Posts Tagged ‘Odoherty’s spokane valley’

Things to do on st. patrick's day in the spokane valley

   It is more than a wee bit ironic to me that St. Patrick’s Day, which honors a saint, is the most hell-raising holiday on the calendar. The Spokane Valley, a family- orientated place if ever there were one, will be stage to a scene replicated in every town of any size across the nation.

Amazingly, St. Patrick’s Day is a two-part party on every year that it does not fall on a Saturday or Sunday. The St. Patrick’s Day parade is always held on the Saturday before the holiday and it is also a day when the top o’ the morn will be toasted to with a good stiff drink by many who imbibe. For most it is the only day of the year for such day-long shenanigans and that is why when the holiday falls the next day on Sunday it is barely celebrated since so many revelers are still suffering.

On years like this, however, when the holiday falls on a weekday, St. Patrick’s Day will be a two-day celebration. There is ample time between Saturday and Tuesday for all but the feeblest to recuperate and then recharge for the St. Paddy party part two.

With my finger on the pulse and plenty of opinions on the matter of Spokane Valley wining and dining, I can offer a few tipsy tips for them that tip their glasses and some tasty tips for the hungry and sober but fun-loving folk.

A crowd will be forming at eight in the morning at the Trent N Dale Pub as the early birds begin to gather for the establishment’s annual pre-parade breakfast. The Trent N Dale, located at Tent and Dale, serves as the Valley’s rabbit hole to the downtown revelry which features a parade for the young kids and a full-town, day-long pub crawl for the older kids.

For $30.00 the TND offers a buffet style breakfast, commemorative tee shirt and a round trip bus ride hither and yon twixt their parking lot and the corner of Division and Main, which is a fair walk to the parade route but right smack dab in the middle of the crawl.

With the first bus leaving for town at 10 and the parade starting two hours later, it is likely that several of the unseasoned would not make it to the parade even if it ran right past on Division. If they did, they would be seeing two parades by that time.

For those wanting to whet their whistles at a festive Valley site, O’ Doherty’s Irish Pub and BBQ will be a spot of gold on Saturday from morning to midnight. Several times during the day, the Spokane County Fire Fighter’s Pipe and Drum group will be blowing and tapping the roof off with their bagpipes and snare drums. They play about 10 minutes and are as inspiring as they are loud.

O’ Doherty’s is our version of the Irish pub, a global phenomenon which numbers 1,694 in America, 861 in Ireland, 100 in Asia, 18 in the Middle East and 11 in Africa, according to Though Ireland would only be the 23rd largest if it were one of our fifty states, this leprechaun-sized country’s drinking establishments apparently set the bar for bars globally.

Our Irish pub was Porky’s Barbeque when Terry and Renee Best took over several years ago. With that business in the pits they teamed up with the downtown O’Doherty’s and transformed it into an Irish pub with southern style barbeque and traditional Irish vittles, drinks and decor.

Personally, I never have strayed from their savory barbeque until writing this story. I tried an item on their menu called the Butte Pasty, a lunch meal that Irish wives in Butte, Montana, lovingly prepared for their hard-working miner husbands. Why so many Irish migrated to Butte and how they came up with this scrumptious ethnic beef brisket delicacy, covered in rich brown gravy, I was not able to clearly Google.

The robust atmosphere at O’Doherty’s on Saturday will treble if not quadruple on Tuesday, the day a clock on the wall has been counting down to by the tenth of a second since last St. Patrick’s Day.

If you can’t get a seat there, and do not want to stand like many will, ride on down the road to the Iron Horse. This horse of many colors celebrates all holidays with flair and once again starting on Saturday the 14th it will be so green it should be temporarily renamed the Irish Horse.

The best answer, however, to the question “how green is our Valley?” is Conley’s Place, the local icon amongst independent restaurants. The owners, Jennifer and Ed Conley have been jauntily dancing to the tune of their own Irish jig since 1992 when they bought the Pioneer Pies restaurant that Jennifer had been managing for seven years.

Like the Bests at O’Doherty’s, the Conley’s reinvented their place and took up the Irish flag while keeping a delicious remnant of the old business, which in their case was the Pioneer Pies actual Pioneer Pies’ pies which sell like hot cakes by the slice or by the pie.

While it is a comfortable, fun and tasty place to dine all year, during March it looms above the rest like the jolly green giant of the Valley dishing out tasty Irish niblets all month long from a special St. Patrick’s menu featuring all the traditional Emerald Isle staples like pork chops, baked salmon and corned beef made with Conley’s private recipes and personal care.

As in years past, the month-long celebration reaches a lofty false summit on parade day with live entertainment by The Crooked Kilt Ensemble and Irish Dancers starting at 5:30 and then peaks on Tuesday the 17th when they return and get things rolling at 4:30 in the afternoon.

At Conley’s Place that day it will be a gaily Gaelic scene running simultaneously at thousands of venues across Spokane and the Northwest, and across North America and apparently across the globe. There really is no other holiday of the year quite like it with so much global goodwill and good cheers, which befits a holiday honoring a saint.

Their Irish flags will proudly be displayed on St. Patrick's day, on this day however, they were not so much.

Their Irish flags will proudly be displayed on St. Patrick’s day, on this day however, they were not so much.

This Butte Patsy I had at O'Doherty's was did a lot more for my tastebuds than it did my eyes. While it looks like part callizone and part burrito, it ate like a savory pot pie.

This Butte Patsy I had at O’Doherty’s  did a lot more for my tastebuds than it did my eyes. While this plain little dish looks  part callizone and part burrito, it ate like a savory beef brisket pot pie.

When the timer on the wall hits zero hour, O'Doherty's expldes.

When the timer on the wall hits zero hour, O’Doherty’s expldes.

Perhaps the best development in the Valley during recent years has been a certain kind of growth. It has nothing to do with population or plants but rather a veritable boom in barbecue eateries. For years and years here in the Valley, The Longhorn was the lone source of barbeque-generated smoke, the sweetest form of pollution man has ever produced.
Currently that lonely bellwether of barbeques has three competitors stoking their pits across the Valley. It is a competition I highly encourage and strongly support to the point of borderline gluttony. Like the meat on the barbecue, I am a pig.  I’m just glad to be a porker on the food chain a link or two above my distant relatives that I so lovingly devour.
Being an admitted slave to desire, I must show the utmost respect to the barbecue masters and so I will list them in chronological order as is only fair.
Starting with the youngest, Porky G’s fired up their smoker here in the Valley a few months back. Located on Sprague in front of Fred Meyer’s, the new kid on the block hails from Couer D Alene where it opened its first place in 1995.  I was impatiently knocking on the door a minute before they opened that first day here. My impatience was soon rewarded as I dug into their baby back ribs. All the drooling I had been doing as I had driven by during the remodel was wiped away as I prepared my chin to be covered in another warm, thick and much tastier liquid, barbecue sauce.
Since that blast of God’s bounty was opened to the Valley, I have been back a time or two to draw from the well. I particularly like the pulled pork sandwich and the ribs. Beyond those iron-clad recommendations, I would also offer my services to stand on the sidewalk and enthusiastically wave folks in to try their vast array of sides. They have a ton of superb sides, or maybe super”a” sides is more accurate. From the smokey bacon au gratin potatoes to the seasoned green beans with bacon, every side I tried was a hit. At the risk of sounding partial, I must say that when it comes to Porky G’s, you have to take sides.
From Porky G’s we take a short hop down the timeline to Charlie P’s, which has been open almost two years at Sprague and Vista.  The P-man, like the G-man, knows his Q. Since the first time I laid eyes on his menu to this day after trying everything on the menu that looked like my kind of thing, I have been a rabid fan.

