Eating Cheap in the Inland Northwest

Forty-two affordable eateries that have opened since last year's guide.


605 E. Holland Ave. • 279-2243 • Breakfast, lunch, Mon-Fri
Yes, it’s in an office building, but Almost Home still manages a homey vibe, both in its décor and its all-American menu, which features classics like burgers, hot dogs and chicken strips. Definitely a go-to café if you’re looking for a quiet place and friendly faces. (TH)
TRY Big Ben’s Breakfast Sandwich ($6)

12908 N. Division • 863-9572 • Lunch, Fri-Sun; Dinner daily
Dan Birdwell left the construction industry to open this sports bar with his baseball-loving family last spring and quickly built a loyal fan base of Whitworth students and north-side professionals. You won’t find anything revolutionary (or wings, for that matter) on the menu, but their burgers, dogs and sandwiches are just the ticket when you’re parked for a few hours to watch the game on TV. (ES)
TRY Spicy cheesesteak ($9.50)

2706 N. Monroe St. • 290-6689 •Lunch, Mon-Sat
Opened in December by a former realtor who wanted to escape the grind, the Chill Spot is decidedly cozy, with a walk-around gas fireplace, a kids’ corner, eight flavors of YoCream and a simple lunch menu of grilled panini ($5.25), soups ($3.25), and Craven’s coffee. (AV)
TRY Mozzarella basil red-pepper panino ($5.25)

3818 N. Nevada St. • 474-9364 • Lunch, dinner daily
“I didn’t get fat eating lettuce,” says the deli owner in a thick Philly accent. That pretty much says it all for this ma-and-pop deli in the middle of nowhere. In here, sandwiches and burritos are described by weight in pounds, and a pizza’s worth is measured in layers of meat and cheese. Delicious. (JB)
TRY The Belly Buster sandwich, with ham, pepperoni, salami, turkey, roast beef, cheeses, vegetables and Italian dressing ($7 for a half)

1814 N. Division • 327-2856 • Deli open 9 am-5 pm Mon-Sat
Owners Fred and Gilda Meyer got tired of driving to Pasco for authentic Mexican food, so they opened their own store. Stocked with colorful piñatas, dried chilies and house-made salsas, this bright, clean Mexican grocery has an on-site bakery and take-away food like tamales, burritos and rajas. (KH)

804 W. Garland Ave. • 328-1950 • Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily
Not much has changed since Dave Jones (Hogan’s, Arny’s, Top Notch) re-opened this 70-year-old Garland Avenue mainstay. Same old-movie wallpaper, same Benny and Joon counter. There’s some new seating and a coat of buttercup-yellow paint, but the menu hews to the old tradition of big, delicious breakfasts and a strong selection of sandwiches and burgers. Not only that — everything’s under $10! This is cheap-eats paradise. (JS)
TRY Dave’s Philly Steak ($9)

3318 W. Northwest Blvd. • 327-8277 • Lunch, dinner daily
Check out the photos on the walls of this Audubon neighborhood restaurant — there’s the interior of Joe Albi Stadium, the old fireplace from Audubon Park, the suspension bridge across the river at Bowl and Pitcher. Already a quintessential Spokane restaurant, the Goat offers some of the best artisanal pizza in town and a drool-worthy collection of beers and wines. Sit on their patio during the summer and take it all in. (JS)
TRY The Kiernan, with sausage, arugula and an over-medium egg ($13)

1822 E. Sprague • 863-9872 • Breakfast, lunch, Mon-Sat
The interior of this International District restaurant is cute and cozy, but the menu is pork-heavy — delicious homemade biscuits with sausage and gravy; breakfast burrito; English Muffin with egg, Tillamook cheddar, sausage or ham (spinach and tomato for vegetarians). There are also hearty slices of quiche ($4.25), dozens of baked goods made on-site and Craven’s coffee/espresso to pair. (BT)
TRY The Hercules Mega-Pig sandwich ($7.25)

