As any visitor to Oregon’s Willamette Valley can attest, making the decision about which of the several hundred wineries to visit can be tough.
Yet, there is still another daunting task ahead of visitors to the grapevine-laden region … where to eat?
While there aren’t as many restaurants as there are tasting rooms, a variety of options and prices to match are available. To help you with at least one of your queries on your trip to Oregon’s wine country, the following are my suggestions for some great spots to dine while visiting the valley. From deli-counter ordering to tablecloths and crystal glassware, the region has it all. Here is just a taste.
Pocketbook Sensitive $
Red Hills Market – Dundee
Opened by husband-and-wife team Jody and Michelle Kropf, Red Hills Market provides great food at reasonable prices while showcasing local culinary artisans. Products include charcuterie, cheese, nuts, honey, coffee and chocolate (just to name a few).
Located in the heart of Dundee, this sundry store/wine shop/coffee bar/deli/restaurant is casual, but don’t let the atmosphere fool you. The ingredients used on their fresh menu are always top notch, as is the attention to detail that goes into the food. Pastries, coffees, yogurt and other light fare are available to help you get your day started on the right foot. Sandwiches, soups and salads make for great lunches. For dinner, the wood-fired pizzas are not to be missed (they also offer a gluten-free crust option). Wines, beers and a small selection of cocktails are available by the glass to enjoy with your meal, while reasonably priced bottles of wine and beer are also available to drink on site or take home.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week, 7 a.m.-close
155 SW 7th St, Dundee, OR 97115
Also Try: Community Plate - McMinnville
Casual Sophistication $$
Walnut City Kitchen – McMinnville
Scott Cunningham and Chef Jesse Kincheloe opened Walnut City Kitchen in McMinnville this December amid eager anticipation from the local community. Chef Kincheloe focuses on regional and seasonal foods, creating a menu that highlights his creative culinary skills and the simple, delicious flavors of the local products.
The 44-seat restaurant is warm, relaxed and comfortable, while maintaining its sense of sophistication through the quality of the dishes. Sommelier Andrew Smith has put together an approachable and intriguing wine list that aims to appeal to local diners as well as out-of-town guests. Its focus on balancing both the familiar with the less known is accompanied by a strong emphasis on local Oregon wines. Dinner entrees range from $12-$28 and include items like cider-braised bone-in pork chop with sweet potato and Brussels sprout hash and a foraged mushroom pasta dressed with sage and cream.
Lunch daily 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday 5-9 p.m.
2580 SE Stratus Avenue, McMinnville, OR
Also Try: Recipe – Newberg
Fine and Fabulous $$$
Jory – Newberg
Located in the Allison Inn and Spa, Jory is a foodie’s dream come true. Executive Chef Sunny Jin brings his capable and ingenious hands, years of experience and tremendous culinary ambition to the restaurant, along with some good old-fashioned friendliness.
Chef Jin earned his culinary degree from Portland’s Western Culinary Institute where he graduated at the top of his class, receiving the coveted Grand Toque Award. His resume consists of stints at Napa Valley’s The French Laundry, Tetsuya’s in Sydney, Australia and El Bulli in Catalonia, Spain (rated one of the top restaurants in the world at the time).
Jory boasts one of my all-time favorite charcuterie boards, consisting of a selection of five house-cured meats, pickles, mustards, fennel pollen lavosh and grilled crostini. Entrees range from $28-$45 and include dishes like pan-seared Muscovy duck with sweet potato gratin, escarole, port-glazed cranberries and duck-egg hollandaise. While the setting in the 100-seat restaurant is undeniably elegant, more causal dining options are also available in the bar or at the chef’s counter that looks into the open kitchen.
Sommelier Ken Bolick manages a wine list consisting of more than 800 selections, featuring Oregon Pinot Noir, with some very special older vintages and smaller production wines on the list. The list also contains several wines from around the globe and offers an array of wine flights as well as craft cocktails and local brews.
Breakfast 6:30-10:30 a.m., Lunch 11:30 a.m-2 p.m., Dinner 5:30-9 p.m.
2525 Allison Lane
Newberg, OR 97132
Also Try: Paulée - Dundee