Inlander Restaurant Week was co-developed by the Inlander and Visit Spokane, along with support from other community partners, and first launched in February 2013. The vision was clear — highlight our region's amazing restaurants, innovative chefs and build up our culinary community. Since then the food scene in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene region has continued to strengthen.
Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, was the last day of the eighth year of Inlander Restaurant Week. It had been the most successful one to date, but our region was just days away from the start of the pandemic.
Faced with the challenge of COVID-19, the Inlander worked to form community partnerships in an effort to help area businesses in whatever ways were possible, including an emphasis on one of the hardest hit business categories — restaurants. Ultimately, the Inlander's business and marketing teams partnered with public and private institutions and were tasked with supporting area businesses through the eight-month Back To Business campaign. The campaign directly supported over 1,000 businesses and included publishing (in print and online) three Restaurant Guides — each featuring over 150 different restaurants, with no cost for the participants.
By the end of 2020, it had become clear that area restaurants were in no position to host a full restaurant-week-style event in its usual late February timeframe. Inlander Restaurant Week's longtime presenting sponsor, STCU, agreed it wasn't going to work, but asked the question "What could we do to support area restaurants?"
What came next was remarkable. Fourteen community-minded banks and credit unions put aside competition and came together to underwrite The Great Dine Out. From March 12-27, more than 160 Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area restaurants were able to participate at no cost in this special restaurant event featuring their signature dishes and fan favorites. The Inlander published a special event guide, with a feature on every participant, that was circulated across the region.
The possibility of a traditional Inlander Restaurant Week in 2021 remained open, but scheduling options were limited and full reopening guidance was unclear. While it was apparent there would be unknowns to contend with, hosting the ninth annual event seemed like the right thing to do. So, for the first (and possibly only) time, we present the summer edition of Inlander Restaurant Week!
While the 2021 event features fewer participants than usual — many restaurants are still finding their balance after the rollercoaster of the pandemic — there are amazing restaurants ready to host you and some truly outstanding menus for diners to enjoy.
And, looking forward, the dates are already set for the 10th anniversary Inlander Restaurant Week, presented by STCU: Feb. 24-March 5, 2022. ♦