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Chow! EW's quarterly restaurant guide

April 7, 2016 03:00 AM

Tradewinds Café & Catering Company co-owner Abbie Shadrick is on a mission to provide tasty, nutritious, Middle Eastern-inspired food on what used to be the site of a quiet, empty church at 4th and A Street in downtown Springfield. 

“We’re part of the restaurant incubator program here at Sprout!,” Shadrick says, gesturing around the welcoming space where diners are feasting on Tradewinds’ signature dishes, along with fare from neighboring restaurants, all housed in a cheerful, open dining room with high steel tables and plenty of light. 

April 7, 2016 03:00 AM

Padma Prakash worked as a prep cook at the Oregon Electric Station for more than three decades, she says. It was a hard pill to swallow when management changed in 2014 and slashed her pay.

Unsure what else to do, Padma Prakash— with help from her youngest son, Jayant Prakash — opened Crazy Curry, the bright yellow Indo-Fijian food cart on the lonely corner of River Road & Thomas Lane.

April 7, 2016 03:00 AM

For more than 60 years, the University of Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union has anchored campus, serving as a study hall, food court, meeting place and event space for generations of students. The building was constructed in three phases between 1950 and 1973, and although parts of it are architecturally valuable and are being preserved, the building overall no longer seemed suitable for today’s students. 

April 7, 2016 03:00 AM

Provisions Market Hall, located within the 5th Street Public Market, offers a nearby option for downtown Eugeneans to shop for meals, where once there were limited grocery store options, says Karl Zenk, executive chef for Provisions. 

“I used to live on 2nd and Pearl, just up the street, and this area was a real food desert,” Zenk says. “So this is really a great resource for all the people who live around here.”

April 7, 2016 03:00 AM

What do you call a giant sushi roll? A sushi burrito, of course.

“It really just made itself,” says Toby Helms, owner of Unami Sushi and Asian Grill in Springfield. “ It doesn’t have a tortilla or anything like that — it’s just a large roll, with our sushi ingredients.”

April 7, 2016 03:00 AM

Once unheard of, boba tea, or bubble tea, features chewy tapioca, or “boba” balls that patrons slurp down with a wide straw, along with a milky iced tea. 

“It started in Taiwan in the 1980s,” says D.I.Y. Tea & Beyond owner Richard Zheng. “Now it’s all over the world.” 

January 28, 2016 01:00 AM

Ask around the area of Eugene near the UO campus: “Where can I get a good burrito?” 

Odds are, the answer will be spoken in reverential tones of cult-like devotion: “Chachi’s.”

January 28, 2016 01:00 AM

Chef Josh Welton’s hairy right forearm has a big tattoo of fried eggs and a side of bacon. 

“I really love breakfast. I’m not kidding,” he laughs, patting flour off his black chef coat. 

January 28, 2016 01:00 AM

There’s nothing else quite like Kun Fusion Grill in Eugene, and that’s the point, says owner Shawn Werner. 

Take Kun Fusion’s rice bowl, for example, resplendent with savory chicken, crunchy veggies and mounds of rice topped with a fried egg. It’s fusion food at its very best, combining Korean and Mexican cuisines to delicious effect. 

January 28, 2016 01:00 AM

Thirty years ago, Abdul-Waheed Wahed was sitting in the Frankfurt airport, waiting for his flight from Germany to Eugene. Wahed, a Kabul native who’d earlier fled the Soviet conflict in Afghanistan, had some time to kill. So, perched at the airport bar in 1986, he had a few drinks. A woman he knew sat down beside him. They shared a whiskey, then a few more. Wahed missed his flight.

January 28, 2016 01:00 AM

Settling in with a bowl of gooey macaroni and cheese is pretty much the culinary equivalent of a hug, and it’s not just for kids: It’s popping up on adult menus everywhere. The dish is simple, comforting, nostalgic and oh so American. And it’s versatile — anything can be a topping! 

January 28, 2016 01:00 AM

According to Jorge Navarro, everyone should go to New Orleans at least once. He traveled to the Louisiana hot spot when he turned 40, and soon after, started Café Navarro, which served New Orleans-inspired dishes in Eugene until 2001.

“I consider New Orleans-style food to be the real American culinary tradition,” Navarro says, explaining how the city’s famed Creole cuisine incorporates European, African, Native American and other influences, turning them into something new.  

