2501 N. Monroe St.
There is a lot of history within the walls of this small but mighty Greek and Middle Eastern restaurant. Founded in 1980 by her parents, Azar's tradition and fine cuisine lives on through Katy Azar.
Azar's features many of the same menu items it has offered Spokane for more than 30 years. Its lunch buffet is all-you-can-eat for just $10.95. Longstanding favorites like the Gyro sandwich, the combo dinner and the Spanakopita Dinner, which the menu describes as "layered filo dough filled with spinach and feta cheese, baked and served with gyro meat" are still on the board. And as Azar will remind you: "Don't forget the baklava."
The hookah bar is no longer in operation due to changes in Washington state law, but the restaurant still proudly serves imported Greek beer and wine.
112 N. Howard St.
About 30 people make up Helen Nguyen's immediate family, and they all live in north Spokane within five minutes of her parents.
That closeness was something Nguyen missed when she and her husband spent a year and a half in Los Angeles. When they returned to Spokane, Nguyen saw an opportunity to go into the restaurant business, something she had wanted to do after working as a banker and business account executive.
So she opened Pho City, a Vietnamese restaurant, downtown in mid-June with her older brother Thu. Nguyen runs the front of the house while Thu whips up the food as head chef, and the rest of the family pitches in too. Nguyen's nephew works as a waiter, her younger brother did the restaurant's interior design and a lot of the sauce recipes are her mom's.
On the menu, there is of course the pho ($8-$9), Choose from chicken or beef, both served with a plate of bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro and hoisin and Sriracha sauce that you can add to your pho as you wish. For the beef pho, choose from beef, meatball, tendon and tripe to fill your sizable bowl of beef broth.
The short list of menu items is all under $10, with the exception of the Pho City special ($12) — a salad-like mixture of vermicelli, vegetables, deep-fried egg rolls and grilled pork, beef and prawns, flavored with sweetened fish sauce.