Eugene Marathon: A Guide to Eating and Drinking in Eugene

eugene_marathon Coming to Eugene for the 10th annual Eugene Marathon weekend of events? You’re coming to a great place! First and Foremost, registration fees INCREASE TOMORROW 3/15 (!) so register now! Eugene has an immense amount of great food, incredible beer and exceptional wine. We may be known for running … but we got a lot more going for us, too! Let me take you on a tour! Let’s start with food, then get to the “really good stuff!” The area surrounding Eugene contains a plethora of farms practicing sustainable farming. This means we have a bounty of organic foods, grass fed meats, and foods produced right here in our own backyards. Many restaurants grow their own herbs, spices and vegetables on-site. Eugene also caters to individuals with strict dietary preferences. Here are some places to eat in Eugene that encompass what our area has to offer, and have some unique Eugene flair!

Marche: Located about a mile from the University of Oregon, Marche is located at the 5th Street Public Market in downtown. “We support local farmers, ranchers and foragers and are dedicated to using organic, chemical free and genetically unaltered products whenever possible.” I really can’t sum it up better than that … The food is great and checking out 5th Street Public Market is a joy.

Cornbread Cafe: Still fairly close to the University, Cornbread Cafe is a “hole in the wall” eatery catering serving “Vegan comfort food”.  Starting out as a food cart, the demand and popularity grew to great lengths, and a brick-and-mortar location was established. “About 90% of our menu items are organic and made in house. We source as many local ingredients as possible, and have a strict policy against using genetically engineered ingredients. We strive to create as little waste as possible. Our food scraps go to local gardener, as well as our used oil. It is our mission to continue to reduce our carbon footprint as we are able.” This really is what Eugene is all about.

Mame: A quaint sushi bar located on Blair Avenue (by some of the great breweries!), Mame has a stellar reputation for being the best sushi place in Eugene. 

Beppe and Gianni’s Trattoria: Located in the heart of the University of Oregon area, Beppe and Giannis’ has been voted “Eugene’s Best Italian” restaurant over, and over, and over again. Located in a beautiful old house, the menu caters to those enjoy fresh, traditional Italian cuisine. 

Morning Glory Cafe: “Eugene’s oldest continually vegetarian and vegan restaurant.” Morning Glory creates all of their dishes from scratch, and uses “… only pure & whole ingredients & use organic products whenever possible. We support our bountiful foodshed by featuring local & regional products.” There is always a line at Morning Glory Cafe, but it’s worth the wait!

Oregon Electric Station: A historic train station, Oregon Electric Station has recently been remodeled and has an incredible chef, Chef David, who came over from King Estate Winery. “Needless to say, he’s a culinary artist, creating the ideal fare crafted from local ingredients for every visitor of Oregon Electric Station. Order anything off our menu and you’ll quickly see why Chef Michael has a stack of awards and a teaching instructor position at California School of Culinary Art.”

La Perla: Who wants pizza? Yeah, I do. Every day. The owners of Beppe and Gianni’s opened La Perla Pizzeria to bring true Neapolitan Pizza to Eugene. “… La Perla is Verace Pizza Napoletana-certified which means every aspect of production – from the design and temperature of the wood-burning oven to the toppings and the ingredients of the crust – is authentic.”

cinco de mayo race runner-wearing-sombrero-and-holding-beerEnough of the food – let’s get to the beer! Although I am not a beer drinker, I am surrounded by people who are. Well, like everyone in Eugene, besides me, I think. Rumor has it that Eugene is effectively competing with Bend, Oregon for number of breweries per capita. When in Eugene, I would strongly suggest checking out the following to get your brew (and food!) on! The first three are all in the “Whitaker” district, which is a ‘Eugene-centric’ neighborhood that tells a Eugene story!

Hop Valley Brewing Company: Located in Eugene’s beer-centric neighborhood, Hop Valley is my favorite place to go, as you can eat and get “your wine on”, too. “Not too long after we opened our brewery in Springfield, we realized we were gonna need a bigger boat.  We found it on First Street in Eugene.  There a building built in 1950, has been brought back to life as Hop Valley’s new brew house and tasting room. While completely state-of-the-art, our facility also honors our past, offering many signs of our commitment to sustainable construction and business practices. For example, virtually every piece of an old barn (circa 1890), generously donated by Silver Tail Farms, was used in our tasting room and patio area.  All of the furniture was hand made from repurposed local fir and steel. Back where the magic happens, every component of our brew house was handpicked to ensure the most efficient use of energy and the safest environment for our people.”

Plank Town Brewing Company: A lovely restaurant in the beautifully restored Oddfellows building in downtown Springfield (very close to the University), in addition to a brewery, you’ll find Plank Town’s beer list fits a variety of styles. “Making good beer is not that hard. Making great beer ~ now that takes some serious craftsmanship and artistry. We were thrilled to be honored with  first place in the Bier Stein’s Civil War Beer Tasting for our Riptooth IPA!”

Ninkasi: Get in on a Ninkasi Brewing tour! In addition to tastings, Ninkasi features rotating local food cart‘s on site. This was the first “real” craft brewing company I came to know in Eugene. “Both founders knew they wanted to do things differently—within the beer industry and in the local community. In a time when the industry landscape was home to male-centric brands, Nikos and Jamie strived for a company that represented what beer meant to them—a source of community and the root of human existence. And so, Ninkasi—the Sumerian goddess of fermentation—was selected as the name. Throughout human history, beer not only was a catalyst for written language and organized education, but was also the center of community and culture, one never in operation without the other—a driving force behind the new brewery. In a quest to find property that could cultivate community spirit, the two purchased real estate in Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood and moved the brewery to its current location in 2007.”

Oakshire: Beer is our world. “Begun in October 2006 by brothers Jeff and Chris Althouse, Oakshire Brewing is a 15-barrel production brewery in Eugene, Oregon dedicated to making fine craft beer.  What began as a home-brewing hobby and a love of beer has turned into award-winning beer on draft and in bottles throughout the Pacific Northwest.” The public house, with daily food carts and tasting, is located very close to Ninkasi and Hop Valley.

Agrarian Ales Brewing Company: The Farm and Brewery! “Crossroads Farm started in 1985 as an organic vegetable farm. As Ma and Pa Tilley diligently brought their bounty into town to sell at farmers markets each Saturday, demand for their wonderful produce grew, as did their acreage under production. Farming food for their community was and continues to be the motivating force behind their persistence. 8 years ago, when the boys moved back home to continue farming the family land, it became apparent that growing food and drink was something that should be done. Hops and a variety of brewing herbs were planted to supply the upcoming farmhouse brewery and start the process of the passing the farm to the next generation. Today, Agrarian Ales is producing world-class ales from hops and herbs grown on-site, as well as grains and other ingredients direct from our neighboring farmers. As Crossroads and Agrarian continue to flourish, the farm will expand to grow and process all grains and herbs on-site to create the only true estate brewery in the state, maybe the country.”

Falling Sky Brewing House (and Falling Sky Pour House and Delicatessen): Eat and drink to your hearts desire at either Falling Sky Brewing location. “We are a collaboration of makers.  Beer & science guy Jason owned a home brew shop.  Brewers Scott & Michael were the managers.  They met restaurant guy Rob who was looking to open a local spot.  We all came together to LET IT POUR as Falling Sky Brewing in January 2012.  We opened the Pour House Delicatessen in July 2013. The outpouring has been amazing!”

The Bier Stein Bottleshop and Pub: A literal wall full of beers are located here at the Bier Stein! “The Bier Stein is a connoisseur beer store located in Eugene, OR. Since opening in July of 2005, the business has recently moved into a new, beer hall-style location. We host over 30 evolving taps, 1,000 different bottles of beer from around the world, and have a menu of excellent sandwiches, soups, and fresh salads. We strive to create a space where friends and fellow beer enthusiasts can gather and enjoy the widest selection of beer in Oregon under one roof. Our goal is to be the best craft beer bar on the West Coast.”

Who has been waiting for the best – Wine!? Now this is a passion of mine besides running; I love to savor and enjoy wine. And food. I really love food, too. These four wineries are all within a short drive from each other, so you could definitely make it to all four, and finish at King Estate for dinner.

Noble Estate: The tasting room is open daily from 12-noon to 5 p.m. “Since 2010 Noble Estate’s vineyards have been LIVE certified sustainable and Salmon SafeLIVE has a rigorous certification process which recognizes sustainable wine growing practices in the Pacific Northwest. Noble Estate is passionate about growing grapes in a way that ensures the terroir and local ecosystems are protected for the future. This includes protecting our local watersheds.” My go-to Noble Estate choice is the Sauvignon Blanc or Petite Sirah.

Silvan Ridge: I have a wine club membership here, and really enjoy the laid-back feel. Tasting is available daily from

Photo Credit: peakperspective

Photo Credit: peakperspective

12-noon to 5 p.m. My favorite here is the Malbec and Pinot Gris. “Silvan Ridge Winery was founded in the southern Willamette Valley near Eugene, Oregon in 1979, a time when only a handful of true believers foresaw the incredible potential of Oregon as a world-class wine region. Today our winemaking team is committed to crafting highly individualistic wines that express the nuance, grace, character and complexity the Willamette Valley is known for.”

Sweet Cheeks: Literally across the street from Silvan Ridge… you can walk the hill if you want, or run it. Twilight tastings occur Friday’s from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and open daily from 12-noon to 6 p.m. My favorite Sweet Cheeks wine is the 2011 Syrah. “With a focus on traditional Oregon varietals, Sweet Cheeks Winery & Vineyard offers award-winning Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay.  Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot and Rosy Cheeks are a few from an expanded selection that showcases our region’s growing capabilities. We have endeavored to ensure that Sweet Cheeks Winery is fully equipped with the latest state of the art technology enabling the quality of the estate grown and vineyard select grapes to be fully preserved during the wine making process. By using mostly French oak barriques (60 gallons) and stainless steel we produce wines of exceptional balance and length.  Truly varietal in their nature, our wines offer the rare opportunity to enjoy handmade wines that stand alone in outstanding quality.

King Estate: Definitely finish your Eugene wine country tour at King Estate, where you will find very fancy wine and fancy food, at least to me! This is the place to come to celebrate life (or running in the Eugene Marathon)! The tasting room is open daily, with hours being from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, then 11 a.m.  to 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Tours of the winery run daily from 1 pm. to 4 p.m. “King Estate is a unique property dedicated to sustainability and pairing Northwest wines with regionally sourced food. Our on-site culinary team uses food grown in our own garden whenever possible.” Everything to eat is good here, and all the wine is delish!

I hope you enjoy your trip to Eugene for the Eugene Marathon series of events! If you have questions, please let me know! I do read your comments!

 

 

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