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Hoot Owl Cafe

30784 Hwy 200, Ponderey, ID -
Posted By Michael Stern on 7/10/2014 9:47:00 PM
If you are looking for a seriously hearty breakfast just north of Sandpoint, Idaho, the Hoot Owl will fill the bill. Biscuits made each morning, are the size of half a loaf of bread, and more the consistency of cake than anything else. You can have them plain or as a meal smothered with sausage gravy that has a strange and intriguing perfumy flavor. The big biscuits also play a significant roll in the dish known as Redneck Eggs Benedict, in which sausage patties substitute for Canadian bacon and gravy replaces Hollandaise.

Hoot Owl's rib-sticking gravy is also available atop an order of hash browns. If you are not a gravy fan but want something seriously filling, consider Hash Browns Supreme: spuds and scrambled eggs, onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, and chopped fresh garlic, with salsa on the side. Like every other meal served here, this one is huge. Indeed, half portions of many items are available; and in our experience, half an order here equals about one and a half orders anywhere else.

This is a made-from scratch sort of place where nothing is trendy, but everything is a cut above: fresh corned beef hash sizzled as crusty as you request, plate-wide pancakes, gnarled chicken fried steaks. Vegans can order Hash Browns Supreme made without eggs, and the menu offers egg beaters and sugarless jam.

The Hoot Owl opens at 5 in the morning, shortly after which it is populated by locals drinking coffee and enjoying each other's company. It closes after lunch, except on Monday, when it reopens from 4 to 7 as a community soup kitchen.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Hashbrowns Supreme
Biscuits & Gravy
Corned Beef Hash
Biscuit
Chicken Fried Steak (small)
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Good ol' diner-style corned beef hash: a fine balance of briny beef and plush spuds.
"Good ol' diner-style corned beef hash: a fine balance of briny beef and plush spuds."
Michael Stern





The gravy on Hoot Owl's biscuits has a curious perfumy note. Is it rosemary?
"The gravy on Hoot Owl's biscuits has a curious perfumy note. Is it rosemary?"
Michael Stern


Wonderfully rustic old building from 1942
"Wonderfully rustic old building from 1942"
Carrie Vandiver


Hoot Owl's 'small' chicken-fried steak is very, very large.
"Hoot Owl's 'small' chicken-fried steak is very, very large."
Michael Stern


Son's Bacon, Mushroom and Swiss omelette with about a half pound of bacon inside!
"Son's Bacon, Mushroom and Swiss omelette with about a half pound of bacon inside!"
Carrie Vandiver


Classic, vintage Roadfood. Thank you so much, Carrie Vandiver, for pointing the way.
"Classic, vintage Roadfood. Thank you so much, Carrie Vandiver, for pointing the way."
Michael Stern


The front area (which also was the smoking area last time I was in town in 2003, but no more).
"The front area (which also was the smoking area last time I was in town in 2003, but no more). "
Carrie Vandiver


Mom's half order of biscuits & gravy, a side of bacon and a side of toast.
"Mom's half order of biscuits & gravy, a side of bacon and a side of toast."
Carrie Vandiver


Totally unlike something you'd get in the South, this big biscuit block reminded me of cake. Bread cake, if such a thing is possible.
"Totally unlike something you'd get in the South, this big biscuit block reminded me of cake. Bread cake, if such a thing is possible."
Michael Stern


Factory-new furnishings would be as out of place in this restaurant as a corporate Happy Meal.
"Factory-new furnishings would be as out of place in this restaurant as a corporate Happy Meal."
Michael Stern


A check is presented along with the meal.
"A check is presented along with the meal."
Michael Stern


Here is a restaurant that is very much a part of the community.
"Here is a restaurant that is very much a part of the community."
Michael Stern


A breakfast for 'light eaters'.
"A breakfast for 'light eaters'."
Carrie Vandiver


The back room.  When we arrives, that octagonal table was hosting a group of what appeared to be the local 'Liar's Club'.
"The back room. When we arrives, that octagonal table was hosting a group of what appeared to be the local 'Liar's Club'."
Carrie Vandiver


The inside of the Hoot Owl is crowded with words of wisdom and silliness.
"The inside of the Hoot Owl is crowded with words of wisdom and silliness."
Michael Stern


Inside, contributions to the soup kitchen that the Hoot Owl becomes on Monday afternoons are welcome.
"Inside, contributions to the soup kitchen that the Hoot Owl becomes on Monday afternoons are welcome."
Michael Stern


If you miss your tractor seat, there are a couple of them at the short Hoot Owl counter.
"If you miss your tractor seat, there are a couple of them at the short Hoot Owl counter."
Michael Stern


No comment.
"No comment."
Michael Stern



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