We all know Newberg as the gateway to Oregon wine country, and it’s still a dream for oenophiles — downtown is home to nine tasting rooms. But lately, this little city is drawing attention as a food and beer destination too, with a brand-new brewery and two restaurants that were recognized with James Beard Award nominations this year.
This makes Newberg a prime spot for a culinary getaway — an easy weekend destination just 25 miles southwest of Portland. Here are a few hot spots to seek out during your next stay.
The long-awaited Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery opened at the historic Springbrook Farm in May, with a mission to create small-batch beers that express Oregon’s terroir, much in the same way as wine. Founder Christian DeBenedetti — a homebrewer, writer and beer expert who grew up here on his family farm — uses nothing but the land to create, age, blend and bottle their beers on site. He and head brewer Jake Miller use pure well water, grow their own hops, produce their own sour cultures and wild yeast propagated from their own fruit trees. They even grow heirloom fruit and nuts, such as hazelnuts and plums, to put a modern spin on everything from classic farmhouse saisons to Belgian stouts, wild ales to sour and barrel-aged beers. You won’t find any IPAs here, but you will get to kick back at this rustic tasting room and feel time stand still.
For more of a wine-forward experience, two fine dining restaurants in Newberg are not to miss, garnering quite a buzz lately with their recent James Beard Award nominations.
Chef Allen Routt of Painted Lady Restaurant landed a semifinalist nod in the competitive Best Chef: Northwest category, a high honor as the restaurant marks its 11th anniversary. Housed in a 100-year-old Victorian home, Routt’s seven-course tasting menu changes frequently but features dishes like slow-roasted wild steelhead with barley risotto, kohlrabi, roasted brussel sprouts and carrots, and potato gnocchi with fines herbes, pickled fennel and parsley root puree. Pair it with a glass from their 500 wine selections, half of which hail from the Willamette Valley.
Another bucket-list spot for any wine lover is JORY Restaurant at the Allison Inn & Spa, named for the type of nutrient-rich, volcanic soil the Willamette Valley is known for. Here, try not to be overwhelmed by the 800 wines available. Trying a tasting flight is a fun way to compare different labels and regions of pinot gris, pinot noir and chardonnay. There’s also a sparkling wine flight and an “around-the-world” flight, highlighting the best beyond the Pacific Northwest. Food-wise, the menu here is rooted in the 1.5-acre chef’s garden, which visitors can stroll through. A garden vegetable hash and wagyu strip loin and eggs are a treat for a weekend brunch; dinner favorites include a razor clam chowder and farm egg pappardelle. In addition to their James Beard Award Outstanding Wine Program nomination, JORY has stacked up a number of other impressive accolades.
A beloved mainstay in Newberg is Recipe, the neighborhood restaurant set in a classic Victorian home in the heart of downtown. Driven by local, seasonal ingredients, this family-owned kitchen serves up classic dishes like slow-cooked lamb shoulder or hand-rolled duck egg cavitelli, paired with wines that reflect their place of origin. Although Recipe suffered a kitchen fire in summer 2017, Chef Paul Bachand and his team opened a pop-up restaurant, Recipe Part Deux, during restoration.
Besides dining in style, visitors will want to catch Newberg’s monthly Friday ARTwalk. Live music and festivities happen every Tuesday evening in July and August during Newberg’s outdoor concert series, Tunes on Tuesday. Grab some fresh produce and handmade crafts on Wednesdays at the Newberg Farmers Market. For more, including tasting rooms, maps and other visitor info, visit the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce.