Getting your grub on in the Deer Park and Elk region

Drive north from Spokane for about 40 minutes and you’ll hit Deer Park, a quaint town of just over 4,000 people. A mere 15 miles from there is the unincorporated town of Elk, which is even more rural. Put together, this area is best known for its natural beauty, its lake and farms and even its golf course. And while it’s not exactly urban, it boasts plenty of locally owned restaurants that are worth a stop.

Whether you’re simply picking up takeout or enjoying dine-in service in a socially distanced restaurant or on an outdoor patio, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. In fact, you could easily snag breakfast, lunch and dinner at different places within a 20-mile radius, and all of it would be delicious.

Consider PAULINE’S PLACE, which makes for a perfect stop-over if you’re in the mood for old-school diner breakfast. And let’s be honest, when aren’t you? This regional institution carries all the hallmarks of a classic eatery, from omelettes to chicken fried steaks to biscuits and gravy, as well as a drive-thru espresso bar. Pauline’s Place moved to its current location off the Newport Highway in Elk earlier this year, but they’re still serving up the same reliable dishes you’d expect.

A place that was in fashion before lockdowns and limited capacities, KC’s TAKE & BAKE PIZZA is a no-brainer when it comes to getting good food on the go. You can choose from about a dozen different varieties of pizzas on their menu, including standards like Hawaiian and double pepperoni, and the aptly named Kitchen Sink, which comes overloaded with a little bit of everything. Bake ’em at home and they’re fresher than any delivery could be.

If you’re more in the mood for bar-style food and handhelds, head over to FIRST STREET BAR & GRILL, which offers a delectable menu of burgers and steaks. They’ve got all the pub-grub mainstays you’d expect, including nachos, wings and chicken strips, and they also offer gluten-free and vegetarian options for any diners with culinary restrictions.

THE SALTY DOG EATERY is a family-style restaurant serving up hefty portions. The place is probably best known for its seafood selection, with hand-battered and fried cod at the top of the menu. You don’t have to go the route of the pirate, though, if you’d opt instead for a wide selection of burgers and cuts of steak.

On the hunt for some delicious craft beer? Look no further than MASTERS BREWHOUSE, where you can unwind with a pint or three of their signature, house-made craft brews. Beyond their pours, though, you can indulge in their weekly burger specials and taco Tuesday deals, and they have plenty of TVs so that you can get your professional sports fix. If you’re being especially diligent about social distancing guidelines, Masters offers patio seating as well as to-go growlers.

For something distinctly international, you might want to go for takeout at THAI GARDEN. It offers all the spicy, savory staples you’d expect — pad thai, curries and filling noodle dishes — and it’s the kind of cuisine that’s even better and more comforting as the weather turns cooler.

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