Whitworth University’s picturesque, peaceful and pine-dotted campus can sometimes feel far away from the rest of the city – a sylvan retreat in suburban Spokane.
Situated some 7 miles north of the downtown core, Whitworth lies along U.S. Highway 395. Take care crossing that busy street. But do come out behind the so-called “pine cone curtain” of campus – to eat.
This is where to go for grub around Whitworth.
Cheap eats: Atilano’s
This Inland Northwest chain of Mexican fast food restaurants boasts “San Diego’s Best Burritos.” Who cares if Spokane is some 1,300 miles from Mission Beach? The burritos here are big, and they are cheap. So are the tacos, tostadas and combo plates. This makes Atilano’s popular with college students. It isn’t unusual for undergrads to pile into a car and make a late-night burrito run. Combo plates usually run in the $6 to $8 range. Daily specials are $4.99. But most menu items are $3 to $6, including those giant burritos. 12210 N. Division St. (509) 466-2847. atilanos.com.
Sweet treats: Didier’s
Yogurt and More
Make that sweet, cold treats. Didier’s has been a sweet spot for Pirates for more than 30 years. It offers sandwiches, salads, soup, chili and burgers. But this walk-up counter, fast-casual restaurant is best known for its frozen yogurt. Didier’s is Spokane’s original, build-your-own froyo shop. And it’s right across the highway from campus. There are plenty of toppings – about 40 – to choose from as well as eight rotating froyo flavors. Build your own cold and creamy dessert in a cup. Shakes are available, too. 10410 N. Division St. (509) 466-8434.
Coffee: Petit Chat
This spacious bakery, coffee shop and cafe is a great place to sip espresso and study, then reward yourself for all that studying with a cookie, cupcake, chocolate croissant, cinnamon roll, muffin or Danish. Petit Chat is a short walk from campus. Plus, it offers comfy couches along with tables and chairs for reading, doing homework or maybe meeting up with a study buddy or group. Front windows let in lots of natural light, and accent walls – done in buttery yellow and dusty blue – add a cozy feel to the place, which has a polished concrete floor and exposed duct work. Order at the counter, then settle in. Along with the usual line-up of espresso drinks, Petit Chat also offers quiches, sandwiches, salads, bread and other baked goods. 9910 N. Waikiki Road. (509) 468-2720. petitchatbakery.com.
Date night: Wasabi Asian
Bistro and Sushi Bar
Never mind its small strip mall location. This eatery is right across the highway from campus. There are spots along the counter where you can watch the chef prepare sushi. (A conversation starter, perhaps? Or, maybe, something to entertain you if your date isn’t holding your attention?) The space is done in black and the color of wasabi. Booths are bright green. The walls a muted mint. Floors are polished concrete. The vibe is fresh and contemporary. A dividing wall “planted” with faux grass partitions the dining room in half. You don’t have to like sushi to eat here. Pad thai is popular. The menu also includes dishes such as a banh mi sandwich, pineapple curry, Mongolian beef, fried rice and pepper-crusted flank steak with mashed potatoes. There are plenty of rolls to choose from – such as the Seattle roll, Alaska roll, Grand Cayman roll and – if the date isn’t going so well maybe try – the Nightmare on Division Street roll with asparagus, shrimp tempura, crab, tuna, salmon, and eel and spicy lobster sauce. The Hawaiian roll has spicy tuna, crab and a Hawaiian ginger sauce. The Red Dragon and Tornado rolls are house specialties. If you have high hopes for the night, perhaps consider sharing the Sashimi Box of Dreams with bluefin tuna, spicy tuna, escolar, otoro tuna, yellowtail, salmon, eel, shrimp, tamago and saba mackerel. 10208 N. Division St. (509) 290-5573. https://wasabi.wpengine.com.
Breakfast: Frank’s Diner
This popular diner serves classic American breakfasts inside a vintage railway car that’s parked about a mile and a half from campus. Sit at the counter and watch the line cooks make your eggs. Or, opt for a booth. Either way, it might feel a bit snug; the dining room is limited by the footprint of the 1913 train car. The breakfast menu, however, is expansive. There are 14 breakfast favorites, including Conductor’s Derailer with a Belgian waffle or French toast, bacon or sausage, hash browns or fruit, and two jumbo eggs. Look, also, for fried green tomatoes and eggs, corned beef hash with eggs, pepper steak and eggs, and a Hobo Scramble with sausage, cheddar and more. There are seven omelets and six kinds of eggs Benedict, plus hot cakes, waffles and French toast. Portions are generous, and entrees often come in small or large sizes. 10929 N. Newport Highway. (509) 465-2464. franksdiners.com.
Burgers: Zip’s Drive-In
Southern California has In-N-Out. The Inland Northwest has Zip’s. Zip’s is a Spokane-area institution. It predates McDonald’s Systems Inc., and the tartar sauce is so legendary that some customers buy it by the tub to take home. Zip’s has about 40 locations, one of which is a stone’s throw from the Whitworth campus. Burgers here are made to order, so don’t be surprised if there’s a small wait for the food, which Zip’s website describes as “Deliciously Exotic!” The Papa Joe comes with a slice of ham. The Buster has both ham and bacon. The Big Zipper has three patties. You can make it a Boss by adding ham and bacon. The Wrangler has two patties, bacon and barbecue sauce. And the barbecue sauce varies from store to store. So do other accoutrements, such as ranch or jalapeño ranch. There are other variables, too. Some Zip’s stores offer breakfast. Some season their patties with a “secret” blend of spices. Hours vary store to store and, sometimes, season to season. It’s all part of the Zip’s charm. Most stores are owned and operated by former store managers or relatives – including children and grandchildren – of the three early owners. 10125 N. Division St (509) 466-6924. zipsdrivein.com/.