January 28, 2016 01:00 AM

EW often writes about the new and shiny. Readers and writers alike take interest in stories describing the latest food trends or the most recent restaurants to hit town. 

But sometimes, there’s value in taking a look back at the restaurants that have stood the test of time. The restaurant business has a high rate of turnover, and a trendy new place might close a month after it opens.

August 27, 2015 01:00 AM

Tiny Tavern is dead. Long live Tiny Tavern.

With the protracted death rattle and final expiring sigh of the Whiteaker’s seediest bar now just another piece of Eugene folk history, the question “what will become of Tiny’s?” has at last been answered: It will be a restaurant, of course.

August 27, 2015 01:00 AM

Bubble tea is the coffee of Taiwan. That’s why Shuang Han and Crystal Zhao, owners of The Rabbit Hole Tea Bar, decided to open shop last year and bring the authentic Taiwanese bubble tea experience, as well as other kinds of tea, to Eugene. Real bubble tea is a rarity in the U.S., they say.

August 27, 2015 01:00 AM

Hands wrist-deep in masa harina, Mayra Medina thinks back to when she was little and her mother worked in a cramped kitchen behind a tiny eatery in Morelia, the city in central Mexico where Medina grew up. The modest comedor was so small it didn’t even warrant a name. Though the place was a lonely hole in the wall, Medina’s mother cooked with the same ardor she applied to preparing meals for her family at home. 

August 27, 2015 01:00 AM

Walking through the dense, cherry-wood front door of The Pint Pot Public House, you’re greeted by many things: the sound of bagpipes, the smell of hearty spices, snug armchairs in dimly lit corners, stacks of board games and smiles from welcoming strangers. 

August 27, 2015 01:00 AM

Living in Lane County can be a charming mix of city culture and country life. For example, a short drive west from the city of Eugene is Our Daily Bread Restaurant in Veneta. Located in a renovated ’40s-era church, Our Daily Bread is a full-service restaurant offering home-style comfort with a fine dining twist. 

August 27, 2015 01:00 AM

When Aaron and Mariah Kastrava acquired The Divine Cupcake in early May, they were ready for a challenge. Previously, the married couple had planned to open a coffee house, but when an opportunity for something sweeter arrived, they went all in. 

August 27, 2015 01:00 AM

Cori Haines-Tutrone and her family took a leap of faith when they decided to switch their business from coffee to waffles and ice cream. For years, she ran Aroma Café out of the Gateway Mall, but after the mall underwent remodeling, Haines-Tutrone and her family chose to move on to creamier, more waffle-y pastures — in this case, a food truck called I Scream for Waffles.

June 18, 2015 01:00 AM

Last year, Food Network star Guy Fieri brought his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives to Eugene. In the episode, Fieri stopped by popular Whiteaker food truck The Sandwich League.  

“I couldn’t have asked for a better advertisement,” Sandwich League owner Dawn Sellers says. “It’s been amazing.” 

June 18, 2015 01:00 AM

Alex Moon has worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years, but it only recently occurred to her that she could open up her own place. “It’s a relatively new idea for me,” she says.

Moon, who currently works at Belly Taqueria, launched a Kickstarter in February to raise funds to open Sundial Café and Bakery. The gluten-free, vegetarian breakfast and lunch spot doesn’t have a home location yet, but it does have $12,000 of Kickstarter-raised money to back it up. Moon hopes to open sometime between July and October, depending on when she finds a space to set up shop.

June 18, 2015 01:00 AM

On a drizzly May morning, Membrillo Latin Cafe offers a warm departure to sunnier climes. Notes of simmering black beans and caramelizing onions fill the air as music wafts from the compact kitchen. 

“This is my home,” says chef and co-owner Corey Wisun. “And when others come into my home, this is how I want to treat them.” 

Since bursting on the Eugene foodie scene in May 2014, Membrillo has gained an ardent following for its fresh, locally sourced Cuban, Spanish and South American flavors. 

June 18, 2015 01:00 AM

“Food is my heart and soul,” says Coalesce Juicery & Whole Foods Kitchen’s chef and owner Karina Wolford. “It’s what makes me happy.” 

Wolford, who opened her food truck in April, promotes healthy eating as one way to combat serious health issues, including her own bout with multiple sclerosis.