Best Of Food stories

Jacquie Gamelgaard Orange Media Network
Located on Monroe Avenue, the Thai Chili offers a variety of authentic dishes and spices. Thai Chili won first place in the thai food section. 

The Baro Staff

1st Place Pizza

American Dream Pizza combines flavor, family since 1989

By Joe Wolf, News Contributor

Monroe Ave. is known for its selection of restaurants, bars, cafes and music venues. A mainstay since 1989, American Dream Pizza on Monroe has provided pizza, beer and salads for generations of Oregon State University students.

For owner and co-founder Scott McFarland, the pizza business runs in the family.

“My grandfather started the first pizzeria in Portland in 1949 called Caro Amico,” McFarland said.

According to McFarland, he got his start at Caro Amico, where he began as a dishwasher and worked his way up. From there, he went to OSU for a degree in business, graduating in 1982 before moving back to Portland. It was here that he and a business partner opened the first-ever American Dream in 1985, which expanded to Corvallis four years later.

“Knock on wood it’s still successful, still jamming,” McFarland said. “We’re very proud to be local and independent and part of the Corvallis community. Our philosophy is to make good pizza, take care of our customers and make it fun.”

Community is an important part of McFarland’s business philosophy, in more than just his staff’s interactions with customers, according to McFarland.

“We’ve always strived to create a good work environment. We’re very respectful to each other, we can have fun and work hard—they’re not mutually exclusive,” McFarland said.

Along with the culture McFarland and his staff have built, their proximity to campus and hours (open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and until midnight Thursday through Saturday) have been instrumental in their success.

“We really like being part of the university and the energy it brings, the young folks, the grad students and the professors,” McFarland said. “We look forward to continuing to be a part of the OSU mix.”

 

5th Place Sandwich

Einstein Bros. Bagels offers variety of fresh bagels

By Jaya Black-Lazo, News Contributor

In the shop, customers can be seen walking in from Starbucks after buying coffee to dunk their bagels in, chalk signs display the specials of the day and a young boy and girl eat their bagels by the window with their father.

With a full rack of bagels on display, two small children asked for extra cream cheese from the employee behind the counter in Einstein Bros. Bagels. Located on 425 SW Madison Avenue B, Corvallis, next to Starbucks coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels is close to Oregon State University campus.

This location is a good one for the shop because it attracts college customers, according to Kylie Jonyer, shift leader manager. She also says the proximity to campus makes Einstein Bros. Bagels well liked by OSU students.

“I think it helps that we’re close to campus; the college kids really like it,” Joyner said.

According to Joyner, the bagel shop has gained more popularity in Corvallis because of how many different types of bagels they sell. The options cater to those who have food allergies or individuals who are vegan.

“We have a very big selection of bagels which I think people like. Also, we don’t have anything, any dairy, in our bagels, so that’s good for the vegan community,” Joyner said.

The bagel shop is open weekdays from 6 a.m.- 4 p.m. and on weekends from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to Joyner, another good thing about the bagels is that they are fresh.

“We bake our bagels fresh every day,” Joyner said.

 

1st Place Munchies

Take out style comfort food

By Tiffani Smith, News Contributor

Home of the $2 burger, the Beaver Hut functions as a takeout-style restaurant for college students and Corvallis community members alike. With a wide variety of comfort foods, beer on tap and even ice cream, the Beaver Hut has something to satisfy anyone’s case of the munchies.

The Beaver Hut opened its doors two summers ago at the end of the Oregon State University spring 2015 term. In efforts to attract more customers and give people a reason to check out the restaurant, the Beaver Hut started up $2 Tuesdays which featured various menu items for $2, according to Paul Pinion, owner of the Beaver Hut. Due to the high popularity of the $2 burger, the Beaver Hut permanently placed it on the menu, making them the official home of the $2 burger.

The Beaver Hut menu consists of various different food options, including the very popular fried macaroni balls, according to Pinion.

“We actually kind of have a cult following for the deep fried macaroni balls,” Pinion said. “For whatever reason, those just fly out of there.”

On top of offering a wide range of food, the Beaver Hut also has beer on tap and is a growler fill-up station. Folks can also grab a pint or a pitcher to enjoy at the Beaver Hut, according to Pinion.

Although the majority of customers are college students, the Beaver Hut gets all demographics of customers.

“It’s been nice to see a variety of people,” Pinion said. “We’ve got people that live in the neighborhood, we’ve got high-school kids coming from the high schools, we’ve got city workers coming in, we’ve got people that work at Oregon State; we want to be here for everybody. Although we really appreciate the college students and they are the bulk of our business, we want everybody to come by and check us out.”

The Beaver Hut is open Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 8 to 2 a.m. and Saturday 9 to 2 a.m. The restaurant is located at 1603 NW Monroe Ave.

3rd Place Desserts

Benny’s Donuts creates a fun, inclusive environment

By Amy Schwartz, News Contributor

Located in downtown Corvallis, at 116 NW 3rd St., Benny’s Donuts has quickly become a favorite to many students at Oregon State University. The shop’s modern look in rustic Corvallis gives off a unique feel that may be what has drawn students to the establishment. With the fresh-made donuts in the heart of the city, students have flocked to the new establishment.

OSU alumnus Benny Augeri founded Benny’s Donuts with a focus on the people of Corvallis.

“With Benny’s Donuts, we really try and stand for happiness and fun. We want to be vibrant, colorful and creative. We pride ourselves on creating a community that is local and inclusive. The sense that people can walk in the shop any time and it’s all walks of life in there. It’s really cool to be a melting pot for the community,” Augeri said.

The company prides themselves on integrity and authenticity. Augeri has a sweet tooth, and decided to start the company after transferring to OSU as a student athlete on the rowing team. When Augeri got to his senior year, he decided he would try something new and open up a donut shop. Benny’s Donuts was born.

The donut with a maple and sea salt topping is the most commonly ordered donut at the shop. All donuts are made fresh in front of customers. Benny’s has gluten free and vegan options, too.

Benny’s Donuts is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1st Place Brewery

Block 15 Brewing Company dedicated to serving patrons, the Corvallis community

By Ercoli Crugnale, News Contributor

For the last nine years, Block 15 Brewing Company has been dedicated to serving Corvallis their signature brews and burgers.

Katy Maxwell, the pub manager, thinks that it’s the service that really makes Block 15 stand out.

“We believe that our guests deserve the very best, and this is reflected in our company’s culture and policies,” Maxwell said. “Everything is designed to give our guests the most exceptional experience.”

Beyond the grub, Maxwell said the restaurant is committed to serving the community. In summer 2016, Block 15 launched ‘The People’s Pint Tap,’ a program that sees them partner with a different local charitable organization each month and donate a portion of sales from a designated beer to their efforts. May’s charity is the Ocean Blue Project, an organization focused on protecting our oceans.

“This community has been wonderfully supportive of us, and we wanted to create a program that allows folks to give back, simply by enjoying a delicious pint,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said that whether you go for the artisan beer, satisfying chow or the friendly service, she’s just happy to be a part of the thriving community of Corvallis.

“We want to the community to know how much we have appreciated the support over the years,” Maxwell said. “Corvallis is truly a special place in which to live and do business, and we are grateful to be a part of this wonderful town.”

Block 15 is located at 300 SW Jefferson Ave., and is open Sundays to Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Fridays to Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

 

1st Place Wings

Wings available for every palate

By Mitch Monge, News Contributor

Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the best-known wing places in Corvallis. In addition to serving traditional and boneless wings, Buffalo goes beyond the wings.

Large televisions displaying various sporting events surround the tables at the restaurants. The atmosphere is another major component. Hostess Ember Robinson has worked there for just about a year, but realizes the focus of the restaurant.

“We serve wings, but that’s just the food,” Robinson said. “Really, it’s about the atmosphere. For every boxing event or game, we try to get everyone hyped up.”

While the atmosphere may draw people in, the wings make them stay. Offering a wide variety of flavors and sauces, wings are available for every palate.  

“Honey barbecue is our most famous one,” Robinson said. “That’s the one everyone gets because it’s not spicy, and it’s really good.”

Buffalo Wild Wings also offers beer on tap, as well as appetizers and other entrees besides wings. However, Robinson still orders wings when she eats there.

“I usually get the traditional wings,” Robinson said. “Then I get chipotle barbecue and honey barbecue dirty, and it’s really good. It’s like a spicy honey barbecue.”

Buffalo opens at 11 a.m. every morning, and stays open until midnight during the week and later on the weekends. The options are endless at Buffalo Wild Wings, which makes it a top wing spot in Corvallis.

 

2nd Place Burger

Cheesy Stuffed Burgers offers seven sides and eight burgers

By Erin Dose, News Contributor

Late-night burger lovers at Oregon State University need to look no further than Cheesy Stuffed Burgers.

The bright-red food truck is located at 1545 NW Monroe Ave., just off campus, and is open from 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

The establishment opened in September 2012, and operates seasonally based on the weather and student population. The food truck can be found up and running during fall and spring terms.

Cheesy Stuffed Burgers also has an Albany location, running seven days per week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Albany location also offers delivery within city limits.

The food truck currently offers seven kinds of sides and eight different kinds of burgers, including a vegetarian and a kids’ option. With these varied fast food choices, including namesake cheese-stuffed burgers and pork spring rolls, Cheesy Stuffed Burgers is one of a kind, according to co-owner Devan Elkins.

“We have a flavor you can’t get anywhere else,” Elkins said. “We have a really unique menu, including lumpia, our pork rolls that I don’t think you can get anywhere in Corvallis.”

In 2015, Cheesy Stuffed Burgers was named Best Burger in Oregon by Business Insider. Elkins believes a large part of Cheesy Stuffed Burgers’ popularity is due to their commitment to OSU students.

“What makes us special is that we’re from Corvallis. We’ve been hand in hand with OSU. We owe success to the students at OSU, coming and showing love to us.”

For more information, visit the Cheesy Stuffed Burgers website or stop by the food truck during business hours.

1st Place Burrito

‘Food served fast doesn’t have to be a typical fast food experience’

By Katie Darke, News Contributor

Need a break from dorm food or looking to grab lunch between classes? The Chipotle Mexican Grill in Corvallis is conveniently located for a quick Mexican food fix right off of campus on NW Monroe Avenue and 25th Street.Open seven days a week, 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 p.m., this fast food restaurant is a popular hit among Corvallis residents and OSU students alike.

According to Joe Saraceno, marketing strategist at Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chipotle strives to bring a unique quality to fast food.

“Chipotle’s mission is to make better food accessible to everyone,” Saraceno said. “Chipotle was founded on the idea that food served fast doesn’t have to be a typical fast food experience.”

Chipotle is a chain restaurant, but provides options for a variety of personal tastes. Burritos, tacos and bowls are customizable with a variety of ingredients and fan favorite add-ons. The menu includes 51 fresh and delicious ingredients, according to Saraceno.

“Everything on our menu is made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in an interactive style allowing people to get exactly what they want,” Saraceno said.

According to Saraceno, the quality of food at Chipotle goes well beyond its tasty and fresh qualities.

“Chipotle seeks out ingredients that are not only fresh, but that are raised responsibly, with respect for the animals, land and people who produce them,” Saraceno said.

2nd Place Donuts

Death by Donutz crafts unique flavors

By Rosie Morehead, News Contributor

Death by Donutz is a recently opened hot spot for Corvallis community members and Oregon State students.

On the corner of Monroe and 14th, the donut shop provides an off-campus option for students looking for a quick bite to eat before school, a nice treat to have while waiting in line for the bar Impulse next door, or a fun dessert with friends.

This donut shop was originally Roxy Dawgs, a hot dog place, but recently became Death by Donutz with a new specialization. However, they still have a window on the side of the building to sell hot dogs from the original Roxy Dawgs store. The rock and roll aesthetic and unique donut flavors are just parts of what makes Death by Donutz unique, according to Death by Donutz employee Reede Fisher.

“It’s my age group usually because we are all students at OSU, so it’s really easy to connect with the students at that level,” Fisher said.

Fisher enjoys the fact that the business is very laid back and it’s easy to talk to the customers because it’s more of a friendship than a customer/employer relationship.

Death by Donutz is open every day, weekdays 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday’s 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday’s 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

2nd Place Cheap Eats

McDonald’s offers low-priced food at two Corvallis locations

By Sarah Berge, News Editor

The original McDonald’s restaurant started in 1940 when brothers Dick and Mac McDonald opened a drive-in service restaurant in San Bernardino, Calif. called McDonald’s Bar-B-Q, according to the McDonald’s website.

Eight years later, the brothers briefly closed the restaurant before opening it again under a new name, McDonald’s, and with a smaller menu. The restaurant chain quickly expanded, opening their 100th restaurant in 1959. McDonald’s now has over 36,000 locations in 100 countries, according to the McDonald’s website.

Corvallis has two McDonald’s locations. One is located at 300 NW 3rd St. and is open 24 hours. The other is located at 2250 NE 9th St. and is open from 6 a.m. to midnight.

College students are a large part of the Corvallis store’s business, according to Lexy Magers, manager of the 9th Street store.

“You see a lot of the college students at night because they have classes in the day,” Magers said.

The menu offers a variety of food categories including breakfast, burgers, chicken and sandwiches, salads, snacks and sides, desserts and drinks of several kinds. Among these categories, they also offer a number of value meals where it is possible to bundle several items together for a low price, according to the McDonald’s website.

According to Magers, these value meal options could be part of the reason college students frequent the McDonald’s locations.

“I think they appreciate the prices more because you can get multiple things for less than $3, and that’s in a college student’s budget,” Magers said.

1st Place Happy Hour

McMenamins connects food, drink, history

By Marilyn Wallenburn, News Contributor

McMenamins is a pub and restaurant that can be found in two different locations in Corvallis—one on Monroe Avenue and one on Third Street. However, these two pubs are part of a larger organization that connects its surrounding community with history, as each location works to preserve its 54 historic locations across the Northwest. These include 10 hotels, 25 breweries and an assortment of other fun destinations including spas, golf courses and movie theaters.

Angie Marsh, a copywriter for the McMenamins Corporation, considers McMenamins a great place for all people.

“We have Wi-Fi, so we welcome people to come stay for however long, we consider ourselves a community gathering place, even though we have many locations. We welcome all ages, and that includes students as well,” Marsh said.

Customers can choose from a wide variety of foods special or unique to that area. Along with that, each location offers happy hour specials that include favorites, like Cajun tots, French fries, Scooby Snacks, or different locational or seasonal items including signature ales, all with lowered prices for the designated happy hour times.

The location on Monroe Avenue also has a large projector for sports events, so it can be a great place to catch an important game while getting a pint. The downtown location has a warm fireplace and a cozier feeling. Both locations offer areas for small groups or large, as seating can be found at the bar itself, booths, or tables for a romantic dinner for two up to 10 or more.

3rd Place Date Restaurant

Dining on a roof-top

By Logan Howell, News Contributor

It’s date night in Corvallis, and there are plenty of great options available, but Sky High Brewing is a top location, both literally and figuratively. With one of only a few rooftop dining settings, the views of downtown Corvallis and the surrounding Willamette Valley are an instant attraction. The four-story rooftop has a bar, covered and open seating and the ever-popular cornhole game. Many consider the beautiful setting above Corvallis a great place to enjoy the large assortment of alcoholic beverages and two-person appetizers.

According to Richard Quintero, the head of marketing for Sky High, several seating options are available to customers.

“We provide multiple views; the rooftop, the deck and indoor seating,” Quintero said.

Their menu is not regular pub dining, with many locally-sourced ingredients and plenty of vegetarian options available.

Sky High also has a wide assortment of beers. With 13 seasonal world-class beers that are brewed in-house, all types of brew connoisseurs can find their perfect beer. The hops, yeast and even the brewing system were all sourced from Oregon.

