Eating by the Water
The Department of Transportation praises the byway around Lake Pend Oreille for its “abundance of recreational opportunities, postcard-quality scenery, and historical elements.” We like it for huckleberry pie, hearty diner breakfast, and four-star coffee. Here are our six favorite places to eat along the Pend Oreille Scenic Byway.
Restaurants in the Morning
For anyone looking for an excellent slice of berry pie, a corn beef hash or an expertly made cup of dark coffee, these three restaurants, one in Ponderay and two in Sandpoint, are fantastic spots to go at the start of your day.
- Offering fantastic food, especially the fresh biscuits, the Hoot Owl Café is a genuine restaurant that opens its doors on Monday from 4 to 7 to operate as a community soup kitchen that is partly funded by a tip jar on the counter. Both the corned beef hash and chicken fried steaks served at breakfast time are excellent dishes.
- It is obvious that pies are the star of the show at Pie Hut. Making around three dozen pies a day, chef and owner Heather Gross serves fantastic slices of pie. In the late summer, the huckleberry pie is superior. Other fantastic options include sour cream lemon, marionberry apple and rhubarb. Also offered are savory chicken pies that are primarily ordered for take-out.
- Locally baked, organic and gluten-free pastries are sold at Evans Brothers Roasters but the primary reason to go is their coffee. A variety of coffee options are offered, including French-pressed and hand-drip. Our favorite was the Siberia Dark Coffee which was so good that we bought a couple of pounds of beans before leaving.
Burgers and Full Meals
Fantastic burgers sold out of an old trailer and a local dish called a “three sisters skillet” are perfect for lunch stops at the first two restaurants below. Take a look at the third option for dinner next to the water.
- Old Tin Can operates out of a restored mid-20th century Kit Companion travel trailer. After kitchen appliances were added, proprietors Brad and Savannah Clark began selling burgers and fries. The cheeseburger is terrific, we would highly recommend it. For people looking for something less common there is the “Cowboy Burger” which is packed into a bun with bacon, barbecue sauce and fried onion straws.
- If you are eating at Di Luna’s, we would advise against ordering the yakburger. We do suggest the “Three Sisters Skillet,” a local dish that comes with grilled polenta, roasted squash, white beans and toasted corn. An excellent breakfast option is the Sweet Potato Hash Browns which are not too sweet and have a great salty component.
- Dish operates at a residential and rental resort on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille. A variety of dishes are offered on their menu, some of our favorites were the pad thai, bacon platter and chili grilled prawns. The smashed potatoes are fantastic as well as the huckleberry mojito, which is offered only late in the summer.
In Idaho's panhandle, the Pie Hut is a charming little restaurant that offers blue-ribbon cream & fruit pies, savory chicken pot pie, and beguiling sandwiches.
Waterside grill and fine-dining restaurant, Dish is an Idaho Panhandle foodie destination. Bests: smashed potatoes, bacon, and anything with huckleberries.