515 W. Sprague • 624-7777 • Lunch, dinner daily
Opened in the old Uno space in October 2010, this upscale sports bar offers surprisingly good food. For those who regard hot wings not as a food but as a way of life, try the chicken wings ($7), which are accompanied by a melon-based tropical slaw. The flatbread pizzas ($6-$8) are also amazing and come piled high with toppings like chorizo and cashews. As the sausage suggests, Chef Gonzalo Carillo is still playing with the Latin flavors that made Uno an underdog favorite. (TH)
TRY The Sicilian burger ($7)

3903 N. Madison St. • 326-2405 • Lunch daily
You can probably make a sandwich yourself, but this tiny pub and grill does it better. Fresh bread, cheesy panini, and homemade soups and dressings make this the perfect lunchtime hideout. Plus, it’s next to a liquor store, and nothing says “break time” like an afternoon bottle. (JB)
TRY The Dubliner Panini: pastrami, sweet and spicy mustard, dill pickles, and Havarti cheese on marble rye ($6)

3331 W. Indian Trail Rd. • 326-2559 • Lunch, dinner daily
Greek Street is an offshoot of Café Italiano, a restaurant that Chef Vagelie Karatzas’ parents operated in Colville for 23 years. This place is set up for delivery and carry-out. Check out their Pizzalonies — hot, foot-long cylinders of teeth-sinking dough, stuffed with chicken breast, bacon, red onions, green peppers, baby spinach, fresh garlic, mixed cheeses and homemade Alfredo sauce. (BT)
TRY The Athenian, with chicken, goat cheese and fresh garlic ($10 for personal size)

510 S. Freya St. • 315-8853 • Lunch, dinner daily
Hacienda Las Flores has everything you’d expect from a family Mexican restaurant. The restaurant takes seriously the custom of passing out chips. They’re served with refried beans with cheese, two salsas and a herby slaw of cabbage, onions, jalapeños and cilantro. The entrées (burritos, enchiladas, etc.) are enormous. Tacos ($2.75 each) may be a wiser choice for the belt-conscious. (JS)
TRY Hacienda Enchilada ($10)

3023 E. 28th Ave. • 535-2961 • Lunch, dinner daily
The food isn’t the main attraction at this bowling alley and casino. But their wide selection of affordable appetizers, burgers and sandwiches is surprisingly good. Best to go on the weekends, though, when the attached bistro is open. Otherwise they stuff you in a dark, curtained-off dining area, where you’re subjected to the triumphant cries of nearby bowlers. (JS)
TRY Root Beer Pulled-Pork Quesadillas ($9)

917 W. Broadway Ave. • 326-6475 • Breakfast, lunch, Mon-Fri
When Morgana and Joe Walker hit the jackpot at Northern Quest in 2009, they used their earnings to start this bakery near the courthouse, which has a French flair and serves breakfast staples like a ham-and-cheese quiche ($4) and a bacon-and-egg breakfast panino ($5). Lunch offerings include a Greek wrap smeared thick with hummus and feta ($6.50), and a cheese panino with a creamy pesto spread ($6.50). (JB)
TRY Stuffed peanut butter cookie ($2)

44 W. Main Ave. • 458-2667 • Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily
If you don’t want to cook dinner or if you need a new quick lunch place, Main Market’s deli counter offers local, organic products already prepared. At lunch, they make sandwiches to order, and all day long, they offer vegetable salads, soups, meats, side dishes, and amazing vegan and gluten-free cakes. (CF)
TRY Yam-basil gratin ($5), chocolate hazelnut meringue cake ($4)

827 W. First Ave. (inside Neato Burrito) • 847-1234 • Breakfast, Wed-Sat
In the glare of morning, after a night of carousing at the hip Baby Bar, come back to the same locale for a cup of joe ($1), a cookie ($1), a cupcake ($2.50) or a massive, satisfying breakfast burrito ($6 with meat, $5 without). On Saturdays, enjoy mimosas and Bloody Marys ($4). The bakery plans to host music one Saturday a month, and come spring, it’ll be open on Monday and Tuesdays, too. (JF)
TRY Breakfast burrito ($6)

232 W. Sprague • 474-1621 • Lunch, dinner daily
This popular new bar across the street from the Amtrak station is increasingly becoming known as a haven for local music, but its daytime food offerings are noteworthy, too. Entrée prices exceed our $10 Cheap Eats limit, but sandwiches (a peppercorn-bleu burger, the Caprese panino, etc.) go down just fine. Plus, once you’ve packed your gut, you can burn off the calories at their indoor basketball hoop. (JS)
TRY Spicy pork wings ($10)

621 W. Mallon Ave. • 328-3958 • Lunch, dinner, Tue-Sun
Walk into this tiny Ethiopian restaurant in the heart of the Flour Mill and it might take you a moment to register that something is missing from the tables: silverware. That’s where injera comes in. The spongy, slightly sour bread functions as your delivery vehicle for loads of doro we’t, kitfo and tibs. Best to stick to the veggie options, though. Those meat dishes can get expensive. (JS)
TRY Dinich we’t (potatoes and carrots cooked in turmeric and other spices, $8)

6704 N. Nevada St. • 315-8945 • Breakfast, lunch until 6 pm daily
This chipper coffee shop abuts a hip laundromat and is within driving distance of Whitworth University. It’s not surprising, then, to find that Revive attracts studious types seeking proper laundry facilities. It’s worth a pop by, though, regardless of how well you keep up on your wash. Buying a pound of coffee results in a $2 donation to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. (LB)
TRY Biscuits and gravy ($4), half-sandwich and soup ($6)

3207 N. Market St. • 483-2967 • Lunch, dinner, Mon-Sun
There’s a saddle on the wall here, complete with spurs, stirrups and two bottles — one for whiskey, the other for cognac. Looking at it will keep you occupied throughout your entire meal, which is comfy, traditional Mexican fare. The menu’s diverse, with sections for vegetarians and “eggs,” but only about half the menu — all combinations, half the burritos, etc. — is below our $10 mark. (ND)
TRY Vegetarian fajitas ($9)

3415 E. Trent Ave. • 209-6119 • Lunch, dinner, Mon-Fri
Don’t go expecting a sit-down meal — this is a drive-thru. The ambience is East Trent Industrial (porn, guns and barbed wire), but this former espresso shack is a little dab of smoky heaven. It’s filled with pit-smoked (apple wood) pork, beef and chicken, and they serve up the grub quickly.
TRY Brisket sandwich ($7.50)

808 W. Main Ave. • 455-3900 •Lunch, dinner daily
Opened in December in the River Park Square space formerly occupied by Sawtooth Grill, Sushi Maru’s “conveyor sushi” style is a dining experience tailor-made for people who hate ordering off a menu without knowing exactly what will arrive. The food you ultimately choose will slide by in little suitcases — each plate a different color, each color a set price. (LR)
TRY Rainbow roll ($4)

7458 N. Division • 483-4000 • Lunch, dinner daily
The inarguable draw here is its snatch-and-sample setup, called “kaiten sushi.” In the fashion of grabbing suitcases from a luggage carousel, diners — who can opt for bar seating on one side of the track or table seating on the other — nab selections at will, which range from $1.50 to $4.50. (Visual legends indicate which colored plates cost how much.) (BT)
TRY The Volcano Roll, with cream cheese, cucumber and crab, topped with “volcano dynamite” ($3.50)

128 W. Third Ave. • 624-3738 • Lunch, dinner Mon-Sun
This place makes us want India to take over the world and force-feed us this delicious food every day. Come for the rotating selection of two-dozen different items at the lunch buffet, which regularly includes classics like tandoori chicken and saag paneer. But don’t forget dessert — the warm gulab jamun (Indian donut holes), the kheer (rice pudding) and gajer halwa (a sweet carrot dish) will have you begging for Punjabi global rule. (ND)
TRY Lunch Buffet ($10)

211 N. Division • 747-8940 • Lunch, dinner daily
Ugly Bettie’s, which took over the Talotti’s 211 space in November, is a typical bar but a little confused on décor. There are two lounge areas with plush couches, but the bar area has an inflatable Spiderman hanging from the ceiling. Food is normal bar fare with a few added touches, like the asparagus in the quesadillas ($6). Go during their daily happy hour (4-7 pm) for half-price appetizers and $7 domestic pitchers. (CF)
TRY Ugly Bettie’s Burger ($10)

