Because of the town’s compact size, it’s easy to find a place to eat in Winthrop; just walk the two-block downtown to see what looks good. For casual dining in a cluttered and funky atmosphere, downtown’s Duck Brand Hotel & Cantina (248 Riverside Ave., 509/996-2192, daily 7 a.m.–9 p.m.) serves outstanding, artfully presented, and moderately priced Mexican and American food. There’s an outside deck for sunny days. Breakfasts are a real treat: huge piles of potatoes come with the meals, and monstrous cinnamon rolls sit temptingly on the bakery counter.
One of the most popular places on a summer afternoon is Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe (at the downtown corner, 509/996-3834, summer daily 7:30 a.m.–9 p.m., year-round 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.) with homemade ice cream, chocolates, and caramels. Don’t leave town without trying the Moosetracks ice cream—it contains house-made chocolate-peanut butter candies that taste heavenly after a long hike.
Housed in the Emporium Building, Boulder Creek Deli (509/996-3990, Thurs.–Tues. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., closed Wed.) makes very good sandwiches and salads for lunch.
Get a breakfast omelette or lunchtime slice of pizza to go from Grubstake & Co. (509/996-2375, Tues.–Sun. 8 a.m.–3:30 p.m., closed Mon.); there’s espresso here, too.
The small Old School House Brewery Company (155 Riverside, 509/996-3183, www.oldschoolhousebrewery.com, Sun.–Thurs. noon–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. noon–11 p.m., call for extended summer hours) serves up some of the best burgers in the valley and features dishes with a distinctive beer sauce simmered on-site. Enjoy burgers and brew on the riverside deck and beer garden.
For pizza, snacks, sandwiches, and ribs, mosey over to Three-Fingered Jack’s Saloon (176 Riverside Ave., 509/996-2411, Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.), also downtown. This is a favorite among big groups.
Epicureans will want to hightail it to the Sun Mountain Dining Room (in Sun Mountain Resort, 509/996-2211 or 800/572-0493) just as the sun goes down. This is the best restaurant in the valley, with spectacular views and a superb menu that leans toward Northwest cuisine. Try the award-winning smoked duckling in plum sauce. Definitely make reservations for dinner here.
Mazama Store (50 Lost River Rd., Mazama, 509/996-2855, daily 7 a.m.–6 p.m.) is another very good place for lunch and pretty much the only gig in that little hamlet, serving sandwiches, salads, pastas, and espresso.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition