A look at the Inlander's «Best of…», 2014 edition


So, here we are again, and yet, yet again we spend way too much energy being annoyed and frustrated by the Inlander's «Best of…» results. It's what we do, I suppose. And, yet again, we present to you a few highlights -- word used loosely -- from the list, so you don't have to read it. Because, really, it just causes aggravation.

We give you five examples, all which we feel illustrates the list perfectly.

Best Fine Dining: Clinkerdagger! «Clinkerdagger is the kind of spot many have to save up to experience», gushes one enthused patron. Apparently the couple in question «dined at the restaurant on their honeymoon more than 32 years ago», which goes a long way explaining why the rest of us have to suffer with the perceived notion that Clinkerdagger is Spokane's best restaurant.

I mean, really. The spot has been there for nearly forty years. People go there because that's where they've always gone; plus they can enjoy the view. (It takes attention away from what you're eating, I will give Clinkerdagger that.)

Is this a big deal? Why, yes. Imagine the poor soul travelling to Spokane, stumbling across this poll while looking for good places to eat. That's not something that will help this city's dining scene's already less than stellar (and undeserved) reputation.

Best Breakfast: Frank's Diner. The commonality that one can pick up on here, is that Spokane doesn't like good places, it likes fun places. Frank's is in a train car, which makes it quaint.

And it goes down to what one of its fans said, describing a «gigantic, not very healthy, but incredibly delicious bacon-and cheese-omelets». Spokane also likes giant portions. Delicious? I doubt anyone could tell the difference from this and Denny's.

Best Buffet: Golden Corral! Granted, there probably isn't such a thing as a good buffet around here, but in the words of Cassie: «Just that they won anything made me sad.» And as far as its thematical signifcance to the list goes, it shows the love for chain restaurants Spokane has.

Best Italian Food: Tomato Street! Can't help but wonder how close Olive Garden was, but is Tomato Street really Italian food? I suppose they have pasta, but so does Applebee's. 

Best Mexican Food: Azteca! The upscale Taco Bell takes it home yet again. We can only assume that somewhere, the owners of Guerrero is sitting around, pondering why they decided to open their spot here.

Look, those are only five examples. Yay-sayers will point out that not all the other choices were awful, which is true. Two things about that, though:

One is simply that, in certain categories, there couldn't be anything but a good choice for the winner. Best chef? Nobody knows the name of Tomato Street's chef. Therefore, Santé's Jeremy Hansen deservedly takes it home.

Second: A lot of choices might not be downright bad, they're just uninspired. The local picks are places that have always dominated the list, places from a time when Spokane's dining scene was just that. Uninspired.

Over the years it has gotten better; over the last few years a lot better.

We could list the spots and people that should have won, but you already know them. Some were mentioned in passing on the Inlander's list, some were not.

The only thing we can recommend, is that you go out and dine at these truly great spots sooner rather than later. We're sure you would have done so anyway. For now, though, it will help you forget the travesty that is this «Best of…» list.