It’s February. New Year’s resolutions are officially over. Whether it’s bagels or baguettes, cinnamon rolls or scones, every town has its go-to bakery, and everyone tends to be talking about it. If you or your sweetie has a sweet tooth, go ahead — indulge. Here’s a round-up of iconic spots to stop for spectacular confections and fresh-baked goods on your next Oregon road trip.
A staple in Portland since 2001, Ken’s Artisan Bakery has garnered national praise for its perfectly rustic breads and deliciously flaky croissants (try the Oregon croissant, with local berries and hazelnut cream) from the likes of Travel + Leisure, USA Today, the L.A. Times and other publications. Owner Ken Forkish is a James Beard Award-winning chef who brings his doughy mastery to the wood-fired pies at Ken’s Artisan Pizza, a few miles away. Just south of Portland in Milwaukie, Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store is considered the go-to spot for giant, chewy chocolate chip cookies, granola, scones and other confections made in-house from the brand’s whole grains, so you can rest assured it’s all good for you. Gluten-free and paleo-friendly items abound as well. (Also check out the new Southeast Portland location of New Cascadia Traditional for more gluten-free treats.) To the west of Portland, Hillsboro’s La Imperial Bakery is one of the largest and most popular Mexican bakeries in the region, with decadent cakes, artisan breads and pastries. Try a slice of chocoflan — an amazing combination of chocolate cake and flan.
Dough Dough Bakery in Seaside is a favorite among families — part bakery, part wine shop and part pizza spot. With an in-house fermentation specialist, it’s all about savory and sweet when it comes to their scones, rolls and other yummy treats. Pacific Sourdough in the tiny Central Coast town of Waldport is a little treasure box of heavenly baked goods, from fresh breads to fancy tarts, macarons and parfaits. Don’t miss the crave-worthy fondue boule, ready to warm up in the oven until the cheese bubbles over. On the South Coast, Bandon Baking Company in Old Town Bandon has got you covered on all of your favorite wholesome breads and sweet confections, in addition to being a great place for baked-fresh breakfast bagels, French toast and burritos, along with free refills on coffee all day long — even if you leave and stop back in.
Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge
Located in an old Victorian house that the owners believe to be haunted, SweetHeart Bake Shop in The Dalles is a family-run shop that cranks out some of the most lovely pies, pastries and cupcakes you’ll find anywhere. Look for their high tea and storytime events throughout the year. With its giant maple bars, red-and-white-checkered facade and long lines snaking out of the door, Joe’s Donuts in Sandy is an iconic pit stop on the way to Mt. Hood for good reason. The parking lot may be crowded at peak times, but it’s always worth the wait.
The selection of fresh-baked sticky buns, hand pies, quiches and brioche at Sweet Wife Baking in Baker City is so overwhelming, you may just have to come back the next day. This retired WNBA star turned baker keeps locals and visitors alike happy with not just baked goods but a full-service cafe, so you can linger over an espresso, grilled cheese and salted-caramel brownie all at once. If you’re a sucker for a great loaf of bread, Kneads Bakery in La Grande has got what you need: challah, cinnamon bread, whole wheat and lots more. You can’t miss the aromas drifting down the block, and you can even watch the bakers rolling dough as you drool over the menu.
Is it possible to source all ingredients from within a 100-mile radius? The 100 Mile Bakery (part of the South Willamette Valley Food Trail) in Springfield does just that, maintaining relationships with local farms and mills, producers, distributors, and transporters to ensure that their ingredients are produced and processed as close to home as possible. Miranda’s Bakery in Woodburn is a favorite Mexican bakery in the region, with everything from cocadas (coconut candies) and other authentic confections to colorful, fresh-fruit-topped cakes. Eight miles south of Eugene, Creswell Bakery is a must-stop for a sweet or savory treat: Their savory handheld meat pies are filled with organic, grass-fed beef from their family farm just down the road.
Skiers, hikers and other visitors to Central Oregon rely on the wildly popular treats at The Sparrow Bakery in Bend and Sisters Bakery in Sisters as part of their outside (or inside) adventure routine. At Sparrow, croissant sandwiches are a good choice any time of day. In Sisters, long lines of families pore over the case filled with assorted doughnuts, muffins, scones and buttermilk bars. It’s a great spot for coffee and a sugar fix before hopping onto the highway.
A downtown mainstay of 15-plus years, The Village Baker of Ashland keeps visitors happy with an endless selection of sourdough and other loaves, plus additional baked goods. The bakery also donates fresh and day-old loaves to local organizations to help feed those in need. The Happy Donut, just off Interstate-5 in Myrtle Creek with a convenient drive-through, keeps road-trippers sugared up with classic doughnuts and fritters plus coffee, biscuits and gravy, baked sausage rolls, and other fresh-baked goods. The shop was ranked as one of the 100 Best Fan-Favorite Destinations in Oregon for 2019 and is part of the Great Umpqua Food Trail — a self-guided road map to top places for food, drink, farm-based experiences and farm-inspired places to stay in Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley.