Not sure who to vote for? Here are some of my favorites!
The time has arrived! The Inlander’s Best of the Inland Northwest 2024 poll is HERE! This year, if you submit 20 votes or more in the poll, you’re automatically entered to win a deluxe prize package from Visit Spokane. Yes PLEASE!
I perused the poll, fully intending on checking 20 boxes in order to be entered for the prize package, and was totally bamboozled when I saw that there were ZERO multiple-choice options to choose from. You need to physically type the name in of the business you’re voting for. So, you basically need to have all of the best businesses and all of your favorites in the forefront of your mind. There ARE several ads that pop up on each page, sending you conspicuous messages to “vote for me!” but if you’re anything like me, you tend to feel a certain way when businesses sponsor ads on poll pages encouraging readers to vote for them. I’m honestly not entirely sure why that rubs me the wrong way. I think I equate it to voting for your own kid as the MVP on the team. They might actually be, but doesn’t it just feel a bit egocentric? Even Mark Few’s own flesh and blood hardly sees minutes on the floor, even though he’s a crowd favorite. So, just in case you’re like me and need some local favorite OPTIONS to choose from, here are some of my picks!!
Treats & Global Flavors:
- Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle in the Garland District has a long standing history of winning this one, and for good reason. They make their ice cream by hand, and it’s always fresh and delicious and creamy. Really hard to beat!
- The Scoop on the South Hill is another favorite little ma and pop shop. Grab a waffle cone and sit on the patio in the summer, or order the liege waffle! Every bit as good as the ones in Amsterdam.
- Cafe Coco! This adorable storefront downtown on Main Street not only has a raw and eclectic European ambiance, but their croissants are actually to die for. And the grilled peach, feta and prosciutto toast? AMAZING.
- Chaps Diner & Bakery off Cheney-Spokane Road is another winner in my book. They have a maple scone that my mom brings me every year on my birthday, because my mom is the best.
I have to admit, I don’t love all the fancy cream-filled / Fruity Pebble topped / gummy worm donuts. I absolutely DO love a perfectly crispy homemade old fashioned, or a freshly baked apple fritter with some fresh-squeezed orange juice.
- Retro Donuts is the place for me! All that and more.
Since I’m not a big cake fan, pies are everything for me. Huckleberry for the win, always.
- Bean & Pie is found in both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, and makes the best variety of handpies- sweet and savory! Think personal sized pizzas, but better because it’s pie.
- Walter’s Fruit Ranch on Greenbluff makes pies with their own orchard fruit, AND they sell frozen take-and-bake pies. Just baked the peach crumble last weekend, and it was DELISH.
- The huckleberry milkshake from Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle is the best in town… AND they have a lactose-free version! Dairy-sensitive folks, rejoice!
I consider myself a bit of a sushi snob, in that I really only like GOOD sushi.
- Umi Kitchen & Sushi Bar is the best that I know! Grilled gyoza and a tiger roll, and I’m in my happy place. They now have downtown and northside restaurants, and I love ’em both.
- QQ Sushi is another great option. Every plate that comes out looks beautiful, and tastes the same. An artful, fishy masterpiece!
- De Leon’s is my favorite, hands down. Not only do they have a great selection at the restaurant, but they have a market that we regularly pick up carne asada from. Perfectly seasoned and perfectly delicious.
- I do have a soft spot for Rancho Chico. Maybe not culinary art, but they have giant margaritas, hefty [tasty] portions, and embarrassing hats to wear on your birthday.
- Italian Kitchen– I’m not sure if it’s exactly considered trendy since it’s been around for so long, but this place has a gorgonzola chicken that I dreamt about for days after I ordered it. True Story.
- Italia Trattoria in Browne’s Edition has amazing prosciutto app and salmon ravioli. Fresh and creative and kinda fancy.
There’s only one place for me:
- Vien Dong. A girlfriend brought me here to try the pho, and I was in awe. Her family is Vietnamese, and she said they tried a ton of restaurants and this was the best. I have a hard time not believing them!
- Kuni’s Thai! I ordered the Curry Puff as an appetizer, and I wanted to order 3 more. Puff pastry filled with veggies and cucumber sauce… doesn’t sounds like much, but it’s amazing. And since we’re on a Mark Few theme- I saw him last time I was there, and we all know he has great taste.
Nightlife & Drink Local:
- Barrister Winery! The Cab Franc is my favorite all-time wine. Their bar is full of exposed brick and white lights and the work of local artists- check it out if you haven’t yet.
Nothing gets me more excited than seeing a cocktail on the menu with eggwhite in the description. It’s a mild obsession.
- North Hill on Garland is making a comeback in the craft cocktail arena! They had it nailed a few years ago, then migrated toward more of a wine bar, now are back on the cocktail scene. If Carson is working and it’s slow, ask for the Ramos Gin Fizz and prepare to be mindblown.
- Volstead Act is another favorite! Check out the “I’m Not Salty, You Are” made with strawberry infused Reposado, Cointreau, lime, and salted cheese foam. Yep, you read that right.
- Pitotti Coffee on Garland! Not only is it the sweetest couple that owns it and sends a big “HI! WELCOME IN!” to everyone who steps through the door, but it’s delicious and fun. Order the coffee cake and watch them light things on fire when they torch it at your table. The best.
- Lofty Skies in Deer Park is another perfect contender. Breakfast tacos with egg and avocado, couches everywhere, and downright GOOD coffee.
