If you’re en route to the wine country or the Willamette Valley or just want a respite from resort traffic, a place that appeals to everybody is Otis Cafe (1259 Salmon River Hwy., 541/994-9560, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Wed., 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Thurs.–Sun., $5–13), at the Otis Junction on Highway 18 two miles east of U.S. 101. Innovative variations on American road food have been warmly embraced by everyone from local loggers to coast visitors (and New York Times food critics) stopping off on the drive between Portland and the coast.
In September, salmon-fishing devotees can be seen lining up here at 6:30 a.m. Breakfast in this unpretentious café, five miles northeast of Lincoln City, is such an institution that long waits on the porch are the rule on weekend mornings. The reasons for the wait include the thick-crusted molasses bread, buttermilk waffles, and legendary hash browns under a crust of melted Rogue Valley white cheddar. Large portions, low prices, and a culinary touch that turns pork chops and rhubarb pie into epicurean delights are in full evidence at lunch and dinner. Even if it’s not mealtime, stop in for a slice of outstanding pie.
Two Indian gaming casinos are located within 25 miles of one another and offer dining alternatives to the coast-bound traveler. Both Chinook Winds (1777 NW 44th St., Lincoln City, 541/966-5825 or 888/244-6665), and Spirit Mountain (800/760-7977), about 25 miles east of Lincoln City on Highway 22 in Grand Ronde, have many dining options. Each offers generous full buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and both have fine-dining full-service restaurants offering moderate to expensive ($12–30) prices. Both casinos have nightly buffets in the $15 range.
Chinook Winds’ ocean views are also worth noting. Both casinos have outlets for 24-hour dining.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel