City name is a city in Region name.
First Things First
Vistors to Sandpoint must realize that it is a region in transition. From humble timber and fishing beginnings, Sandpoint has suddenly been rocketed to among the top destinations in the West, indeed the nation. It was number one on USA Today's List of Unforgettable Summer Vacations, as well as Sunset Magazine's top small Western Town, along with numerous other distinctions. Obviously, the locals have mixed feelings about this. Along with much-needed additional revenue and diversity, tourists and new transplants bring with them additional traffic in an already choked town, pollution from all those extra cars, and a crowded downtown. The average cost of a house in Sandpoint has skyrocketed, and property taxes are through the roof.
Although most residents are at least tolerant of the added load and many are overtly friendly with tourists, any and all visitors must be prepared to read some anti-tourist bumper stickers. Few, however, will ever encounter the wrath of a truly ticked local, a force to be reckoned with indeed. To avoid this, one only needs to arm oneself with some basic knowledge of the town, as most of this stems from annoyance with perceived ignorance.
The bottom line- don't skip this beautiful resort town because of the rumors of California haters. Just read up on the town in advance, and please don't walk out in front of cars in a crosswalk under the assumption that they'll [be able to] stop!
This article could perhaps be more accurately titled East Bonner County. The region generally known as Sandpoint is actually a collection of small communities lining highways 2, 95 & 200, the largest of which being the actual Sandpoint. They are the following:
- Careywood 18 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95.
- Cocallala 12 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95.
- Westmond 10 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95.
- Dufort 8 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95.
- Algoma 6 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95
- Sagle 5 miles south of Sandpoint, Hwy 95
- Sandpoint -
- Ponderay (pronounced the same as, but not to be confused with, Pend Oreille, the lake) 3 miles north of Sandpoint, sandwiched between Hwy 95/2 and Hwy 200.
- Kootenai 4 miles northeast of Sandpoint, Hwy 200.
- Sunnyside 6 miles northeast of Sandpoint, Hwy 200
- Oden Bay 8 miles northeast of Sandpoint, Hwy 200.
- Trestle Creek 14 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200.
- Hope 16 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200.
- East Hope 17 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200
- Beyond Hope 21 miles east of Sandpoint, Hwy 200
- Dover 3 miles west of Sandpoint, Hwy 2.
- Wrencoe 9 miles west of Sandpoint, Hwy 2
- LaClede 14 miles west of Sandpoint, Hwy 2.
For a small town in a relatively remote region, Sandpoint contains an inordinate amount (last count was 60, but not all are listed here) of restaurants of all shapes and colors, likely because of its strong tourist economy and a very hungry population. In addition to the locally owned restaurants listed below, Sandpoint also plays host to several fast food chains throughout town.
Visitors with a particularly discerning palette may be pleased to learn that Sandpoint holds two major "food festivals" annually- A Taste of Sandpoint in February (part of the Winter Carnival) and the Sandpoint Summer Sampler in late June. Both feature many local restaurants serving up their most popular fare in a fun and artsy setting. Foster's Crossing Antiques also holds a fudge contest during the Winter Carnival, and for a small fee anyone can test a judge a preset amount of entries.
- Spuds Rotisserie & Grill, 102 N 1st Ave, ☎ (208) 265-4311. Perhaps Sandpoint's most well known local restaurant, Spuds' lunch menu is chock full of freshly made sandwiches of all sorts, plus delectable rotisserie chicken and, of course, lots of potatoes. At night, they pull the curtain on their walk up counter and do table service, with steaks, rotisserie chicken, tri-tip, and all sorts of other savory meals, plus several to-die-for desserts.
- Cricket Original Bbq House, 212 N 4th Ave, ☎ (208) 265-9600. This cute roadside stand has an excellent location- across from Farmin park. They serve up all sorts of barbequed meats, plus wraps and sandwiches. Particularly observant visitors may notice their truck around town, which has a large menu strapped to the back.
- The Hydra Restaurant, 115 E Lake St, ☎ (208) 263-7123. Located in a beautiful blue house on the corner of Lake & 2nd, just far enough from the bustle of the main strip, the Hydra is well known for their buffet, but their steaks are also excellent, as well as their extensive dessert menu.
- Duke's Cowboy Grill, 30340 Highway 200, Ponderay, ☎ (208) 263-0600. Out in Ponderay, Duke's serves up barbequed everything, from pulled pork to chili to chicken, along with all the chips and salsa you can eat, in a very authentic Texas-style building.
- Eichardts Pub & Grill, 212 Cedar St, ☎ (208) 263-4005. Gourmet burgers seem to be the order of the day at Eichardts, but they also feature sandwiches, salads, and a full service bar. Sitting upstairs is recommended, especially with children.
- Sand Creek Grill, 105 S. First Avenue, ☎ NN. Serving up Northwest cuisine with a unique flair, this popular restaurant has it all: beautiful views, a huge garden/patio for the summer and fireplaces for the winter, and a large menu of fresh fish, steaks, chicken, and more.
- Slates Prime Time Grill & Sports Bar, 204 N. Triangle Drive, Ponderay, ☎ NN. Although slightly off the beaten path, pool fans will revel in the numerous pool tables scattered throughout the restaurant, along with typical bar food and several big screen TVs.
- Bamboo Chinese Restaurant, 417 Church St, ☎ (208) 263-9593. Located on busy Church street across from the Post Office, Bamboo Chinese restaurant is a great place for lunch, but parking can be an issue.
- Bangkok Cuisine Thai Restaurant, 202 N 2nd Ave, ☎ (208) 265-4149. A local favorite, Bangkok is a hole in the wall place that serves up all sorts of authentic Thai meals in a delightfully decorated building.
- Golden Dragon, 100 Tibbetts Dr, Ponderay, ☎ (208) 265-5425. With a huge menu and lots of tables, this is the best Chinese place to go when you have a crowd. It's often overlooked, and is never crowded, but the food is excellent. Just make sure you are very clear with your order, as the staff speaks very little English.
- Arlos Ristorante, 330 N 1st Ave, ☎ (208) 255-4186. Sandwiched between the Cedar Street Bridge and Eve's Leaves, this is perhaps the most underrated restaurant in all of Sandpoint. Their fresh homemade marinara sauce is full of ripe tomatoes, garlic, shallots, and tons of other goodies. Don't leave without having a slice of their Chocolate Mousse Pie or a Chocolate-Chip Cannoli!
- Ivanos Ristoranté & Café, 102 S 1st Ave Ste 101, ☎ (208) 263-0211. Formerly located in the in the house that now houses the Blue Moon Café, Ivanos serves up Italian dishes of all sorts with a lovely outdoor patio and a cute little café and bakery.