Kalispel Tribe’s Resort & Restaurant Comes up Big

Kalispel Tribe’s Resort & Restaurant Comes up Big

Jack McNeel
1/28/11

Airway Heights, Wash. – It was just a year ago, January 2010, when Northern Quest Resort and Casino opened its massive expansion with a 10-story tower containing 250 hotel rooms and various other amenities including Masselow’s Restaurant, it’s keynote dining establishment.. Now, just 12 months later, AAA has awarded both the Resort and Masselow’s Restaurant with Four Diamond Awards. To fully understand what an accomplishment this is, less than 4% of the 31,000 properties across the country approved by AAA receive this award. Only 26 hotels and resorts throughout Washington have received this honor. Perhaps even more amazing, Masselow’s is the only restaurant in the eastern portion of Washington to have ever received this award, and they received it in their first year of operations. It’s the first new restaurant in the state to receive this award in the past nine years! Northern Quest Resort is owned by the Kalispel Tribe. Phil Haugen, General Manager, is a tribal member. It’s a remarkable tribute to tribal leadership that the resort was constructed and now ranks as one of the elite hotels, perhaps the elite hotel, for hundreds of miles around. As Haugen comments, “tribal members are very proud of it.” Haugen explained that AAA visited Northern Quest Resort and Masselow’s Restaurant last spring, only about three months after it opened. He was notified last summer about the Four Diamond Awards but was not allowed to announce it to the public till recently. The Four Diamond award will now be proudly included in advertising. The Resort and Casino is promoted primarily within about a 300 mile radius reaching from the Seattle/Portland area on the west to central Montana and from Boise north well into British Columbia and Alberta while Masselow’s Restaurant is advertised more locally to reach the immediate area. Some major Native American conferences were held here last year and more are scheduled for the coming months. The Resort is near Spokane International Airport and Northern Quest maintains a fleet of Escalades to transport visitors without charge from and to the airport and to downtown Spokane as well. Anna Haugen, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, pointed out there are only seven restaurants in the entire northwest of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho to receive the Four Diamond Award and the only tribally-owned restaurant in the Inland Northwest to be so acknowledged. “It’s a really exciting time. It represents luxury, hospitality and great service.” Chef Bob Rogers started at Masselow’s about a month before it opened. Asked why the restaurant received this award, he responded, “It’s the passion. We’ve got the passion to do it right and the team executes very well. I think that’s probably the big thing.” “Our food is simplistic but elegant. We purchase wonderful ingredients to start with. It’s been my philosophy not to hide or cover that up. The organization allows me to go out and source the best things I can find from around the world. It’s a playground for a chef to be able to do the kind of things we do,” he says in appreciation for the support from the Northern Quest organization. Visitors to Masselow’s heartily agree with that quality. Roger Hanson and his wife were dining this night and commented on the beautiful décor and relaxing atmosphere. “We do fine dining every week and this is our favorite,” he commented, also giving credit to the staff. “They are exceptional in terms of answering our questions and helping us pair the food with wine. It’s really good service.” The menu is varied with a Native American flavor including bison, elk, and wild salmon. Chef Rogers says, “bison is by far the best seller.” Mini samples of fry bread are served to all diners in birch bark canoes along with huckleberry puree. Early photos of tribal members line the walls. Mayor of Airway Heights, Patrick Rushing, was equally enthusiastic in his praise of the Northern Quest and Masselow’s and the cooperation he’s received from the Kalispel Tribe. “Since they opened the resort last January we’ve seen a lot of really good things that have come out. Masselow’s is one. The quality of service and the food are really phenomenal. I’d recommend it to anybody.”

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