Those craving a hearty breakfast can count on satisfaction at Big River Diner (740 E. Steuben St., Bingen, 509/493-1414, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily), which serves ample portions of old favorites like biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and eggs.
For something homier, Inn of the White Salmon (509/493-2335) pulls out its dining chairs to nonguests who’d like to partake in its locally famous country breakfasts ($10). Phone ahead for reservations.
Road-trippin’ families toting little ones should consider unloading the minivan at Solstice Wood Fire Café (415 W. Steuben St., Bingen, 509/493-4006, www.solsticewoodfirecafe.com, 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5–8 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Fri., 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Sat., 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun.). This kid-friendly restaurant has a special play area and a chalkboard for the kids to unload a little of that pent-up road trip energy. The food’s delish, too, with a menu full of wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, and salads. The pizzas range from plain for picky eaters to inventive, such as the combo with chicken, potatoes, and sweet peppers. This is one of the few eateries in the gorge open on Monday.
If you’re craving a really good burger, drive up Highway 141 about 10 minutes to Hooba’s (820 Hwy. 141, Husum, 509/493-4440, www.killerburgers.com, entrées $10) at the Husum golf course. This quirky establishment makes up thick, fresh patties served on ciabatta, along with other choices like tilapia fish tacos with pineapple salsa. The carefree owner doesn’t post hours—it’s simply open for lunch and dinner Thursday through Sunday.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition