Coffeehouses, breweries, a winery, several bistros, numerous diners, a chocolatier, pizza and sandwich places, a couple of pubs and restaurants serving everything from Thai to Italian to Mexican to European to American cuisine. With so many choices, it's a good thing Sandpoint is a walking town.
And it's no surprise this pedestrian-friendly locale on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille was voted best nearby weekend getaway. Besides the three dozen or so dining venues within the downtown hub, Sandpoint also boasts plenty of options for shopping, arts and culture, lodging, outdoor recreation and community events.
Pushing a stroller, walking the dog or just out and about in Sandpoint, all are welcome at EVAN BROTHERS CAFE. More of a community center than just a coffee shop, Evans Brothers features a large, kid- and dog-friendly space inside a rustically converted warehouse which doubles as their roasting facility. Look for events such as the popular Yappy Hour fundraiser for Panhandle Animal Shelter, frequent coffee tastings, and occasional arts openings featuring local artists and live music.
As for coffee, an extremely knowledgeable staff — maybe even Rick or Randy Evans themselves — will help you select one of their numerous fair-trade coffees, for there or to-go, including beans or ground coffee. Add a locally baked pastry or organic breakfast burrito and you're ready to do the town.
Got a late start on the day (or ready for something with a bit more kick than caffeine)? Head to MICKDUFF'S BREWING COMPANY, with two locations, each of which may now claim an Inlander Best Of win. Sort of a bro-mantic hangout, MickDuff's Beer Hall — as they call their Cedar Street location — is a pared-down pub with dartboards, big-screen televisions and a sizable bar with taps to spare.
It's "a fun and mellow atmosphere with a ton of games [and] true craft beer talks with other beer lovers," says MickDuff's assistant brewer, Mack Deibel.
If you're wanting something to nosh with your NoHo pint — or any of the other 20-plus in-house brews — go to the original First Avenue MickDuff's Brewing Company restaurant location for a can't-miss meal.
"The food was fantastic and the waitress was very friendly," says Spirit Lake resident Cameron Knigge, who was visiting Sandpoint recently with friend Stephanie Sciarrillo and received a recommendation to try MickDuff's.
When you're ready to take a break from filling your tummy to feed your visual senses, discover ZANY ZEBRA. This funky boutique is 2,500 square feet packed with more than 12,000 items, says owner Ranel Hanson.
Look for stylish yet affordable clothing and accessories — hats, socks, jewelry, scarves — and even shoes like comfy Salt Water Sandals. What's trending in jeans? Rock Revival, Miss Me, Silver, Cielo and more. Or maybe you'd prefer something a little more out there. Zany Zebra has moderately to wildly inappropriate and totally hilarious gifts, like socks that announce "I have Mood Swings" or a card that announces what you're really thinking: "In case you didn't hear the look I just gave you, SHUT UP."
Since laughter is supposed to be good for the digestion, you'll be ready for another snack, like the pulled pork enchiladas at TRINITY AT CITY BEACH. It's the perfect spot to enjoy the lake for patio dining (and enough windows in the rest of the restaurant and bar to make it seem like you're outdoors, even when you're not). In summer, this is the place to be: people-watching along popular City Beach, checking out the boats in and out of the marina, or just relaxing into a sunset evening as the lake settles into darkness.
Housed inside the Best Western Edgewater Hotel, Trinity at City Beach is one of the few in-town locations to offer a full lineup of patio-side dining and drinking, from breakfast to lunch to dinner to late night. Heck, you might even enjoy your Sandpoint excursion so much you decide to stay another night. ♦ (CARRIE SCOZZARO)
Best Sandpoint Coffee Shop
1st PLACE: Evans Brothers; 2nd PLACE: Monarch Mountain Coffee; 3rd PLACE: Kokanee Coffee
Best Sandpoint Boutique
1st PLACE: Zany Zebra; 2nd PLACE: Finan McDonald; 3rd PLACE: Zero Point
Best Sandpoint Patio Dining
1st PLACE: Trinity at City Beach; 2nd PLACE: Spud's Waterfront Grill; 3rd PLACE: Ivano's Ristorante
Best Sandpoint Bar
1st PLACE: MickDuff's Brewing Company; 2nd PLACE: Eichardt's Pub; 3rd PLACE: Laughing Dog Taproom
Best Sandpoint Restaurant
1st PLACE: MickDuff's Brewing Company; 2nd PLACE: Spud's Waterfront Grill; 3rd PLACE: Ivano's Ristorante