Oregon's North Coast Food Trail
From Astoria to Neskowin, a delicious trip for foodies
It used to be that to get a great seafood dinner, or even a locally crafted beer, you had to go to Portland or Seattle. That’s because the Oregon Coast, home to the most delicious seafood, shipped its commercial catch to the biggest markets. Makes sense, as that’s where they could make the best revenue. And beer? Well, most beer was brewed in cities, and many are now gone, unfortunately.
A lot has changed, fortunately, for both locals and visitors. Chefs, bakers, and brewers were the first to realize the bounty of the north Oregon Coast, opening restaurants and cafés that served local foods and used local ingredients and creating craft beers with local flavors and waters. Small farms and ranches began to grow, too, many operated by younger people leaving the city to live and work the rural life. Nonprofits soon grew to support these new food entrepreneurs.
By the mid-1990 and 2000s, a groundswell of food businesses had opened all along the north coast. Visitors began noticing too. With the onset of social media, word got out beyond word of mouth among family and friends. That gave birth to the North Coast Food Trail.
In the winter of 2017, Cannon Beach, Lincoln City, and Tillamook County food and beverage businesses, tourism organizations, and nonprofits took part in a two-day Travel Oregon Rural Tourism Studio focused on culinary and agritourism development. Out of that session came the idea for a North Coast Food Trail, which in early 2018 was launched with 60 initial members. After two years, Lincoln City became part of a new Central Coast Food Trail, while Seaside, and now Astoria, joined the north trail. Now there are more than 100 miles of delicious seafood, meats, beers, wine, farms, farmer's markets, and food experiences in which to eat, sip, forage, and celebrate.
Enough of the history! Where should you indulge your tastebuds? In Cannon Beach, a foodie world awaits. Start the morning at Sea Level Bakery and Coffee, with baked goods, breads and espresso bar. Lunch at Ecola Seafoods, a café owned by a commercial fishing family, so fresh catch is a specialty. After a stroll on the beach, check into the Stephanie Inn, one of the best oceanfront lodging properties in town. Head out for a beer at Public Coast Brewing, then walk to dinner at MacGregor’s Whiskey Bar and Restaurant, or the Wayfarer. And don’t leave town without stopping by for a cooking lesson at EVOO Cooking School taught by Chef Bob Neroni. And if you’re in Cannon Beach on a Tuesday, in the summer, stock up on local produce to take home at the Cannon Beach Farmers Market.
Cannon Beach also hosts the annual North Coast Culinary Fest, a celebration of Oregon’s most famous chef, James Beard. It usually happens in spring, but because of COVID, the festival has been rescheduled for March 2022. Check out the North Coast Culinary Fest page for the schedule.