5028 N. Market St. • 482-0700 • Lunch, dinner daily
In case you were expecting a bar with a Cheers-esque atmosphere, where everyone knows your name — you’re absolutely correct. Usher’s also offers some really inexpensive and delicious food items to snack on — mainly bar food like mozzarella sticks, breaded and fried mushrooms, and a couple of burgers. Homemade tartar sauce, too! (TLM)
TRY Chicken strips ($6)

Spokane Valley/
Liberty Lake

1400 Meadowwood Ln., Liberty Lake • 924-1446 • Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily
The mammoth proportions at this somewhat bland American family restaurant are a bargain: light eaters can get two meals from one dish. Bonus points for the drive-through, where you can grab coffee or phoned-in food orders. (AM)
TRY Sausage, biscuits and gravy, with hash browns, eggs and toast ($9)

9119 E. Broadway Ave. • 893-8050 • Lunch, dinner daily
Snuggled between a Weldon Barber and a Starbucks, this little frozen yogurt joint knows how to wrap it. Sure, the self-serve frozen treats taste hella delicious, but come here for lunch and dessert. The wraps are huge, they have fresh ingredients and they taste way better than the ones from a certain sandwich chain we all know. (TLM)
TRY Veggie wrap ($5.50)

9614 E. Sprague • 509-891-8357 • Lunch, dinner, Mon-Sat
Usually, when more than one pool table is present in an establishment the fare tends to stay close to the basics of bar food: grease, fried things and beer. But while Black Diamond (formerly McQ’s) still has short-order items like burgers and chicken strips, it also offers “from-scratch” dinner entrees like chicken piccata ($12) — a grilled chicken breast topped with garlic, lemon butter and capers.

14700 E. Indiana Ave. • 509-928-9799 • Lunch, dinner daily
A step up from what you might expect in a mall restaurant, this offering from Vicky Zheng (the owner of Hong Kong Express) is cheerful and almost elegant, decorated in teal and red, with ornate, calligraphy-covered wall hangings. You’ll find everything you’d want from an Asian-inspired buffet: chow mein, teriyaki chicken, fried rice and even a dozen kinds of sushi. The quality is good — no limp veggies or oily noodles.
TRY Lunch ($7)

10512 E. Sprague, Spokane Valley • 999-4472 • Lunch, dinner daily
Not as high-end or sports-oriented as the name suggests, the Luxury Box is half-family restaurant and half-sports lounge. The place is comfortable, and the food’s delicious. Chef Brad Chase describes the menu as “comfort food with a twist.” For example, there’s a club sandwich on the menu, but it’s made with crab and shrimp instead of the traditional turkey and ham. At lunch, the daily “blue plate” specials are especially popular.
TRY Grilled hot turkey sandwich ($9)

13921 E. Trent Ave. • 443-3796 • Dinner daily
Outside is a gritty, high-speed stretch of Trent (at Evergreen). Inside: cool blue neon glowing through glass tiles that front an L-shaped bar. Sports on nine TVs. Even perfecter? The bar food is terrifically not-greasy. Plus, there are sandwiches, pizzas, fish and steak. All named for rockers.
TRY Hendrix Heads South, a well-made burger with roasted green chilies and jack cheese ($6.95)

11520 E. Sprague • 922-9960 • Lunch, dinner, Mon-Sat
Despite being set up in what looks like an old diner, Sushi Sakai offers a delightful atmosphere and genuinely delicious sushi, ranging from the user-friendly California roll to the more adventurous Rattlesnake roll. They’ve also got a fine selection of sake, which, despite being made from rice, will get you soused. Handle with care. (TH)
TRY Valley Volcano Roll ($7)

1803 N. Harvard Rd., Liberty Lake • 892-3077 • Lunch, dinner, Mon-Fri; Breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sat-Sun
Sure, the entrance is like a maze. But with new ownership and a fresh menu, this iteration of Liberty Lake’s same-place, new-face sports bar looks determined to succeed. Stay rich by ordering several plates from the happy hour menu (3-6 pm) — stay classy by calling it tapas. (AM)
TRY Creamy garlic chicken flatbread pizza ($5 during happy hour)

