One thing we were contemplating during our recent Flying Goat visit was that many places in town wants to be some-other-place-style establishment. That restaurant called itself an "Ireland- or Scotland-type pub," which, of course, are two countries that instantly come to mind when you think pizza...
Checkerboard Tavern describes itself as a "taste of Britain," and numerous spots will brag they're styled after something you'd find in Seattle or Portland.
Now, I get that dining out is a good way to be transported somewhere else, but very few, if any, spots seem to want to be the quintessential Inland Northwest-style spot. Many restaurants, of course, use local ingredients and what not, but in terms of a mix of decor, ambiance and cooking -- the whole experience -- restaurants seem to have at least one foot outside the region.
That is in many ways understandable, and it's easy to throw out suggestions on a funny little website like this, but I can't help but think that for Spokane to really grow up, it needs to embrace the region it's in. This is a town that is a mix of rural and urban -- rurban -- and I'd love to see a restaurant that would tout that.
I'm talking not just local ingredients, but local style cooking, possibly based on game meat, local brews, wine and coffee, and typical Inland Northwest decor and ambiance.
The only spot I can think of that comes close is G W Hunters in Post Falls, though that place is little more than a glorified diner. Props, though, for not calling it "Montana-style" or something equally lame.
Again, it's obviously extremely easy to throw this out there. But whatever. This area is growing up, and I'd hate to see it relegated to Portland-lite status in people's minds.