Hoot Owl Cafe | Hearty Breakfast in the Idaho Panhandle

Review by: Carrie Vandiver

Mighty Biscuits

If you are looking for a seriously hearty breakfast just north of Sandpoint, Idaho, the Hoot Owl will fill the bill. Every morning, the kitchen turns out biscuits that are the size of half a loaf of bread. Forget light and fluffy; these big fellas resemble cake. Plain, they do what they’re supposed to do, which means the complement eggs and breakfast meat. I like them as a meal smothered with sausage gravy that has a strange and intriguing perfumy flavor. The big biscuits also play a significant roll in the dish known as Redneck Eggs Benedict. For that one, sausage patties substitute for Canadian bacon and gravy replaces Hollandaise.

Mighty … Everything

That gravy sticks to your ribs. If biscuits are not your choice, have it atop an order of hash brown potatoes. If you are not a gravy fan but want something seriously filling, consider Hash Browns Supreme. Order that and you get a plate of spuds and scrambled eggs, onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, and chopped fresh garlic. Salsa comes on the side. Like every other meal served here, this one is huge. Indeed, those with less than a rapacious appetite can order half portions of many items, In my experience, half an order here equals about one and a half orders anywhere else.

Home Cooking, Diner-Style

This is a made-from scratch sort of place where nothing reflects culinary trends. But they make everything right. They sizzle fresh corned beef hash to be as crusty as you wish. Pancakes eclipse their plate. Chicken-fried steaks could put even some of Texas’ big boys to shame. Vegans can order Hash Browns Supreme made without eggs. The menu also offers egg beaters and sugarless jam.

Where Early Birds Eat

The Hoot Owl opens for hearty breakfast at 5 in the morning. Shortly thereafter, locals populate the place, drinking coffee and enjoying each other’s company. It closes after lunch, except on Monday, when it reopens from 4 to 7 as a community soup kitchen.

Directions & Hours

5am - 2pm
  • Monday: 5:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 5:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 5:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Thursday: 5:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Friday: 5:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Saturday: 5:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Sunday: 5:00 AM – 2:00 PM

What To Eat

Biscuits & Gravy

DISH
Corned Beef Hash

DISH
Chicken Fried Steak (small)

DISH
Biscuit

DISH

Hoot Owl Cafe | Hearty Breakfast in the Idaho Panhandle Recipes

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One Response to “Hoot Owl Cafe | Hearty Breakfast in the Idaho Panhandle”

Carrie Vandiver

January 14th, 2012

The Hoot Owl is a North Idaho highwayside cafe dating from about “30-40 years ago” according to our waitress, although the building has been there since 1942 and was a drive-in in it’s previous incarnation. It is just a couple miles from Sandpoint and not far from Schweitzer ski area.

When I was living in Sandpoint, it was a weekly tradition for friends and I to meet for breakfast there. My kids and I stopped in on a quick visit back a couple days ago for breakfast.

The portions are HUGE, so bring your appetite. There are some items that are so ridiculously enormous that they do offer 1/2 portions, such as biscuits & gravy and their wonderful Hashbrowns Supreme, which are sort of a thick-shredded fresh potato hashbrowns fried up with chopped onions, green pepper and mixed with ham and scrambled eggs and melted cheese on top.

I had a half order of biscuits & gravy, which was still a plateful as you can see from the picture. They make their sausage gravy with breakfast sausage from Woods Meats north of Sandpoint, which processes locally grown meats and makes wonderful sausages and bacon and other meat products which are sold around the area. The Hoot Owl also has Woods’ german sausage on the breakfast menu and it’s wonderful stuff! We bought a few packages at a grocery in town to bring home.

My daughter, who wasn’t hungry, made do with a 1 egg breakfast with hashbrowns and toast. My son had a Bacon, Swiss and Mushroom omelet and said it was one of the best omelets he’d ever had. He also said there must have been 5 or 6 slices of their amazing thick cut bacon in there. I’m not sure if the bacon is a Woods product or not, but it’s very good.

I wish we had come with bigger appetites, or been able to stay another day so we could get pictures of more menu items for you all!
Also, I have been here many times throughout their open hours, and have never made it past the breakfast menu, but I’ve heard their lunch menu is also very good.

The Hoot Owl is only open from 5:00 am until 2:00 pm, but both breakfast and lunch menu items are available at any time. They do accept cards but no checks.

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