Among so many activities missed during the pandemic's lockdown on life last summer, dining out makes the top of my list. Between the on-and-off restrictions that kept many of us from dining in person (but ordering lots of takeout) and my unwavering commitment not to interact with anyone outside my household to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19, there are several recently opened restaurants I've still not checked out in person. Plus, many more favorite dining rooms that I've not visited in well over a year.
First up, an existing favorite: Gander & Ryegrass. My partner, Will, and I both missed birthday dinner outings during the pandemic. So to treat each other and make up for those postponed celebrations, we've made reservations at the downtown eatery to enjoy the multicourse chef's tasting menu.
Next is summer 2020 newcomer Wooden City Spokane. The downtown branch of an eatery with Tacoma roots has since generated plenty of local buzz as one of the best new spots to open last year. Having caught glimpses of the dining room and bar when I picked up takeout, I was quickly charmed by an open floor plan (and that mezzanine!) and style blending modern touches with a historic brick building.
Magnolia American Brasserie inside the new Hotel Indigo on downtown's west end is also on my summer dining bucket list. Like Wooden City, the restaurant's dining room blends elements of old Spokane with the new for a contemporary vibe, striking a careful balance between casual and upscale. Sepia-toned scenes of old timey revelers by local artist Daniel Lopez are complemented by sparkling chandeliers.
I could keep going with this list. Will and I don't have any major out-of-town getaways planned, so I'm expecting a fairly low-key — but busy! — summer catching up with friends and family and enjoying some amazing meals in great company.