Exploring Redneck Gourmet Delights along the Southern Oregon Coast
The Southern Oregon Coast, with its rocky unspoiled shorelines, serves up some of the state’s most breathtaking sunsets and casual cuisine. Upon initial glance, the small towns scattered along the coast seem quaint almost rustic. These rural communities are home to unassuming restaurants and storefronts that feature award-winning cuisine and culinary delights.
Start this epicurean journey at the Southern portion of the coast with a trip to Arch Rock Brewing, located in Gold Beach, Oregon. Housed within an aluminum warehouse is an award-winning microbrewery that brews three major brands: Gold Beach Lager, Pistol River Pale, and State of Jefferson Porter, along with specialty beers. Three and a half years after opening, this tiny 15-barrel brew house and tasting room has racked up five gold medals at prestigious national and international beer competitions.
Hunter Creek Bar & Grill situated next door to Arch Rock Brewery possesses a bit of a dive bar feel. However, the food and selection of brews on tap rise well above typical dive bar fare. In particular, check out their fish and chips paired with Arch Rock’s Gold Beach Lager. Also, be sure to step outside on the patio for a waterside view of scenic Hunter Creek.
Moving north to Port Orford, Red Fish located next to Battle Rock Park, offers visitors the opportunity to savor lunch and dinner with the sounds and smells of the coast in the background. Enjoy freshly prepared locally-sourced seafood and a quality selection of wines and craft beers. Also, stroll around to view the art featured in the local art gallery attached to the restaurant. A loft upstairs offers overnight accommodations with a breathtaking view of the Southern Oregon coast.
Continuing the drive north, one comes to Bandon, a beach town with an Old Town waterfront that possesses the look of a beach movie circa the 1950s. Whimsical local art decorating the boardwalk and a plethora of souvenir shops selling unique oddities add to the nostalgic look of this town. Be sure to pay a visit to Bandon Fish Market situated in the center of the waterfront. Step inside this fish shack and dive into their signature Pacific true cod from Alaska or locally sourced halibut fish and chips. Other locally caught seafood available include Dungeness crab cocktails and shrimp.
In a town seemingly littered by salt water taffy and other beach confections, one finds Coastal Mist, a gourmet shop that produces small-batch award-winning artisan chocolates and desserts. This company uses Belgian-style chocolate-making techniques to craft the finest European chocolates using a plethora of Oregon fruits, nuts, and dairy products.
Also, stop by Face Rock Creamery and watch them make their hand-crafted, gourmet cheeses. Then sample their wares such as their medium, sharp, and extra sharp cheddar or one of their various specialty and flavored cheeses. Of particular note is their #1 award-winning cheese curds including their garlic cheddar “Vampire Slayer” and a spicy three pepper cheddar “In Your Face.” Look out for the green flag hanging outside their storefront as that’s a sign they have new curds available.
Catch the sunset in Bandon at Edgewaters. This casual restaurant offers one a seemingly simple yet fine dining experience set against the backdrop of the Coquille River. Choose from local seafood, casual fare, or hand-cut steaks. This restaurant is one of the best places in the area to sit and watch the sun setting over the Coquille River Lighthouse while savoring one’s dinner.
Over at Coos Bay, enjoy a gourmet lunch for a discount price at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute’s Chef’s Table. Here students trained by award American Culinary Federation certified instructors hone their talents by preparing a three-course lunch that looks far more pricey than the $15.00 price tag. Check out their website for upcoming Chef Table dates.
Also at Coos Bay, one finds 7 Devils Brewing Company, a small craft brewery. Their rustic casual look belies the quality craft brews available on tap. Over time, this spot has become a neighborhood hangout in Coos Bay for those looking to hang out with friends over a pint and some casual pub fare.
At nearby North Bend, The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park has a range of restaurant options that rise above the traditional fare often served at casinos. Sit down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Plank House and enjoy the waterfront view while dining. Those wanting a more casual option can head over to Warehouse 101, a sports bar with craft beer menu. For an elegant nightcap, stop by Whitecaps, a modernist bar with unique cocktails and small bites.