While most of the food-and-wine buzz outside our region leans heavily toward the wine side, a long list of creative local restaurateurs want you to know that people do eat here too. And when they do, they eat well.
Like a lot of the smaller Oregon regions outside major metropolitan areas, the best places to eat are often found off the beaten path, or in the least of expected areas. And the discovery is half the fun.
Sure, you can drive through the heart of Roseburg, our county’s largest city, and find dozens of fine eateries. But drift out into the smaller communities and some of the scenic backroads and you’ll happen upon a wide array of dining spots well worth the trip.
There are places like historic Tolly’s in charming Oakland, where you’ll be transported back in time while enjoying a delicious lunch, dinner or shake at the kind of old-fashioned soda fountain you just don’t see very often any more.
Or wander across the street to the Oakland Tavern for one of the area’s best sandwiches and a cold one.
If you’re on a winery tour, stop at Lighthouse Center Bakery and Café in Umpqua, about six miles west of Sutherlin. There you can either purchase delicious baked goods for your road trip or sit and enjoy a leisurely vegetarian lunch.
If you have a little extra time, and are up for an excursion up the beautiful North Umpqua River Scenic Byway, make plans for a special dinner at the legendary Steamboat Inn, about 40 minutes east of Roseburg. It is a feast for all the senses that you won’t soon forget, but it requires a reservation and they can be hard to get.
South of Roseburg in Canyonville, Ken’s Sidewalk Café is a great quick stop for casual food, including specialty burgers (buffalo and elk included), sandwiches, salads and healthy portions of Douglas County’s renowned Umpqua Ice Cream (“healthy portions” and “ice cream” might be mutually exclusive where you come from, but not in Umpqua Ice Cream’s hometown).
Great Mexican fare can be found throughout the county, including Sol de Sutherlin, Carlos Restaurante in Winston, El Paraiso in Canyonville and several spots in Roseburg, including Burrito Vaquero, just off I-5, Los Dos Amigos Fiesta and Mariachi Loco downtown.
Douglas County locals consider Hello Thai, on Main Street in Winston, and Bangkok West in Roseburg to be can’t-miss destinations for lovers of Thai food.
If you’re staying in Roseburg during your visit, the dining options are plentiful. A short stroll through the historic downtown area will expose you to a diverse collection of establishments to satisfy whatever mood you’re in.
You’ll find pub fare served in an eclectic converted train station at McMenamin’s, as well as the comfortable, equally historic setting of O’Toole’s Pub. There’s upscale/casual Northwest cuisine at Brix Grill/Chill and True, Latin fusion at Salud Restaurant and Brewery and authentic Greek at Alexander’s.
Dino’s offers fine Italian in a casual café atmosphere and if you’re in the mood for sushi, Suschi Ami is the place to go.
Elsewhere in the city, you can enjoy a journey back through time with a quick trip to Pete’s drive-in, where you’ll get a great burger and fries served up old-school style – straight to your car.
Or, if you’re the type who likes a burger with a chair and table, try the famous Frog Burger at Roseburg’s renowned Jersey Lilly or Rodeo Steakhouse where you can also get, as you might have guessed, one of the area’s best steaks.
There’s tasty American cuisine at Black and Bleu Bistro, great drive-thru barbeque at Smokin’ Friday (yes, that is a Hot Pork Sundae you see on the menu, and it’s awesome), fabulous pizza at Logger’s and delicious pub fare at Splitz Bar and Grill.
A quick trip to Yelp will give you a great taste of the flavor of the region’s food options, but your best bet may be to stop somewhere and talk to a local. The best food knowledge is always local food knowledge.