- Gracey’s Flower Farm. I was WAY late to the adulting and ordering a boutonniere for Homecoming, and another mom gave me the number to Gracey’s. The owner whipped up the most perfect last minute accessory, AND drove north for the handoff. Beautiful flowers, and an amazing heart! Check her out if you haven’t yet.
- Mel’s in north Spokane has always been a favorite. The cutest Free People clothes and all the trendy home decor you could dream of.
- A new love of mine is Shanty Boutique in Newport! A midsize, curated collection of everything adorable and mostly affordable. I fell hard into the trap of the cards and gifts collection, and before I know it a full hour had passed. Worth the drive north, I promise.
Coming from the wife of a cattle farmer, I have some feelings on this one…
- Churchill’s Steakhouse. I don’t care if an 8oz filet is $68, it’s WORTH IT. From the cocktails to the whipped butter served with the fresh baked bread, this place is a treat, with EXCEPTIONAL steaks.
- Zona Blanca for the ceviche is a win every time. Pair it with the non-alcoholic beverage selection, the cocktails, and all of the fresh seafood options. [Might I recommend the Maiz Molido: mexican corn, chile guajillo, cilantro, tomato vinegar and queso enchilada]
- House of Brunch was an ADVENTURE and full of surprises. The Grand Marnier glazed cinnamon roll comes out in flames, literally, and the ‘Trippy Unicorn’ white coffee drink is dusted in 24K gold. Instagram influencers, grab your phone and go ham!
- Bowery Spokane is another new one that needs some love! French cuisine, but like the non-pretentious kind. Espresso and freshly baked goods in the morning, and Parisian Gnocchi for dinner. The owner has been pretty vocal about his sobriety and making it a safe space for his employees to be protected from the harsh restaurant lifestyle… which I wholeheartedly applaud.
Home & Professional Services:
- Bide & Burgeon is owned by the Tin Roof, but is like the more affordable little sister. Staff is great, and after spending weeks looking at every store across town, 90% of my furniture ended up coming from here.
- The Bohemian is another awesome store that you might not have heard of! They feature local artists and carry one-of-a-kind pieces as well. Always trendy and always eclectic.
- Have you seen the work that Copper Creek does?! Super high end and incredibly beautiful.
Soo… I’m obviously a Realtor and like to think I do a dang good job. I’ve been given some sweet accolades and have been honored to help a lot of families in Spokane. But I’m ALSO a firm believer in collaboration, and lifting everyone up around me. So in the spirit of Joe Few sitting on the bench and being the most heartfelt supporter of his teammates, I’ll tell you about some other awesome Realtors that you should consider voting for.
- Darcy McMurray is probably the equivalent to my real estate twin, in that we run our businesses very much alike. I know firsthand about how she honestly cares for her clients, and will go the extra mile for any one of them.
- Alexa Munson is another agent at my brokerage, who knows all of the contract forms EXTREMELY well. She goes to all of the extra classes, and if ever our managing broker was out of town, I officially nominate Alexa to serve in his place!
- Matt Raby is a guy who I’ve known a long time- we even went on a mission trip together waaaay back in the day. He leads a great team of agents, and has always worked with immense amounts integrity.
- Hollister Homes– Jamie Hollister is a great local guy, and builds beautiful homes. Hollister is a family-run company who builds just a few homes at a time. I’ve toured several of them, and had a dear friend who built with him and can attest to his process. PLUS, a builder with integrity who actually answers his phone is pretty invaluable.
- Uptic Studios has pretty well cornered the market of modern, upscale architecture in my mind- and for good reason! Their designs are unique, creative, and their customer service is top-notch.
Arts & Culture:
- Spokast for SURE! The entire goal of the podcast is to highlight the incredible stories of Spokane and its residents. I wish I spent more time listening to shows this local and wholesome.
- I served on the board for Communities in Schools for several years, and it’s AMAZING how little people know about them and how much incredible work they do. Liaisons in schools are helping underserved kiddos comb lice out of their hair, giving them access to food pantries and providing closets full of what they are unable to receive at home. Every school needs a CIS case manager.
- I have the biggest soft spot for shelter animals, and Rescue4All has my heart. If I had all the money and time and space available, I would create a giant rescue for all of the animals, just as they have done. Bravo.
- Cup of Cool Water is an organization that provides so much opportunity for youth in our city experiencing homelessness. They teach job skills, offer safe spaces to hang, and basic needs that so many of us take for granted. Check out their job training program ‘Cool Water Painters.’ They painted my house and did a fantastic job!
Health & Beauty
- We have some amazing ones, but my favorite is Zi Spa. Not only do they offer you a glass of champagne, but after the steam room, hydrafacial, mud detox and himalayan stone massage… I never want to leave.
- Method Juice is one fantastic option. More than just a juice bar, in my mind, because the spicy thai peanut rice bowl is to die for!
- The Wellness Bar in north Idaho probably has my favorite acai bowl of all time: the Power Bowl. Acai base with vanilla whey, granola, banana, blackberries, peanut butter and chocolate drizzle. Yes PLEASE!
- Fairwood Animal Hospital goes down in my book as the all-time best at everything. Dr. Hart is the most gentle, patient, creative and intelligent vets I’ve ever worked with. Even the vet techs go WAY above and beyond. (Ask me about the time a sweet tech offered to come to my house DAILY to help administer meds to my senior pup… I tear up just thinking about it.)
There you have it- some sweet options for the best business in Spokane! You should officially now have MORE than enough options for the 20 votes required to be entered into the prize package drawing. Head on over to The Inlander’s page, vote away, and don’t forget to let me know if you win the prize package 🙂