Brookings has a profusion of family-friendly, though somewhat mediocre, restaurants that serve large portions at a good value—this is not a fine-dining capital. For slightly more distinctive fare than the usual fast food and family-dining joints, check out the following places.
Ask a local where to eat breakfast, and invariably you’ll hear the name of Mattie’s Pancake House (15975 U.S. 101 S., 541/469-7311, 6 a.m.–1:45 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $7–12), a family-friendly operation that serves good pancakes, omelets, and biscuits and gravy. Lunch is burgers and sandwiches.
For lighter fare for those heading out to explore, try The Tea Room (434 Redwood St. No. 4, 541/469-7240, 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) for sandwiches, soups, salads, and baked goods; fill your to-go mugs with a nice cuppa the hot stuff. This place is worth seeing just for its humongous collection of teapots.
Steaks and Seafood
In Harbor, Chetco Seafood (16182 Lower Harbor Rd., 541/469-9251, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat.) is the best place in town to buy fish, either to cook yourself or to eat on-site. It’s owned by anglers, and you’ll always find the freshest stuff. The fish-and-chips in beer batter are as good as any on the coast.
A coastal town is certainly a safe place to eat sushi. In Brookings, find it at Cafe Kitanishi (632 Hemlock St., 541/469-7864, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Tues.–Wed., 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Thurs.–Fri., 5–9 p.m. Sat.), which also serves bento boxes to go and has an espresso bar with Internet access.
One of the few restaurants in the port area is Smuggler’s Cove (16011 Boat Basin Rd., 541/469-6006, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $12–28), with steaks, pasta, and seafood. Tuesday–Saturday evenings, there’s live music in the lounge. Ironically, given the marine setting, steaks are the best bet, though the house-specialty salmon, with lots of garlic, is also good.
Suzie Q’s Bistro (613 Chetco Ave., 541/412-7444, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Tues, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Wed.–Fri., 8 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Sat.–Sun., $19–32) is a bit difficult to characterize. In the morning, it’s mostly a bakery with delicious pastries, artisanal bread, and good breakfasts. At lunchtime, you can get great handmade sandwiches and soup. Then at night, Suzie Q’s changes over to a continental-style bistro, with a broad selection of pasta, steaks, seafood, and chicken cooked with Mediterranean verve.
At the north end of town, La Flor de Mexico (541 Chetco Ave., 541/469-4102, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, $8–14) has a lunchtime buffet and good Mexican dinners.
Wild River Pizza (16279 U.S. 101, Harbor, 541/469-7454, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, medium pizza $14–18) is part of the Wild River Brewing family, with pizza-brewpubs in Cave Junction and Grants Pass. The crispy crust pizza is the best you’ll find in the area. While the food is good and inexpensive, this large restaurant tends to fill up with families enjoying the video games and pool tables on weekends. In other words, go elsewhere for an intimate Saturday night dinner. Look for it on the east side of the highway about a mile south of the Brookings-Harbor Bridge at the four-way stoplight.
For traditional Italian cuisine, go to Bella Italia (1025 Chetco Ave., 541/469-6647, 4 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, $9–19) with homemade sauces, pasta, and sausages. The pizza is also good.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel