312 N. First Ave., Sandpoint
You might say the luck o' the Irish has been with brothers Mickey and Duffy Mahoney since opening their Sandpoint-based brewpub on St. Patrick's Day 2006. But it's also been hard work.
In addition to operating their popular First Avenue tasting room and gastropub, MickDuff's is in the midst of a multiphase expansion that will fill tables in the pub and beer glasses throughout Inland Northwest restaurants.
This past April, they relocated and expanded their seven-barrel operation just a hop, skip and a jump away to 220 Cedar Street. That's where Pend Oreille Winery is located, at least until their new digs are ready in a remodeled historic building just across the way.
MickDuff's occupies the back end of the building, using 4,000 square feet of industrial space for more and larger tanks, refrigeration and the keg washer Mickey designed and built. Kegs stand ready to be filled with Lake Paddler Pale Ale, an American pale ale dry-hopped with Cascade hops, or NOHO — a play on NOrth IdaHO — a dry-hopped American India pale ale they're now shipping via Odom Distributing to places like Fedora, Capone's, Fort Ground Grill and Paddy's in Coeur d'Alene. They're also in Bonners Ferry, Moscow and Lewiston, and plan to roll into Eastern Washington this fall.
The original pub is set to house a new two-barrel pilot operation allowing MickDuff's to develop more seasonal beers, all of which use natural ingredients, served unfiltered and preservative-free. Many of these beers are award-winning — Tipsy Toehead Blonde and Irish Redhead snagged gold at the North American Beer Awards in 2012 and 2013, respectively — and they've gained a loyal following for similarly good food, with plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian menu options.
1420 E. Sprague
Sometimes you stick your fork into a feathery cheesecake and it hits a rock-bottom layer of graham cracker crust, bland and chalky-tasting. Eating a cheesecake at Spokane Cheesecakes is not that experience.
"We do our own crust," says Gillian Speight, who owns Spokane Cheesecakes with her husband Thomas. "We don't believe in graham cracker crust."
Each of their 26 kinds of cheesecake has a type of crust that complements the cheesecake flavor. The limón has a lemon crust, the pumpkin is paired with a gingersnap crust, and some of the liqueur cheesecakes feature Brazilian coffee crust. Dark chocolate orange crust lines the spicy Mayan chocolate cheesecake (the one we sank our teeth into) crowned with delectable chocolate ganache and sprinkled with Saigon cinnamon.
Gillian and Thomas first started making their cheesecakes in a commercial kitchen and selling them at a spot in the Spokane Public Market in September 2011. Thomas always was a cheesecake lover and Gillian loves baking; they felt like Spokane had scant choices for good cheesecake, so they decided to make their own, Gillian says.
But just a year after starting the business, the couple found out they were having a baby, so they closed down. It took a year, but in December they opened their own Spokane Cheesecakes shop on Sprague Avenue. They have a selection of miniature cheesecakes (3 inches, $5-$5.50) always on hand. Orders can be placed for larger sizes (6-10 inches, $38-$45).
Their many flavors rotate occasionally. For example, they'll bring out several chocolate flavors for Valentine's Day, such as raspberry white chocolate and night and day, a blend of white and dark chocolate, says Gillian. Their selection also includes fruit flavors like huckleberry and strawberry, traditional flavors like New York and cherries jubilee, and more creative flavors like a rum and raisin cheesecake with a vanilla crust.