Wallace has always been known As a small industrial city, where people went to reap – or smash – their fortunes. In recent decades, the 138-year-old center of North Idaho’s silver mining industry has made the most of its history, from Dante’s Peak’s 1996 shoot to its continued focus on tourism.
As a dining destination, Wallace is also a bright spot, with nearly 20 places to eat, drink and make fun packed into less than one square mile, from fast food to sit-down meals, and from unexpected places to traditional restaurants and drinks.
Prepare for a cool underground experience during the Sierra Silver Mine Tour (509 Cedar St.) with ice cream at the tour company’s gift shop. Or check out the sweet artwork at the EurekaSally Gallery of Art & Chocolate (416 Fifth St.) and sample Sally Utley’s sugar-free vegan chocolate.
For larger meals, visit old favorites like City Limits Brew Pub (108 Nine Mile Rd.) next to Wallace RV Park, or The Fainting Goat (516 Bank St.) bar and restaurant, purchased in 2021 by Drew and Kristin Welch.
The Welch added a brick oven, enabling them to transform shareables like brick pretzels ($13) with roasted red peppers and pizzas, including the Cheese Universe Center ($13), a reference to the city’s tongue-in-cheek moniker. Also look for baked pasta dishes like Lemon Ricotta Zitti ($14) with Artichokes and Juffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese ($17).
Fainting Goat has two large indoor dining areas, an Enomatic wine dispensing system for ounce sampling, and a large outdoor patio, making this a versatile all-season venue.
nMust Include Food Discoveries Cogs Gastropub (424 Sixth St.) in the former Smokehouse BBQ. The 1905 building honors one of its early tenants: Cogswell’s Cigar Factory, according to Cogs co-owner Barbara Strother, who opened the restaurant in 2019 with her husband, Stewart.
Cogs’ rotating menu is humorous and peppered with local references such as the Bank Street baked brie ($9) or the Cherished Up Shrimp Cocktail ($11). Try the Warm Jezebel Sandwich ($12) with pork tenderloin, apricot radish and cheddar cheese.
And as Cogs List notes, there’s “free popcorn for nice people.”
Traci Acireno acquired Muchachos Tacos (517 Bank St.) in December 2020 from Rob and Luanne Wuerfel, when they embarked on a new venture, to create the Blackboard Marketplace (600 Cedar Street), which includes a café, library and convenience store for gourmet foods.
Acireno still serves many dishes created by Wuerfels, such as chicken tinga and beef Adopada Tacos ($6 for one, $10 for two).
“Adobado refers to a specific seasoning of red chili peppers, vinegar, oregano, and spices,” says Aserino, adding that “tinga is a Mexican dish with shredded chicken in a sauce made of tomatoes and hot peppers in adobo sauce, cumin, and onions.”
Her special creations include the Vaquero Taco ($6 each, $10 each), a spin on prime rib. It features salt and pepper steak, cream of horseradish, pickled red onion, cilantro, and Cotija cheese.
Wallace has always been a dining destination for her, says Aserino, who lives in Silver Valley but has worked in the Coeur d’Alene area who operates restaurants.
“So I didn’t spend much time in Wallace; however, whenever we went out to eat, [Wallace] It’s where we’ll go,” she says. ♦