Tucked into the trees at the edge of Highway 126 along the McKenzie River is a vintage storefront. Don’t let the quaint exterior deceive you. Out back, there’s a party going on.
Home to an eclectic market, local brews and a fantastic chef, the Obsidian Grill at the McKenzie General store is the destination eatery to check out this summer. Mingle with locals, mountain bikers, climbers, hikers, fisher-folk and rafters as they grab coffee and a snack on their way out to adventure, or catch a beer and schnitzel on the way home.
I caught up with co-owners Brooke Kyle, Chris Kyle and Georg Adelt to get the backstory on this new venture.
“It was the love of the river that brought us together,” Chris Kyle says, explaining how three couples met through Adelt’s river guide course at High Country Expeditions. A lot of rafting and several delicious meals later, the Kyles, Georg and Jessica Adelt, and Harry and Cindy Kleiner came together to launch the Obsidian Grill at the McKenzie General Store.
“We wanted a place for families, where you could get some great food, have a glass of wine,” Brooke Kyle says. Between the three couples there are nine children running about. To that end, the Obsidian Grill is very family friendly.
From the fenced-in sitting area, “so your toddler can run around,” to soft-baked pretzels on the menu, this is an easy place to bring kids. Dogs and bikes are welcome, too. “It’s a great place to hang out after a day’s adventures,” Adelt says, “and plan the next one.”
With owners haling from Louisiana, Texas and Germany, the menu is varied and filled with family recipes.
“When I was dating Chris,” Brooke Kyle says, “I wanted to snag him. So I found the very best Caesar salad dressing recipe and made it for him.”
This tactic worked, as the couple is still together some 20 years later. You can try this recipe, along with Kyle’s New Orleans muffaletta, Texas BBQ sauce with marionberries, and authentic German bratwurst. The food is locally-sourced and organic whenever possible.
“We’re just really proud of everything that’s on the menu,” Adelt says. “We want to stay focused on the quality of the food. Good food, and good atmosphere.”
The shelves of the market are filled with lux staples: locally crafted granola, chocolates, artisan meats and cheeses, vegetables from nearby farms, hand-selected beer and wine. “The wine selection is a work in progress,” Chris Kyle says, noting that the selection has “a Northwest bias, with great wines at all price points.”
With live entertainment, movie nights and long summer evenings coming up, the patio at the McKenzie General store is the perfect place to kick back after a long day.
All the owners are busy professionals with children, who value good food and friends in the company of their families. As Brooke Kyle says, “Sitting in the courtyard as the sun sets over the mountains, listening to live music — it’s just heaven.”
McKenzie General Store is located just off Hwy 126 at 91837 Taylor Road. Open Sunday – Thursday 7 am – 9pm, and Friday and Saturday 7 am – 10 pm.