Editor’s note: Call destinations before you visit to make sure they’re open. Stay posted on what Oregon’s phased reopening means for you, and follow these steps for social distancing outdoors. Also, remember to bring your face covering, required for all of Oregon’s public indoor spaces and outdoors when keeping 6 feet of distance isn’t possible. Before you set out, check road and weather conditions and check travel alerts to make sure it’s safe to be outdoors amidst smoke and wildfire conditions.
So you’re craving a meal out at an actual restaurant, but it’s drizzly and a bit chilly out? Not to worry — many of Oregon’s restaurants and bars are adding heaters and covered patios for your dining pleasure, to keep safe and socially distanced in the fresh air during COVID-19. Here’s a roundup of some of those cozy spaces if you want to dine in, although all offer food (and sometimes beer or wine) to go as well. For the best experience, read up on what to expect at restaurants these days.
Come for the whiskey, stay for the covered fire pits at Interurban in North Portland, a hip place to sip a cocktail or dine on seasonal fare. Nearby StormBreaker Brewing — with locations on North Mississippi and in St. Johns — has got you covered with its patio space, perfect for sipping a seasonal ale like the Pumpkin Pedaler. Diners in the know book brunch reservations early for Tin Shed Garden Cafe on Alberta Street, where the covered patio is perfect for open-air dining in wintry weather. In Beaverton, BG’s Food Cartel keeps diners delighted with everything from loaded poke bowls and gyros to Thai and Indian food, tacos and barbecue, plus a covered bar with patio and heat lamps as well as a large indoor area for additional dining. Visitors must keep to groups of 10 people or less, maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance, and wear a face covering at all times unless eating or drinking.
Order up a hearty salad or house-smoked ribs to enjoy with your pint undercover on the patio at Three Creeks Brewing Co. in Sisters, where firefighters receive a discount when they’re off duty. Grace and Hammer in Redmond features Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza along with inventive cocktails like the Three-Fingered Jack — whiskey with honey, bitters and Oregon cherries — on its large patio, with plenty of room to spread out. The Bite in Tumalo is a collection of four family-friendly food carts with beer on tap, fire pits and music under a rooftop awning with pretty lights. For upscale dining, Jackalope Grill in Bend serves hyper-local, seasonal scratch fare like wild Columbia River salmon in a beautiful patio ambiance. Bright-turquoise umbrellas and a rainbow of flower baskets brighten up the wood patio space at Washington Dining & Cocktails in Bend, where outdoor seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge
Sit back and relax at the renovated outdoor space of The Bargeway in The Dalles, now featuring a corn bin over a crackling fire pit. As you cozy up, indulge in scratch-made fusion fare like firecracker calamari and lobster mac and cheese while listening to live music. It’s fun people-watching as you nosh on farm-fresh artisan pizza from the patio at Solstice Cafe and Bar in Hood River. To reserve a table, send one person from your party to the host station and be prepared to wait if it’s busy, as seating is limited; groups are limited to five per table. Celebrate the brand-new, expanded location of Thunder Island Brewing Co. in Cascade Locks on the town’s main street, where you can enjoy your smoked-pork sandwich with a beer on the covered patio, with tableside heater and panoramic views of the Bridge of the Gods spanning the Columbia River. McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale has lovely gazebos over fire pits around the property that are going to be in high demand, so come early to secure a spot. A tent will cover the patio at the loading dock, with heat lamps as well.
In the North Willamette Valley, Stoller Family Estate in Dayton is ready for winter sipping with a large heated tent with windows, so you can gaze out at the vineyard. A chandelier and cozy rugs help make the space feel elegant and rustic at the same time. In Carlton book a reservation in advance (or call for a same-day visit) to secure a seat on the covered and heated outdoor patio at Laurel Ridge Winery, which serves farm-style tasting flights with a picnic box of snacks. In the mid-Willamette Valley, B2 Taphouse & Brewery in Salem now offers a covered patio with a heater as the weather cools off. This lesser-known spot for casual food and lots of Oregon beer on tap is dog-friendly, too. At Gilgamesh Brewing’s Campus South Salem, taste your favorite ales under the expansive covered patio with a fire pit and side panels, so it’s protected from wind and rain as well. Sip a seasonal ale with your burger on the heated patio at Block 15 Brewery & Tap Room, where you can place your order via your phone while you’re seated and have it delivered to your table. Dine on excellent farm-to-table fare like Willapa Bay fried oysters, crispy pork-belly fries and vegan red-curry tofu on the heated patio at Frankies in Albany.
Find a spot along one of the three natural-gas fireplaces on the large patio at Finns Fish House in Seaside, with heaters and a covered bar area. The permanent “tent” at Luna Sea Fish House in Yachats is dog-friendly, with cozy seating for parties of two to six and their furry friends around a central fireplace. On the South Coast in Coos Bay, 7 Devils Brewing Co. has a fire pit as well as winter heaters and a few tables with umbrellas, with a covered stage for bands. Nearby in North Bend, Back Alley Pub & Grill (part of the local bowling alley, North Bend Lanes) has a fully covered and heated patio adjacent to the pub and bowling center with a fire pit and live music.
What to Expect at Restaurants
Dining out during COVID-19 is a fantastic way to support local businesses. Before you head out to a restaurant, it’s best to call ahead and make a reservation if possible, otherwise prepare to wait outside or in your car if needed, knowing that capacity is limited. Bring your face covering and wear it at all times except while eating and drinking. Be patient and flexible with staff as they work exhaustively to serve you and other customers. Show your gratuity if you’ve had a great experience. And order takeout if you’d rather enjoy your meal at home.