Some grub at the Spokane Tribe Casino in AIrway Heights, Washington. Photo: Spokane Tribe Casino

Tribes with casinos just a couple of miles apart step up their food game

The Kalispel Tribe and the Spokane Tribe are competing for gamblers' dollars and their taste buds too.

The tribes operate casinos just a couple of miles apart from one another in Airway Heights, Washington. Both are stepping up their food game as they learn to live with each other amid litigation and some animosity.

For Kalispel, the Northern Quest Resort and Casino is investing $1.5 million in an expansion of its food court. Due to open at the end of June, patrons will be able to enjoy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough at Ben & Jerry’s, a hot cup of java at Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters and some burritos at Qdoba.

“We’re excited to partner with several amazing local owners on these new dining options at Northern Quest,” general manager Brandon Haugen of Kalispel Development Company, the tribe's economic arm, said in a press release. The food court additions are part of a larger, $20 million expansion at the casino.

Just down the road, the Spokane Tribe Casino, the Three Peaks Kitchen + Bar is aiming to appeal to gamblers and their families, The Inlander reported. The restaurant, which can be accessed by the main entrance at the facility, offers a family friendly food, the paper said.

"If you look at our menu now, it's very broad — you can find tacos to an Italian dish to wild salmon to American classics, so it's a little bit of everything for everyone, but I put my spin on it," chef Blerita Kaba told the paper.

The Spokane facility debuted on January 8. It took the tribe more than a decade to secure federal and state approvals for the casino under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The Kalispels followed the same procedure, only Northern Quest had a head start. The casino opened its doors in 2000.

The Kalispels sued the Trump administration in hopes of derailing the Spokanes. Though the case is technically still alive, it did not prevent the opening of the new development.

Read More on the Story:
Northern Quest Resort and Casino is expanding its food court (The Spokesman Review April 26, 2018)
Three Peaks Kitchen Bar at the new Spokane Tribe Casino focuses on American comfort food (The Inlander April 26, 2018)

Federal Register Notice:
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Spokane Tribe of Indians West Plains Casino and Mixed Use Project, City of Airway Heights, Spokane County, WA (February 1, 2013)

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