it probably includes bacon. That's why every burger from Killer Burger comes with bacon, without even needing to ask. The Portland-based franchise already has a location in Hayden, Idaho, but the newest franchise just opened in Spokane Valley to bring dangerously good burgers to Eastern Washington. Think you're tired of burgers? Think again. Killer Burger offers some risky flavor combos that are either to total knockouts or complete duds. Try the Barnyard with ham and eggs, or the Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon burger to decide for yourself. Vegan and gluten free options are available, plus mini burgers and grilled cheese for your little killers, aka kids.
922 N. Division St. • Open Sun noon-1 am; Mon-Wed 11 am-1am; Thu-Fri 11 am-3 am; Sat noon-3 am
Simply a must for any college town. If you can't sleep, or decide not to, you can now get hot, fresh cookies delivered to your door. Dreamed up in a dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, Insomnia Cookies now has over 200 locations worldwide, including its newest bakery right next to Spokane's University District. Traditional flavors are always available, like chocolate chunk, classic with M&M's, oatmeal raisin and snickerdoodle, plus options for gluten-free and vegan cookies. You can also snag brownies, ice cream, cookie ice cream sandwiches and cookie cakes if your sweet tooth is unstoppable. Just beware that the more sugar you eat, the less likely you are to be able to fall asleep.