The folks out in Eastern Oregon have some serious bragging rights: the deepest river gorge in North America, some of the highest peaks in the state, and more scenic byways than any other region. But their accolades in food and drink are equally stellar. Eat your way into the boasting club by visiting these unique Eastern Oregon spots.
Out here on Oregon’s eastern border, the friendly community of Ontario is best known for its Ore-Ida frozen potato plant (yes, home of the tater tot). But since 2015, the family-run Second and Vine Bistro has been the heart of the community, in a historic home renovated into a cheery dinner and entertainment hotspot. Come for live music, gorgeous year-round patio seating and artisan meat and cheese plates to pair with local wines and craft beer.
How far would you go for a great milkshake? The community of Fields is located 127 miles south of Burns and within spitting distance of Nevada. That’s a long drive for most people, but the creamy, sweet shakes at Fields Station draw admirers from far and wide who agree it’s worth the trip for Oregon’s southernmost shake.
Photo credit: Robbie McClaran
Located at the top of Mt. Howard above Wallowa Lake, Summit Grill treats travelers to delicious food and delightful views from a height of 8,150 feet. Visitors aren’t expected to climb to that altitude; ascend by way of the Wallowa Lake Tramway to the alpine patio and enjoy a selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks.
Biggest burger per capita
You won’t find a bigger burger in a smaller town than the massive Frazier Burger of Diamond (pop. 5). Served up in the charming dining room at the Hotel Diamond, the half-pound Angus beef patty is smothered in grilled onions and mushrooms, jack cheese and bacon. With fries. We won’t even mention the size of the strawberry milkshake.
Photo credit: Robbie McClaran
Best known for its annual rodeo, which started in 1910, Pendleton is also home to the Rainbow Café, still going strong. Opened in 1883, the café is the oldest business operating in the same location in Pendleton (and one of the oldest bars in Oregon). Slide into a wooden booth or belly up to the bar and try the famous broasted chicken and a shot of Pendleton whiskey.
Photo credit: The Original Fare
Taste Wallowa County in a pint and on a plate at Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise, which offers local beef and bison burgers to go with their full-bodied IPA, pilsner and full lineup of ales and seasonal beers. Among the brewery’s awards is a gold medal for its collaboration with GoodLife Brewing, an imperial red ale, at the Los Angeles International Beer Competition. Enjoy outdoor seating under the aspen grove near the creek; dogs are welcome in a designated area.
Photo credit: Eugenie Frerichs
First liquor license
Thanks to an enthusiastic state representative who played a role in forming the Oregon State Liquor Control Commission after Prohibition (and who just happened to hale from the small town of Condon), the No. 1 liquor license in Oregon is held by Murray’s Condon Pharmacy. The pharmacy, owned and operated by the second generation of Murrays, sells wine, spirits, gifts, sundries and kitchen wares as well as soups, salads and sandwiches at the lunch counter.