Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Get Out! Mailbag: June, Almost Full Moon Edition

Ive been letting the mailbag fester for too long and now the darn thing is overflowing, so let's get to it, shall we?

Dear Get Out!

Here's a pix of the old Great American Restaurant in 1990, just before it became Rustlers Roost in 1991.

Woody McEvers
CDA City Councilman

Cool, thanks Woody. You KNOW I love old pictures like this. I was actually just graduating from high school when y'all moved north to that spot and abandoned the downtown Cd'A Roost, a place where I spent my formulative teen years drinking endless Pike Street tea and eating fries with gallons of that legendary BBQ Sauce and buckets of Ranch dressing. I remember going to the Great American Restaurant when I was a young pup as well. The place had a weird 70's futuristic vibe and was quite a treat for a kid like me. I still have cravings for the clam linguine.

Dear Get Out!

I am so happy to read the article you wrote on Grumpy's and referring to Henry's, it has only been about 5 years not 10 though. Your history with us, Joe and me, go way back even further than Henry's, remember Friday's on Sherman, of course you were the cutest little red headed kid. Love the mention of the art work, Joe took all of them from my basement and off my home walls! He stored the old fireplace and kept telling me it would be needed one day.

Your mom told me she has known Joe seen grade school because he used to hit her on the head everyday on the way to school, what a bully, hasn't changed much that I can see! Looking forward to reading more from you.

Sharon Van Horn
The ex-manager of all the joints

What? I never knew that. next time I see Joe, I'll have to avenge his treatment of my mother by bopping HIM on the head like a little bunny foo-foo. Actually, no that's mean - he's getting too elderly, I'd probably break something in there, hee hee. I DO remember going to Friday's (was later 1210 tavern, now burned to ground), but those memories are a bit fuzzy. I can recall more vividly the childhood trips to University City Mall with you and my mother and getting cranky because I was absolutely bored to tears while you both shopped for women's clothes and fabric for 8 hours solid. I spent a lot of time reading magazines at B. Dalton and looking at records at DJ's. I also fondly recall getting to pick one Smurf figurine from the toy store each time we went until I had a massive collection. Sigh. I wish I still had those, I bet thy're worth a fortune on Ebay now...

Dear Get Out!

When you're ready to for on a journey for a truly great burger, I'm ready to go with you to the Elmira Store between Sandpoint and Bonners. From what I've read of you, they have everything you want in a burger.

I'd truly love to investigate an Elmira Store burger, but sadly they forced to closed a few weeks ago after an out-of-date water well sent things all wonky-like. To raise the money needed to bring the situation up to code with those sticklers at the Bonner County Health Dept., owner Ed Cook is putting on a fundraiser June 7. Full details here. Sounds like the local community is already in desperate need of an Elmira Ground Chuck Burger fix. I'm keeping my toes crossed that they make a speedy return to life, or I'll spend the rest of my life wondering if I missed what could have been, finally, the best burger in North Idaho, the one to end the memory all others that came before. Meanwhile, I'll have to keep on searching.

Dear Get Out!

Now that warmer weather is coming, and time for more adventures around the area, you should give Sandpoint's Hoot Owl a try or even go north of town towards Bonner's Ferry, about 16 miles out of Sandpoint, to a place called the Elmira Store and restaurant.

Both of these are old time places that the natives love. But I would be interested on your take on the two of them. They aren't the higher up places that the tourist go to.

Love your blog, and your take on different places.. oh, I haven't seen the place that Dogwalking Musing and I meet at (it is about half way between the two of us) called Jimmy C's in your review either. There is the restaurant and also a sports bar. We have been in the restaurant and it is old time like one, from the 1950's ... it is on the corner of the Highway 95 and the Athol turn, I believe, it is on the left as you are heading north.

Thanks for taking the time to read this...
Cis of From a Simple Mind.
Thanks, Cis - I always enjoy your blog as well. Looks like you had a very scenic Memorial Day trip. I was only able to find one review online of the Hoot Owl but it sounds right up my alley. They wrote "Mis-matched silverware and mugs from Expo '74 make this place my favorite breakfast in Sandpoint." Watch this space for a review in a few weeks - I've pushed it to the top of my list. As far as the Elmira store, see above for that sad news. Jimmy C's is a place I almost reviewed once but we ended up at the County Boy instead. Now THAT was legendary - I will for sure give Jimmy C's a whirl but they've got some stiff competition from the neighbor diner...If it's a trip back in time I should dig it right away.

Dear Get Out!

