Find character and comfort in Rockford
Take the Palouse Scenic Byway south from Spokane and you’ll pass through several charming small towns with long histories as anchor points for the agricultural community. One of the communities familiar to anyone who’s taken that route to the Coeur d’Alene Casino is Rockford. With 470 residents at the last census, the community and travelers passing through support two local restaurants with plenty of character and, importantly, tasty eats.
HARVEST MOON SALOON
It was a lifelong dream for Amanda Wienclaw, a graduate of Tekoa High School, to someday own the Harvest Moon Saloon. She fondly remembers going there for breakfast on the weekends with her aunt and uncle when she was growing up. After 17 years working at the Coeur d’Alene Casino (and gigs at other local eateries before that), Wienclaw realized that dream and became the owner and “chief dishwasher in charge” about four and a half years ago now.
The pandemic this year wasn’t the first tough go of things for the restaurant. Two years ago, a particularly bad winter saw guest turnout so low that Wienclaw put the restaurant up for sale again, unsure if things would work out.
But they survived that hardship, and this year the community showed up in a major way to support the local breakfast and comfort food spot.
“This place has been in business as the Harvest Moon restaurant for 60 years,” Wienclaw says. “I put the business up for sale two years ago, but now after this, I think I can survive anything.”
The restaurant started offering delivery this spring, which was a major help for the bottom line, as people ordered plenty of family-style meals and other menu items to-go.
“We didn’t realize how much people wanted us to stick around until that happened. People started calling right away to say, ‘Don’t shut down, we’ll order food!’” Wienclaw says. “We did pizzas, we did family-style meals. We also fed health care workers and a lot of other businesses chipped in and would feed groups of people to help keep us afloat.”
Her creative solutions also include the recent opening of a “sip and shop” area in part of the restaurant that’s too small to make it worth having the 50 percent capacity table space. The shop features locally produced gifts, including earrings, soaps, candles and other goods from regional creators. 20 S. First St., Rockford, harvestmoonsaloon.com, 291-4313
FREDNECK’S SALOON AND BEANERY
This popular saloon offers takeout and in-person dining with a variety of classics served throughout the day, from burgers and pizza to specials like tacos and ribs. Before the pandemic hit, locals raved about the local watering hole for its friendly atmosphere and weekends with live music. While it’ll be a while before those traditions can return to full speed, Fredneck’s is still helping feed the community every day of the week. 130 W. Emma St., Rockford, Facebook: Fredneck’s Saloon and Beanery, 291-3880