Keeping up with the constant happenings, from openings to closings, chef dinners and happy hour specials in the Inland Northwest's flourishing food and drink community can be tough, simply because there's so much going on! The good news is that it's easy to stay in the know, as long as you know where to look. Here's our insider's guide on how.
As the Inlander's food editor, one of my go-to methods to keep up on the latest news and events is following as many local restaurants, bars, food trucks, chefs, artisan producers and other local food-related resources as I can on Facebook, Instagram and, for places that have an account, Twitter. Social media is where you'll regularly find the latest updates on events like special, one-off chef dinners, trivia nights, menu specials and events, as well as announcements on anticipated openings and seasonal menu changes.
On Facebook, also consider joining the SPOKANE FOODIES group, a place for regional (not just Spokane-based) food lovers and industry supporters to share tips, news and ask for dining recommendations from experienced local eaters and even local chefs themselves.
A few local blogs can be helpful resources for the latest news on forthcoming openings, restaurant reviews and experienced locals' recommendations for the best places to eat. We like the SPOKANE CULINARY ARTS GUILD'S blog (spokaneculinaryartsguild.com), run by a group of local foodies whose mission is promoting local dining and fostering an appreciation for the service industry. Its member tastemakers regularly post personalized lists of their favorite restaurants in the area. Another regularly updated food blog in the area is SPOKANE EATS (spokaneeats.net).
Look to Gather & Savor's blog and social media accounts for coupons, gorgeous photos, and food events. The local business-focused INLAND NORTHWEST BUSINESS WATCH (inlandnwbusiness.com) often is the first to share about new restaurants planning to open.
Another resource to get limited — but still interesting and very insider-y — info on what's forthcoming in terms of new food and drink establishments is the WASHINGTON STATE LIQUOR AND CANNABIS BOARD'S new licenses search feature, which posts updates on who's applying to serve beer, wine and liquor. Some of the listings are renewals and changes in license, but there's also always plenty of newcomers just getting started who pop up in the database, at lcb.wa.gov.
Finally, locals who want to be the first to know about new, exclusive dining opportunities through the newish SECRET BURGER off-menu series should check out secretburger.com. Not all events feature burgers, but rather offer local chefs a chance to experiment with creative menu items that aren't otherwise available. The affordable series averages around $20 per event and new "secret" events are added frequently.
Several area restaurants and restaurant groups send out regular newsletters about their upcoming events, seasonal menu changes and other happenings. Chef Adam Hegsted's EAT GOOD GROUP'S newsletter, roughly biweekly, is always packed with info on his regional restaurants' latest specials, events and other news.
For healthy and fresh locally tested recipes to cook at home, we also recommend signing up for FEASTING AT HOME'S newsletter, which regularly rounds up the latest seasonal recipes from Spokane-based chef, caterer and occasional Inlander contributor Sylvia Fountaine.