How coincidental that I just read your column about Bonners Ferry and the Panhandle today. I was up there this a.m. walking through the cemetery visiting old relatives for the first time in eons. My great grandfather is there and he was once an owner/operator of the ferry you mentioned. His name was Malcom Bruce and he had the ferry from 1899-1902 I believe, and then sold it, but continued to operate it for awhile. He then started a dairy up on the south Hill. Your column gave me cause to reflect upon a much simpler, quieter, more peaceful existence than this old continent has seen in many a year! Thanks for that.

Bob Poutre
Wallace, Idaho

Dear Get Out!

I always read your columns in The Spokesman and find them interesting. I found today's especially interesting as I grew up on a farm 5 1/2 mi. out S.E. of Bonners. My folks raised chickens, pigs, beef, etc. and every Sat. we'd go to town and take eggs to the grocery store, the "K.V." (Kootenai Valley), which was located where the Panhandle Cafe is now, and they would trade them for groceries. This was back in the '30s and '40s.

Too bad you didn't get to see some of the falls up there. Some of the best ones and easiest ones to access are the Myrtle Creek Falls and Snow Creek Falls, both of which you access from the Westside Rd. which runs up the west side of the valley and you can access that by either turning off at Naples or by going in to Bonners. They're really beautiful this time of year.

Rosalyn Clark
Sagle, ID

Bob and Roslyn, you've both created a great opportunity to once again plug my other blog Remember the Roxy, which features all vintage images of North Idaho. There are a few pix of old Bonner Ferry there you ought to enjoy, and I'm always looking for more so if you have anything along those lines please let me know...

Dear Get Out!

Regarding your article of today, I went to that Panhandle Cafe, once. I spend my time at Papa Byrd's Bistro. It used to be a pizza place just on the Bonners Ferry side of the concrete tunnel from the Casino. I find it hard to believe that such delicious, gourmet food is available in Bonners. Mark Truesdell, a native of Bonners Ferry, owns the place and has different, delicious items on the menu all the time. I've wanted to taste his eggplant but seem to keep missing "the day" he serves it.

Before you make comments on old, dull restaurants, give Papa Byrd's a try. And, there's always pizza!

Susan Riess

Susan, I gather you're not the biggest hugest fan of the Panhandle Cafe? Is it a fear of Cabbage Patch Dolls? It was certainly old, but I didn't think it was that dull. The clam chowder was a bloody mindblower, in fact. More importantly, young Mr. Ryan provided us with memorable, attentive service, something a little on the rare side these days. truth is, we might have picked a more unique place in Bonners, but I had to pee so bad when we rolled into town and the Panhandle Cafe was the first place we spotted. "Look! There's a spot right in front, pull over, pull over!" I've added Byrd's Bistro to my list and will give it a go next time I'm up that way, hopefully it will be "the day" Mark serves the eggplant. Maybe we could use "the phone" to find out exactly when that is.

Dear Get Out!

I just read your recent article in the Idaho edition of the Spokesman Review. It's too bad that you didn't get to see any of the great waterfalls on your Bonners Ferry trip. There are several up here. The best ones can only be reached by going for a hike in the woods. My favorite is Snow Creek Falls; which require about 20 minutes on an easy trail. If you ever wish to give it another try I'd be glad to show you the way. I will even take you to my favorite place to have breakfast if you can get here before 11:00 in the morning.

Take Care,
John Beck
Thanks for the breakfast invite, sounds good as long as it's not the Panhandle Cafe - I don't want to get in trouble again with Susan (see above letter). It IS rather amazing that Quincy and I could spend days mapping out a trip to see waterfalls, spend an entire day searching for said waterfalls, and end up not seeing a single one. That's just kinda how we roll sometimes. From what I've gathered, I guess we drove right by a couple of the parking areas for the trails a few times and somehow remained oblivious. We did get to explore the Kootenai National Wildlife Reserve, which was awesome - in addition to the dead kitty I mention in the review, we also saw several deer, a wild turkey, gorgeous mallard ducks, two turtles, doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. I'd recommend that drive to anyone, waterfalls or not.

Dear Get Out!

We tried My Place largely because of your review from a few weeks ago and loved it.

Now I would like to read your review again, but it doesn't seem to be listed on the spokesman.com columnist site.

Is there another way I can get your review again?

Bev Johnk
The short answer, Bev, is no you can't. Why? I never wrote it. I still haven't checked out My Place. I tried once on a Sunday for breakfast, but they were locked up tight. Perhaps you were thinking of another review? By the way, how WAS My Place? I've heard no feedback yet, other than the mild uproar caused by the CDA Press article that made them seem ultra-snooty ("No kids allowed, this is an adult establishment.")

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