Beer: Pints Ale House
Whitworth has its “Big Three” rule for students living on campus: no drugs or alcohol, no “cohabitation” and no violence. But, if you’re 21 or older, off of but not far from campus and want to learn more about beer, consider Pints Ale House for continuing your education. Ask questions. Bartenders here are knowledgeable. Taps are rotating. Offerings are interesting. Don’t expect your nothing-fancy budget beers – read: cheap domestics – here. Pints has a well-curated, often highly rated collection of craft beer. There are 25 taps with everything from nitro milk and barrel-aged bourbon stouts to sour saisons and goses and extra-hoppy IPAs. Hoppy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. most days and all day Sunday. There’s wine, too. Outside food is allowed. Check taplister.com for the current selection. 10111 N. Newport Highway. (509) 368-9671. www.pintsalehouse.com.
Pub grub: Mac Daddy’s
Pub and Grill
Sausages and mac and cheese – as separate menu items as well as combined into one dish, the Mac and Cheese Bratwurst – are the specialties at this pub and grill, which opened last fall at the Fairwood Shopping Center. Look for deep-fried mac-and-cheese balls with or without bacon and curly fries topped with cheese or mac and cheese. Look, also, for a mac-and-cheese burger, hot dogs, chicken wings and, of course, a bunch of different kinds of mac and cheese. There’s the signature bacon mac and cheese, vegetarian mac and cheese, Buffalo mac and cheese, pulled pork mac and cheese, pizza mac and cheese, meat lovers’ mac and cheese, and spicy mac and cheese with jalapeños. There’s basic mac and cheese, too. Sandwiches include a Philly with mac and cheese, grilled cheese, pulled pork, build-your-own, barbecue-bacon-jalapeño, Hawaiian and more. There are several salads, too, as well as a pizza dog, German sausage, bacon-cheddar dog, Hawaiian dog and bratwurst. Two of the three desserts are deep-fried. Look for a deep-fried Snickers bar with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, deep-fried chocolate brownie bites or an ice cream sundae. 415 W. Hastings Road. (509) 270 7069. www.facebook.com/MacDaddysGourmetGrub/
Pizza: McClain’s Pizzeria
The McClain’s Combination – with Canadian bacon, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, black olives and red onions – is a top-seller at this pizza place, where Whitworth – and other local school – memorabilia lines the walls and there are discounts for Whitworth students, faculty and staff, and the military. Try not to fill up on Buffalo chicken cheesy bread, made with pizza dough and covered with a creamy and tangy sauce. It’s on special on Saturdays. Pizzas are hand tossed and cooked in a revolving, four-deck commercial oven. Honey, meant for drizzling on pizza crust and left in bottles on tables, comes from Tate’s Honey Farm in Spokane Valley. Boxes of Trivial Pursuit cards, also left on tables, provide entertainment and conversation starters. Lunch specials are available Monday through Friday. There are daily specials, too. Specialty pizzas include the Meat Coma, chicken-bacon-ranch, Greek, Philly cheesesteak, taco, spicy Thai and barbecue chicken. Also available: calzones, wraps, sandwiches, salads and appetizers such as nachos, hot wings and McClain’s Salty Balls, or dough balls tossed with butter and salt and served with cheese sauce for dipping. Desserts include dessert pizza with butter, cinnamon, sugar and a drizzle of Ghiradelli white chocolate sauce as well as McClain’s Sweet Balls – dough balls tossed with butter, cinnamon and sugar and served with Ghiradelli white chocolate sauce for dipping. 10208 N. Division St., Suite 104. (509) 368-9045. www.mcclainspizzeriaspokane.com/.
Game day: Poole’s Public House North
This restaurant and sports bar boasts 18 beers on tap, plenty of big-screen TVs and sports decor, and a wide selection of pub grub, including signature sandwiches, burgers, wraps, salads and more. Nosh on chili cheese fries, battered and fried zucchini slices, bacon-wrapped grilled and stuffed jalapeños, beer-battered mushrooms, hand-battered pickle spears, Scotch eggs and Irish nachos with corned beef, among other offerings. Note, too, that Poole’s North is moving this fall to 12310 N. Ruby Road. Never fear, though. The new location, slated to open around the end of the month, is just some 75 feet west of the current location. 101 E. Hastings Road, Suite A. (509) 413 1834. www.poolespublichouse.com.
When the parents visit:
1898 Public House
You don’t have to be a member to dine at the restaurant at the former Spokane Country Club. You used to. Since the Kalispel Tribe bought and reopened the historically private property more than two years ago, the gastropub at the now-named Kalispel Golf and Country Club has been open to all. The expansive dining room and umbrella-dotted deck offer sweeping views of the golf course, tucked along the Little Spokane River under a canopy of towering pines. Named for the year the country club was founded, 1898 Public House specializes in dinner, brunch and happy hour. Dishes are modern, upscale and mostly American with Asian, French and Italian influences. Escargots are on the shareables menu. So is a lobster corn dog. Pro tip: get the award-winning and very popular ahi tuna poke tower with avocado, cucumber, ginger, garlic and wasabi to share. Better yet, get one for yourself. It’s big enough to be an entree. Executive chef Tyler Schwenk is particularly proud of it as well as his lobster macaroni and cheese, adorned with a lobster claw. Look, also, for a variety of steak, bone-in kurobuta pork chop, rack of lamb, jumbo burrata-filled ravioli and Honey Stung Fried Chicken with honey butter, pan gravy and a buttermilk biscuit. 2710 W. Waikiki Road. (509) 466-2121. www.kalispelgolf.com/dining.