Nosworthy's Hall Of Fame
4045 N. Government Way, Coeur d'Alene
I didn’t need to see a “Please Seat Yourself” sign to know what to do. It’s apparent immediately upon entry that Nosworthy’s is as casual as stopping by Mom’s kitchen for a little visit and a quick homemade lunch. It’s been a home away from home for the many regulars who’ve been frequenting the burger and omelet mecca since it sprung into life as the Ground Round, sometime in the Neo Paleolithic era of Coeur d’Alene history.
The Ground Round attained legendary status early on with its gargantuan burgers that were so fresh they still cried “moo” and omelets big, bright and happy enough to put the sun out of work for the rest of the morning. I can’t recall the exact details of what brought about the name change, but I’m guessing it had something to do with a little legal jazz involving the national restaurant chain of the same name. The forced rechristening to “Nosworthy’s Hall of Fame” was literally the only noticeable change, and the magic remained intact.
Nearly every visible surface is covered with owner Dale Nosworthy’s impressive collection of sports memorabilia, so the name fits the place like a baseball mitt. Dozens of framed, autographed portraits of famous athletes take up most of one wall and colorful team pennants hang in the rafters above the tiny bar area. If Nosworthy ever decides to ditch the restaurant business, he ought to consider reopening as a sports museum and tourist trap, and he wouldn’t even have to change the sign out front.
I walked in and immediately made a beeline to the bar area. The locals there were already a little on the rowdy side, with full glass goblets of draught beers sat before them, and I decided that 11 a.m. was a bit on the early side to be toasting George and Abe anyway. Instead, I slid into a booth near the door and was greeted right away by a waitress who, despite her relative youth, seemed like someone who had mastered the art of waiting tables years ago.
Some of the more intriguing menu highlights include the Willard ‘Hos’ Hosford Burger, which combines cream cheese and sweet-hot mustard, the Sluggo Burger (which formerly held the rather macabre name “the Miss Piggy”) piles on both ham and bacon and the “Superbowl” sandwich, which sounds like it could feed the whole party with copious amounts of turkey, ham, roast beef and both Swiss and American cheeses.
I still couldn’t really decide what to choose when the waitress returned again, so I made a snap decision and ordered the Conan burger with a side of potato salad. I think my eyeball was drawn to it possibly because I’ve had my attention so focused recently on the late night talk-show crisis, and since I fall firmly on the Team Conan side, it seemed like it’d be worth a try.
It only took one glimpse at the Conan burger to realize it was named after the muscle bound comic book hero and not the TV guy with the silly red hair. A thick, hand formed beef patty was buried under a gooey slab of real cheddar, sweet grilled onions, and a dollop of whipped horseradish sauce. There was no feasible way I was going to wrap my mouth around the beast. I yanked out the tomato and pickles, which I have no love for on my burger, and pressed the thing down until it was a reasonably edible size.
I probably say this a lot, but this time I really mean it; this was truly one of the most stunningly fresh, delicious burgers on the North Idaho map. The combination of flavors was superb, but it was the high quality of the meat itself that really earned it five stars in my book. The Conan was truly a knockout, and I didn’t regain consciousness until every last incredible bite was gone.