I have written at least two blog posts about his menu and have more in mind. Because barbecue is my favorite that has been my focus, but seafood is a close second and I haven’t said a word about their amazing seafood fet or seafood calizone let their nose-, eyes- and mouth-wateringly good seafood omelet. Then there is the pizza and broasted chicken to tell the world about. Maybe I would carry on more about his food if I weren’t so busy carrying it out and putting it where it belongs which is in my belly.
The only problem with Charlie P’s ribs is that they scream out at me every time I open the menu, drowning out all the other worthy choices. Heck, those ribs are so obnoxiously good I can often hear them screaming at me from my house three miles away. My recommendation for Charlie P’s is their Smokehouse BBQ Combo for $16.95. It is perfect for Elaine and I to share because I am able to hog the pork ribs, give her the chicken and fight for a fair split on the fantastic sirloin roast.
Next in the birth order of our blessed brotherhood of barbeques is O’Doherty’s on Sprague between Bowdish and Pines. Savory smoke has been seeping past racks of meat that it richly flavors on its way out the smokestack and up into the Valley sky since the late 90’s when Smokey’s was there. O’Doherty’s moved there in 2002 and have been serving solid servings after solid servings ever since. It is the kind of place that when you look back you realize that everything you have ever eaten there was good.
The other night  I was there researching this story and refreshing my fond memories on a half rack of ribs with  Elaine. She ordered a salmon sandwich that we had not seen there before. It was so good, it almost made me wish I had ordered it instead of the ribs. Luckily, it was several bites over Elaine-size and so I enjoyed a rib/salmon combo that went straight into the old stomach’s scrapbook of memorable meals. You might call their food “good mood food”. Whatever mood your are in, order the food that fits it and you’re good.
The oldest of the barbecue boys by far is the Longhorn on Argonne. Today is Father’s Day and like every Father’s Day, the Longhorn will be packed with fathers who were given their one day of the year to choose where to eat. There will be a long line all day leading up to heaven where the world’s best barbeque buffet has been laid out. If the Longhorn had been around in biblical times, this would have been the disciples vote for the last supper.
At one time this buffet was only served on Father’s Day but now it is served several days and always on Sundays. This made it convenient to beat the crowd and have my private Father’s Day celebration a week earlier while the family was attending a graduation. As I sat there with just two all-too-brief plates of bbq resting peacefully in my swollen paunch, it dawned on me that this buffet should be kept at a once-a-year gift from heaven. There are no left-overs at a buffet whereas I normally leave there full with a full doggy bag in my hand. (I have never understood why they call it a doggy bag because they never have done our dogs any good, at least not the ones from Longhorn. Those I call Daddy’s lunch bag.)
There is one clear choice for me as far as recommendations go for the Longhorn. When we were first married 29 years ago, back before the kids came along and decided where the family was eating out, back when the Longhorn was a drive-in, we ate there at least half the time since it was always my choice. We ate there occasionally on Elaine’s turn as well because she loved their bbq beef sandwich almost as much as I loved the bbq ham and swiss.

In those wonderful years when calories were of little concern, The Longhorn Special featuring a sandwich and two sides was our favorite. While much has changed in, on and around us since those days, the Longhorn bbq sandwich remains the same, standing like an oak on Argonne where  all the fast food chains have grown up around it like spindly scrub brush,  trucking in every wimpy sandwich and burger their food labratories can concoct.
There is nothing fast about the meats cooked at the Longhorn or O’Doherty’s or Charlie P’s or Porky G’s. These boys have the slow-smoked-meat market all sowed up and there’s no need for a big bbq chain like the Texas Roadhouse moving in to these parts. Their scouts probably looked at the Valley Mall where they would have been right at home competing with other chains like Boston’s and Outback. That probably looked enticing until they nosed around the Valley a bit and got a whiff of the local competition. The Valley, they wisely surmised, is already covered barbeque-wise and so off they went to Couer D’ Alene with their plans of expansion rolled up under their arm and their tails tucked between their legs.






I caught this tired looking fellow out at True Legends annual Luau/ Pig Roast last Saturday. Everybody had a great time except maybe this guy.

This is one of Porky G’s strong selections, the Pulled Pork sandwich.

Porky G’s ribs aren’t bad either.

This is Charlie P’s combo plate. It takes a combo of two or three people to get it ate up.

O’Doherty’s ribs are a work of art tastefully framed with sides of ecstacy. Their corn bread is perfection.

After a round at their unbelievable salad bar, it’s time for the meat plate. This is one time I don’t mind things kind of running together on the plate.

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this blog post, then you certainly deserve a reward. This is it. Between 3 and 6 Charlie P’s has a two ribs and fries for $5. It is the perfect little dinner.

Porky G's Southern BBQ on Urbanspoon
O'Doherty Irish Pub & BBQ on Urbanspoon
Charlie P's on Urbanspoon
Longhorn Barbecue on Urbanspoon