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A&E >  Food

‘Dish’ is gourmet off the beaten path

Chef Gabriel Cruz shows one of his creations at Dish Home Cooking in Sandpoint. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Chef Gabriel Cruz shows one of his creations at Dish Home Cooking in Sandpoint. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

They’re calling the restaurant Dish Home Cooking, but let’s be honest: It would only be home cooking to someone who happens to live with a chef.

Owners Gary and Laura Pietz opened the Sandpoint restaurant in February for breakfast and added dinner to the offerings about three months ago. Chef Gabe Cruz, formerly of Café Trinity, is in the kitchen.

The dinner menu includes enticing-sounding dishes such as achiote-marinated rotisserie chicken served with cilantro mashers, buffalo meatloaf, capicola lasagna and paella.

And breakfast? Along with hearty standards such as pancakes and French toast, Cruz serves up several takes on eggs Benedict, including one topped with crawfish etouffee and another vegetarian version with roasted tomatoes, avocado and mushrooms.

There are chorizo-stuffed omelets and scrambled egg, sweet potato and black bean breakfast burritos.

Dish serves lunch as well, including Kobe beef burgers, barbecue pork sandwiches, chicken tacos, salads and soups. There are a few vegetarian options for each meal. Beer and wine are available.

“What we’re trying to make is food that is approachable, but isn’t necessarily food that one would sit down and make at home every day,” said Gary Pietz. “It’s done with a cutting-edge approach and a chef who knows how to layer flavors of food and marry flavors of food.”

Pietz and his wife have more than three decades of restaurant experience. They moved to Sandpoint from the San Francisco Bay area in 2003 after buying the Coit House Bed and Breakfast. They later bought the K2 Inn across the street and sold that businesses before opening Dish.

Dish is purposely located on the edge of Sandpoint, away from the busy downtown. It seats 60 people at a time, including a popular counter bar.

“We wanted to place ourselves more in an area where we could become a neighborhood restaurant,” Pietz says. “We wanted to be a part of the community and saw an opportunity with this complex that was being built.”

Pictures of the brick and wood-beam exterior and the warmly lit interior, as well as the restaurant menus, are available online at It is located in the Mountain West Bank complex, 1319 Highway 2, in Sandpoint.

One more thing: Dish has a drive-up window.

In the morning, Doma coffee, smoothies, breakfast foods and pastries are passed through the window to waiting customers in their cars. At lunch and dinner, they’ll serve up anything off the menu for drive-through take-out.

Dish is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to noon Sundays. Call (208) 265-6100 to reach the restaurant or place a take-out order.

Get it while it’s hot

An 8-year-old Rathdrum boy’s winning burger in a national Red Robin restaurant contest is now on the menu.

Charlie Beckett’s “Holy Peño” burger is being served at all Red Robins nationwide. He was the winner of the third-annual Kids’ Cook-Off sponsored by the chain.

Fifty cents from each of the burgers sold will benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The “Holy Peño” burger features jalapenos, pepper-jack cheese and caramelized onions on a ciabatta bun. Beckett’s recipe and the other top 50 recipes from the competition are featured in a cookbook which can be downloaded free from

Red Robin is accepting entries for its fourth annual Kids’ Cook-off. Through Sept. 13, children ages 6 to 12 can submit a gourmet burger recipe along with a 100-word statement about why they deserve to win. Entries can be made at Red Robin restaurants or online.

Beckett’s burger was chosen from more than 14,000 entries. In his essay he wrote, “Some restaurants claim to have hot and spicy burgers, but only leave your mouth tingling. This burger will leave your mouth on fire and your body and face dripping with sweat.”

The Dish appears monthly in the Food section. Send news releases, tips and suggestions to Lorie Hutson, Features Department, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Call (509) 459-5446, fax to (509) 459-5098 or send an e-mail to

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