North Idaho

314 N. Third St., Coeur d’Alene • 208-209-3129 • Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily
The revamped bakery space inside the upscale Parkside building offers fresh-baked goodies and steaming cups of chai, in addition to the other treats one might expect — bagels, muffins, gorgeously browned loaves of bread. There’s also a mini-bistro. You can enjoy both breakfast and lunch among the potted plants or along the sun-filled counter.
TRY Fire-roasted veggie panino ($7)

209 N. First Ave., Sandpoint • 208-597-4763 • Lunch, dinner daily
There are a dozen different reasons to be lured into the Dive, part of the empire built by head chef and front man Junior Solis and his business partner, Lex Sparks. Advertised as offering “white trash comfort food,” the Dive’s selection goes well with beer — Bubba’s Fish n’ Chips ($9), for example — or even a hangover (the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Burger goes for $9). But the Dive is an odd place, more about kickin’ it with friends than cuisine.
TRY Hillbilly pulled-pork sandwich ($7)

1726 W. Kathleen Ave., Coeur d’Alene • 208-765-8888 • Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily
Located in the cavernous space that was formerly Wagner’s Hofbrau, Fedora added smoked-glass dividers and booths to create a comfy, classy dining and separate bar area. It’s 1920s gangster-shtick, with servers garbed in black and — naturally — a fedora, but shies away from cutesy, like serving sleeps-with-the-fishes and chips. Besides burgers and sandwiches, there are several “lighter side” meals, like sandwiches and salads.
TRY Mediterranean linguine ($10)

315 E. Walnut St., Coeur d’Alene • 208-667-2729 • Breakfast, lunch, Tue-Sun
Garnet provides a reasonably-priced and innovative interpretation of the hearty Western breakfast. Eggs are plentiful, accompanied by apple wood-smoked bacon or sausage ($7), an eight-ounce New York steak topped with bleu cheese ($12), and even Spam ($6). Pork can be panko-breaded and fried ($8) or topped with maple-apple-pecan sauce ($10). Sockeye salmon and eggs includes an orange marmalade ($9), while pesto adds color to the Green Eggs and Ham ($8).
TRY Waffles ($4)

726 N. 4th St., Coeur d’Alene • 208-667-1717 • Lunch, dinner daily
New head chef Ronikae Achord has more than doubled the menu offerings at this popular Coeur d’Alene pub. Under his direction, Kelly’s kept many of the foods you’d expect in a conventional Irish pub: fish and chips ($10), the Reuben sandwich ($10) and bangers and mash ($10). But he’s added stuff like Irish Nachos — French fries topped with cheese, bacon, chives, onions, tomatoes and jalapenos ($6).
TRY Steamers in white-wine butter sauce ($10)


24 W. First St., Cheney • 235-2035 • Lunch, dinner daily
In Spanish, “portalito” can mean several things (a port, a Nativity scene, etc.), but here it means something akin to “entryway.” Entryway to what, you ask? Mexico, es posible. But certainly to a salmon-colored joint that’s roughly the size of a vestibule. It’s also a gateway to incredibly fresh Tex-Mex fare. Our machaca plate was a good balance of shredded beef, scrambled eggs, onions and peppers. It was lightly charred around the edges, adding a nice depth of flavor. (LB)
TRY Machaca ($9.25), Vegetarian Tapatía Enchilada ($7.50)

313 First St., Cheney • 235-7007 • Lunch, dinner daily
Loco Dogz will change the way you think about putting sausage in a bun. The place takes a region-by-region approach to the hot dog, in the process creating some truly strange but tasty combinations. We wouldn’t have put tomato wedges together with neon relish and sport peppers, but now we don’t know if we can live without it. It took nearly 10 minutes to cook two dogs, but it was a worthwhile wait. (LB)
TRY The N’awlins ($3.50), the Chicago ($3.50)


245 SE Paradise St., Pullman • 509-338-9463 • Lunch, dinner, Tue-Sun
Paradise Creek finally gives you an excuse to use the words “adorable” and “beer” in the same sentence. Located in an antique post office, this place has mastered the art of taking the old and adding flair – from the atmosphere down to the menu. Case in point: Root Beer BBQ sauce. (TH)
TRY Voodoo Cajun Burger ($10)

Harvest Festival Craft Faire @ Green Bluff Grange

Sat., Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun., Oct. 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat., Oct. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun., Oct. 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat., Oct. 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
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