Atop the list of my favorites is Spuds (go figure a restaurant in Idaho being named after a potato). Although their location and ownership has changed a few times they’ve been a Sandpoint fixture for about 20 years. Their menu of soups, sandwiches and baked potatoes has influences of regional cuisine, southwestern favorites and Mediterranean creativity. They often have five or six soups made fresh daily that are absolutely divine. My choice when I visit has changed little in the 20 years I’ve been eating there. Each time I visit I order the turkey basil sandwich, made with fresh po’boy rolls, house-made basil mayonnaise and fresh rotisserie turkey. It’s not unusual that I order a second sandwich if I’m particularly hungry.
Another regular stop is 2nd Avenue Pizza where the pizza toppings are stacked a few inches high and weigh several pounds! They have a sign inside that says their pizzas take a little longer to cook because of all the toppings, so I’ve learned to call ahead when I’m driving back from Coeur d’Alene so that my pizza will be fresh and ready for pick-up about 40 minutes later.
The Loaf & Ladle has only been around for a few years but has quickly become a favorite of locals and tourists alike. They offer a menu of seasonally rotating items that are prepared at the peak of their growing as well as a rotating beer and wine selection. In the summer they also offer a happy hour menu on Tuesdays and Thursdays that offer discounted flat bread pizzas that are at the discretion of the chef. It’s really fun going in different weeks and tasting their latest flat bread creation.
Joe’s Philly Cheesesteaks and Joel’s Mexican on Church Street are also personal favorites. Joe’s had been here for about 10 years and Joel’s has been around for about 20 years, although he started in a small food truck a few blocks from his current location. Both are small shops that are super popular and super tasty bites. I would recommend either for lunch during a leisurely afternoon through downtown.
There are two breweries in the area that Sandpoint is known for. The first if Mick Duff’s with a restaurant and brew pub located on 1st Avenue and a beer hall located on Cedar Street. Mick Duff’s beer is brewed at the beer hall but all their beer is available at both locations. I always enjoy stopping by either location when I have an afternoon with nothing planned. I’ll try any beer they brew, but their blonde is my favorite.
The other brewery Sandpoint is known for is Laughing Dog Brewing located a few miles out in Ponderay just outside of Sandpoint. Laughing Dog has changed locations a few times to expand their growing operation. In 2016 they moved again and built a brand new tasting room with all their selections. Personally I really like their huckleberry cream ale. The last time I visited dogs were also welcome so it’s not uncommon to find a few friendly critters among the beer lovers.
Thing to do
Sandpoint provides a well-centered base for excursions beyond the city or staying in town and checking out the hotels and restaurants.
I mentioned Lost in the 50’s earlier. It’s the largest classic car show in the northwest and happens each May. It’s a must-see for any classic car enthusiast. I remember the show with I was younger being no larger than the downtown parking lot. Now the show takes up several blocks of downtown to just display the classic cars.