Good Eats Over Graduation Weekend: Corvallis
College graduation is just around the corner, and students and families all over the state are getting ready to celebrate. If you’re heading to Corvallis for the graduation ceremony at Oregon State University, here are some ideas to get you started on the hunt for that perfect place to celebrate and chow down in style.
Sahalie Wine Cellar/Wine Bar/Restaurant – Located along the waterfront, Sahalie is a cozy place to swirl, sniff, and sip away a pinot over brie with a group of friends while debating the complexities of life. They focus on featuring wines from Oregon’s south Willamette Valley and also offer a diverse menu featuring other wine regions, wine varietals and styles; they also have a good selection of Northwest microbrews.
Big River Restaurant – This is definitely Corvallis’ hippest dining spot and is the place to see-and-be-seen. Located along the banks of the Willamette Valley, Big River serves up Northwest “fusion” food (Asian-inspired pastas to Cuban pork loin to various smoked chicken dishes) together with a stylishly eclectic menu of elixirs in a soothing and spectacular décor.
Bomb’s Away Café – If you’re looking for a casual atmosphere, a wildly diverse and creative Southwestern/Mexican menu featuring local products (how about a mashed potato enchilada topped with red and green spicy sauces, broiled cheese and two free-range over easy eggs braised in verde sauce?) and rockin’ live music, Bomb’s Away is the place for you.
The bar located at the end of the hallway in the back of the restaurant is a favorite student and faculty hangout and features a members’ only “Tequila Club” – join it and sample more than 15 varieties of tequila (perhaps not on the same night!).
Cloud 9 Atmospheric Bar and Eatery – This is hands down my favorite new restaurant in Corvallis. If you think that a chic restaurant serving up an eclectic menu of food and an exotic drink menu might be too cool for the bucolic setting of Corvallis…think again! Cloud 9 opened up nine weeks ago and is a hip hangout to see-and-be-seen.
They’re located right on the waterfront (adjacent to Big River restaurant) in an old warehouse-style building with high ceilings, wood beams and minimally decorated pastel walls. The best part of it is that the food and drink menu totally complements the ambiance – they’ve got everything from the classics (sazerac’s and Hemingway daquiri’s etc) to the post-modern “cool” – avocado libations, Country Club (home made blueberry gin, soda water, lime, simple syrup). The food menu is also delicious; everything from salads, soups, appetizers and entrees. Try the Hushpuppies, cheese plate or pesto crusted salmon (MMM!). Best of all….if you make it for happy hour, (TUE-SAT), 4-6 pm, drinks are $1 cheaper! (Note – many of the good drinks are under $5).
Nearly Normal’s – Vegetarians in your party are in for a feast! Normal’s (as the locals fondly call it), uses fresh local ingredients to create some amazingly good food that keeps even yours truly (a non-vegetarian) coming back for more. Featuring a warm, friendly atmosphere, a healthy and yummy menu of wildly creative plates and good selection of micro brews and local wines, Normal’s will completely change any pre-conceived notions you might have about the typical “vegetarian” restaurant.
Broken Yolk – The Broken Yolk is one of Corvallis’ newest restaurants (12 weeks or so) and serves up some seriously good breakfast and lunches. The breakfast is especially popular and on any given Sunday, huge crowds line up to sample their fare. Be warned…the wait can be long so don’t go there if you’re looking for a quick breakfast.
Sunnyside Up – A local favorite, Sunnyside features homemade soup, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and organic fair-trade coffee. They offer a diverse menu featuring staples such as Belgian waffles, hearty pancakes, omelets created with organic ingredients, locally grown produce when available, and non-GMO tofu & soymilk.
More ideas: For great Oregon beer and a laid back attitude, try either one of the two McMenamins in town. And don’t forget to check out the gigantic “sink fountain” that adorns the east wall of the McMenamins location on Monroe (by campus). Finally for a nice sit-down dining experience, head over to Michael’s Landing or Le Bistro restaurant.
About the Author: Mo Sherifdeen
Mo is Travel Oregon's content publisher and loves to hike the forests and mountain trails of Oregon with his wife, daughter and dog. He is also known for getting lost inside a maze of books at Powell’s, sipping an IPA (or two) and seeking the best fish 'n chips along the Oregon Coast.