The Valley Café (103 W. 3rd Ave., 509/925-3050, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily) is a European-style bistro where you won’t go wrong any meal of the day. Dinner highlights include Ellensburg lamb, seafood, chicken, or pasta. The attractive brick building was built in the 1930s.
Grant’s Pizza Place (716 E. 8th Ave., 509/925-9855, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) has quick food: pizzas, nachos, chicken hot wings, and a salad bar.
Built in 1923 as a German Lutheran sanctum, Yellow Church Café’s (111 South Pearl St., 509/933-2233, www.yellowchurchcafe.com, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Sat.–Sun.) waitresses float in with a heavenly spread of healthy lunches and dinners daily.
Housed in a 1920s gas station, D&M Drive-Thru (408 S. Main, 509/962-6333, 5:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) is a great place to get an espresso and a muffin without having to get out of your car.
Ellensburg’s hot summer days and Winegar’s silky ice creams are made for each other. Winegar’s is an institution in the valley, with two locations in town, one near the rodeo arena (1013 E. University Way, 509/933-1823, 6 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) and the other downtown (608 N. Main St., 509/933-1821, 6 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.). There are a stableful of inventive flavors, but the very best have its delicious maple flavoring. Winegar’s also serves a damn fine cup of espresso—the debate rages in town as to whether it beats the joe poured at D&M.
The Kittitas County Farmers Market (on 4th St. between Pearl and Pine, 509/925-1776, www.kcfarmersmarket.com, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Sat. May–Oct.) brings fresh produce, baked goods, and arts and crafts. The annual schedule usually includes performances by musicians and dance troupes.
If Ellensburg is a gateway to wine country, then Ellensburg Wine Works (606 N. Main St., 509/962-8463, noon–7 p.m. Tues.–Sat.) is your ticket puncher. This quaint emporium of all things vinous is tucked away in the bottom floor of a charming bed-and-breakfast. The owners pride themselves on their eclectic and sometimes obscure selection of local wines. Taste their hand-picked vintages all day on Friday and Saturday.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition