Dining Destination: The West Plains

Longhorn Barbecue co-owners Zac Smith and Erin Everhart.
Longhorn Barbecue co-owners Zac Smith and Erin Everhart.

A short drive west from Spokane, you'll find a land filled with purpose. In Airway Heights, it's a town built next to an Air Force base. In Cheney, it's a town built around a college.

But after work or school, you need some good food to wind down. It's possible to pop into Spokane for a bite to eat, but there's no need. You can get all the fun you need at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. And between barbecue, pizza and Asian food, Cheney and Airway Heights have plenty of variety for you.

At LONGHORN BARBECUE in Airway Heights, check out its Rustler Dinner. For $19, choose three of their meats — ribs, chicken, German sausage and beef brisket — and then a side. It already comes with a corn muffin and honey butter. If you need to feed a family, try the family platter: Two pounds of ribs with sides of beans, salad, corn muffins and honey butter for $27.

In Cheney, it's calzone time. For $15, get a giant calzone at BARRELHOUSE PUB & PIZZA. Choose your sauce, cheese, five toppings and admire all of it wrapped up in handmade dough. If you're not in a calzone mood, then give MARKETPLACE RESTAURANT & AMISH COUNTRY STORE a try. You can stock up for the whole family with a family-style meal kit: Choose from chicken Alfredo, lasagna or cowboy pie, and get a salad, bread and dessert with it. You can pick it up hot if you call ahead, or just pick it up and heat it up at home.

Or head on over to Northern Quest. At THE LOUNGE AT MASSELOW'S, start off with some meatloaf ($9) and a handcrafted cocktail. EPIC SPORTS BAR has the TV for the big game, but why not try their blackened salmon with strawberry salsa ($20) along with it? The salmon is coated with Cajun seasoning, and it comes with cheese tortellini tossed with pancetta, garlic, asparagus and that sweet salsa.

For some Asian flavor, including pho, Chinese noodle and wonton soups, check out FAI'S NOODLE HOUSE, also inside Northern Quest. Be sure to try the Ahi Poke martini, with Ahi tuna, ginger soy sauce, cucumber, avocado, lime and Sriracha aioli for just $12. If that's not your style, maybe you'd like some fried rice. Their smoked pork fried rice comes with bean sprout, green onion, carrot, egg and edamame for $15. And for dessert, try the brown butter cake with some vanilla ice cream and chai tea anglaise, for just another $8.

Newport Rodeo & Festival @ Newport Rodeo Grounds

Fri., June 25, 1-9 p.m. and Sat., June 26, 12-9 p.m.
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