Step aside Gonzaga, this weekend there is a new basketball star in town. Spokane Hoopfest is known as the largest 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament on Earth. Yes, you read that right – on Earth. This means that Spokane hosts over 6,000 teams, 3,000 volunteers, 225,000 fans and 450 courts placed over 45 city blocks to bring our region one of the most unique basketball experiences for novices and pros alike.
The streets of downtown Spokane will completely shut down to make room for all the courts, players, fans, spectators, and of course, food. This year’s temperatures are expected to be pretty mild, around 70-80 degrees – perfect weather for some food in the park from one of the many amazing Hoopfest food vendors or local grub spots. Downtown Spokane will be packed, so plan for large crowds and lots of street traffic. If you’re wondering where to refuel, I have created a list with all the “hoopfesters” and spectators in mind. Share what you’re eating with #Spokaneats to be featured.
PRE GAME FUEL:
Yards Bruncheon is the perfect weekend brunch. It starts with their perfect location, right along the Centennial Trail, then you walk in and see their bright blue decor, then you try their kick-A dishes and BOOM… you’re a fan for life. I recommend Yards to anyone looking for a great brunch with a fun ambiance. Located in Kendall Yards, Yards serves up Brunch 7 days a week. From your breakfast favorites like eggs Benedict, pancakes and waffles to some more non-traditional dishes like breakfast fajitas and poutine, you’re sure to find a new breakfast favorite at Yards. If you are going on a weekend, be prepared to wait but they sell fresh pastries and local coffee until a table clears up! Order the patrami benedict, chicken and waffles, pancakes, avocado toast.
(1248 W Summit Pkwy. Spokane, WA // 509.290.5952)
Bruncheonette– Couple of Chefs Catering & Food Truck
Bruncheonette is a pleasant surprise for the Spokane food scene. This is your sweet & savory brunch spot on any (and every) day of the week. They are open from 7am-3pm Monday-Sunday. Bruncheonette was created by the owners of “Couple of Chef’s” Food Truck. This is their first brick & mortar location, right next to Milford’s on Monroe. Shout out to Milford’s, you do fish like no other. Anyways, Y’all, this place is LIT!
They have everything you want for brunch. From sweet, to savory, to bourbon… yeah, bourbon butter. Don’t ask, just try. Their menu is split up into sections such as: Waffles, Pancakes & Sweets, Plates (more gourmet dishes), Handhelds (sandwiches and burgers), and they even have salads. Please don’t be that person that orders a salad here. I’m begging you.
Order: Tamale Waffle, Monte Cristo French Toast, Side of Potatoes
(1011 W Broadway Ave, Spokane, WA // 509.443.5968)
Madeleine’s Cafe & Patisserie
Madeleine’s Cafe & Patisserie had me feeling like I was sitting in a French Bakery in the middle of downtown Spokane. The indoor space is large with lots of seating and modern vibes, and they have a small outdoor patio with covered seating. There’s free wifi which encourages you to stop and hang out for a while. I would be perfectly happy to sitting in Madeline’s for hours working on a project or reading a book, with a delicious pastry and warm drink by my side, of course.
Madeleine’s is a great place to meet for coffee and a pastry, or to sit down and enjoy breakfast or lunch. Their lunch menu only includes about 4 different sandwich options and they have great salad and side selections in their pre-made food case. They have a variety of pastries, including madelines of course.
Order: Croissant, Reuben, Egg & Bacon Sandwich, Tomato Soup
(415 W Main Ave, Spokane, WA // 509.624.2253)
Don’t be afraid to try boots if you aren’t vegan or gluten free. Their vegan dishes are so good you won’t even miss the meat. If you are vegan or gluten-free, this is your safe haven. Their menu selection changes daily based on ingredients that are brought to them from local farmers. You can follow them on Facebook for daily updates about what they are serving.
They serve, hands down, the tastiest no-bake cookie I have EVER had. They are chilled and moist with nuts and dried fruit. So. Dang. Good. Stay and chill on your computer, chat with other locals, or nestle into a chair and read a book. You’ll fit right in.
(24 W. Main Ave. Spokane, WA // 509.703.7223)
MID DAY RE-FUEL
Pastrami. Pepper jack. Mustard. On French. YUP.
Domini’s menu is simple. Choose your meat, cheese, spread and bread. Their meat is freshly sliced and the bread is soft and thick. They give you fresh popcorn with your meal and the staff is friendly and proud of what they do, as they should be.
I go to Hoopfest for the basketball, but I stay for the food. If you’re looking for a lunch to fuel your game without all the grease and processed ingredients, check out Domini Sandwiches.
(703 W Sprague Ave Spokane, WA // 509.747.2324)
This tuna sandwich from Brooklyn Deli is not your typical tuna fish sandwich, and that’s what makes it so great! Their tuna has a really unique flavor. It is blended with celery, green onions, mayo & herbs. You can customize your sandwich however you want or build your own. This is a great sub joint downtown with super fresh bread and lots of hot and cold sandwich options. They also have a great cobb salad.
(1001 W 1st Ave, Spokane, WA 99201 // 509.835.4177)
With this sandwich, it was love at first bite. I always order the club nooner- add sprouts! It is HUGE, fresh, and the staff is really quick and happy. They have locations downtown, on the north side, and in the valley. My only hesitation with this sandwich is the size isn’t consistent. Last time I ordered it, the sandwich was about half the size and it didn’t have the extra layer of bread in the middle. Not sure if they changed it or someone was new in the kitchen, but when they make it like pictured, it’s a winner!
Other quick & easy options downtown: Bruchis, Mod Pizza, Jimmy Johns
Riverpark Square Mall: Gaslamp, Taco Del Mar, Subway, Panda Express, Miso Fresh Asian, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Auntie Annes, Nordstrom Espresso Bar
(237 W Riverside Ave Spokane, WA // 509.838.5288)
Main Market Co-op is home to the only organic salad bar in Spokane. I thought I would miss having a Whole Foods nearby, but Main Market makes me forget Whole Foods even exists. They have a hot and cold salad bar with selections that change daily. Their salad dressings are BOMB. In the grocery section, you can find a wide variety of locally made/supplied products and goods. Visit their bulk food section to stock up on some of your kitchen essentials like flour, oats, rice, nuts, etc. You can even find local, fresh kombucha for $2.29/glass and, my favorite, “grind-your-own peanut butter” without all the added sugar and junk they put into packaged peanut butter.
So, if you are looking for a healthy, quick AND organic lunch, Main Market co-op is your place. Because what’s better than getting your grocery shopping done at the same place you get your lunch? Two birds… One stone.
Ask them how to become a member to support the community and local farmers.
(44 W Main Ave, Spokane, WA // 509.458.2667)
Lunch at Riverpark Square Mall: Twigs, Nordstrom Cafe, PF Changs, Sushi Maru, Tomato Street, Tortilla Union
POST GAME DINNER
This was our all around FAVORITE BURGER. Durkin’s is one of my favorite restaurants in town, so I was hopeful for their burger. They make EVERYTHING from scratch, even their ketchup. This burger is loaded with homemade pickles, american cheese, chopped onions, and dill mayo. It’s so simple but full of flavor. I don’t know how they do it. Y’all need to try this burger. You just do. Durkin’s is owned by the same family that owns Madeleine’s and Casper Fry and their buns come fresh from Madeleine’s kitchen (located next door). If you order the burger on the dinner menu, it comes with two patties.
(415 W Main Ave, Spokane, WA // 509.863.9501)
At Fire Pizza Spokane, they focus on using quality ingredients and they aim to use organic and local whenever possible. All of the pizzas we tried tasted very fresh and innovative (and we tried a lot). Fire Pizza Spokane just released their new menu on April 1st, introducing a new appetizer (Shrimp Skewer), 4 new pizzas (the 816, Northshore 2.0, Carne Asada, and Greenhaü), and 2 new desserts (The Raspberry Cheesecake pizza & Peach-Ginger Cobbler)!
Any pizza on the menu can be made on their gluten free crust. This crust was actually really good. When I think of gluten-free, I often think “in-edible”. The gluten free crust at Fire Pizza Spokane is oh so edible and sometimes preferred over their regular crust. It is cracker thin with a nice crunch which works well to compliment some of these pizza flavors with lighter toppings.
(816 W Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA / 509.413.1856)
Clinkerdagger is one of the nicest places you can eat in Spokane. It is romantic, fine-dining, with a view. The ultimate trio. Clinkerdagger is dark and intimate on the inside, making it perfect for your special occasion, romantic dinner, or you can have a more casual lunch dining outside on the rivers edge. In fact, I’m not sure you can find a restaurant where you can eat closer to the Spokane River.
They say it best on their website. “Clinkerdagger is a local favorite. The tradition has continued for over 40 years at this Spokane landmark overlooking the majestic Spokane River and city skyline. This is the perfect place for a special business or romantic occasion, or perhaps simply a nice getaway for lunch or dinner.
(621 W Mallon Ave Spokane, WA // 509.328.5965)
Mizuna Restaurant & Wine Bar
Mizuna has been on my “must try” list for almost a year. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get there but now that I’ve tried their lunch options, I need to go back for dinner! They offer a dynamic, seasonal menu with a variety of sandwich and salad options for lunch.
They have been around since 1996, so they’ve got to be doing something right. I hear their burger and carrot cake are to-die-for but you can’t go wrong with anything they serve. They offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan options and they take extra precautions to ensure these dishes are prepared on different surfaces than their meat dishes.
(214 N Howard St, Spokane, WA // 509.747.2004)
The Blackbird is walking distance from downtown, just head North on Washington and it’s on your left. They keep it very clean and the lighting and ambiance are perfect for a nice lunch date. I really have to hand it to “The Blackbird” for their creativity and not being afraid to think outside the box! Their taste, presentation, and service are all 5 star. Props to their chef for keeping things fresh & fun. It was too difficult to decide between the popcorn and french fries… so we got both.
Three words: BACON. FAT. POPCORN. SO GOOD! It’s topped with brown sugar and sea salt. The fries are fresh and full of flavor, made with garlic oil & fresh herbs. (I have been told that the popcorn is only available after 3pm. I ordered it for lunch, around noon, so not sure if they changed their rule. Just wanted to keep you informed so no one is disappointed) I ordered the Grilled Acorn Squash salad with toasted walnuts, arugula, brown butter vinaigrette, and shaved cranberries. The real MVP was their Brisket Sandwich. The meat was sliced like bacon with palm sugar, pecan aioli, sweet onion, and a sticky bun. It was massive and perfect in every sense of the word.
(905 N Washington St, Spokane, WA // 509.381.2473)
Bistango Martini Lounge is the perfect spot to meet up with friends after work and let loose with a great dinner and drinks. The staff at Bistango knows many of their customers by name and they have a great number of “regulars” that visit them often. They are conveniently located downtown right across from the main mall entrance.
Have a wonderful hoopfest weekend and stay safe, hydrated, and (of course) well fed. Find me on Instagram at @Spokaneeats for more food inspiration. Let them know I sent you!