The unique atmosphere, along with good food and top-quality beers, may be what makes Sky High Brewing such a popular date night location. It is also a great option to consider for group dates and family gatherings.

 

 1st Place Thai

Students experience burning love for Thai Chili

By Jacqui Gamelgaard, News Contributors

If you’re craving Thai food and all of its spicy, bold flavors, you don’t have to look far off of the OSU campus. Across from Kearney Hall, on Monroe Avenue. Thai Chili looks unassuming from the outside. However, the inside is inviting with smells of fresh, enticing spices and oils.

The menu features a blend of authentic Thai dishes, from curries to rice and noodles—all of which can be customized with spice levels ranging from collegiate class ‘Freshman’ as mild, to ‘Graduate’, the spiciest they have. Owner Fonthong ‘Fon’ Chaicharn said the most popular dish amongst his customers is their pad thai, however, Chaicharn’s personal favorite is the Spicy Basil Chicken and he implores anyone who comes in to try it.

“We only make the best quality, just like we make at home,” Chaicharn said.

Thai Chili has made efforts to expand their reach beyond their customers in the restaurant. In December of 2016, Thai Chili distributed frozen meals of khao soi and fried rice to the grocery store Market of Choice. In the next couple of months, they plan to create additional frozen options such as Yellow Curry and Spicy Basil Chicken.

According to Chaicharn, the restaurant is thankful to all of the students who support Thai Chili and he feels lucky to have amazing and polite customers, both new and recurring.

2nd Place Coffee

Tried & True focused on bean and coffee quality

By Logan Howell, News Contributor

Tried & True first opened its small coffee shop in Corvallis in 2014, with the vision of bringing quality coffee and a classy atmosphere for avid connoisseurs and occasional coffee drinkers alike. The downtown location is only a block away from the riverfront, and provides Parisian outdoor seating along with cozy indoor seating.

With many competing coffee shops around Corvallis, Tried & True must find ways to set itself apart. Bean quality is very important to Tried & True, according to owner and co-roaster Collin Schneider.

“We source seasonally, which is really important,” Schneider said. “We get fresh green coffee, which tastes much better.”

They also have transparent sourcing, tracing their beans down to the farmer, and also have a sister-company roast their coffee. This keeps their menu simple, but done right.

Tried & True has opened new doors this year in south town on HWY 99 and across from the Agrestic Green Collective. This unique location is a completely renovated auto-repair garage. The large glass windows and glass rolling doors let in plenty of natural light to show off beautifully and locally made wooden bars, an old radio nestled in decorative ivy, and complimented with a large hand painted mural by an OSU alumni.

Tried & True blends a downtown Portland aesthetic with the spirit of a smaller town, while also blending their seasonally-sourced coffee. By bringing in only fresh coffee beans to be roasted, their blends remain close to harvest and provide the top-quality brew that regulars expect and first-timers anticipate.

 

2nd Place Bakery

Le Patissier offers French pastries made from scratch

By Valerie Maule

Ham and Cheese Croissants, Almond Creme pastries and Danish treats are some of the many French baked goods that can be expected to be found at the French Pastry Shop, Le Patissier, in Corvallis.  

The owners of Le Patissier, Trinidad Tholognat and her husband, Didier Tholognat, originally had worked in California before making the decision to pack bags and make the trip up north to here, downtown Corvallis. Trinidad said that they were interested in making a small business because she found that in California the businesses can be very saturated and people were more interested in terms of the volume and quantity. For Trinidad, quality was very difficult to find without a lot of money to establish oneself as well as a good area.  

“We didn’t want to go that route,” Trinidad said. “We wanted to go to small place, live in the apartment, you know, little place. So we opened the place downtown here in Corvallis. Five tables inside, four tables outside and, silly of us, we thought it was going to be ‘why not? Just the two of us?’ and little by little we can build up customers, they will know what he does and we’ll be okay.”

However, within less than a week after opening up Le Patissier, an article from “Gazette Times” wrote about their new French Pastry shop in town and the Tholognats found themselves receiving far more than they had initially bargained for. Trinidad said they would need begin their day at a half hour past midnight with her husband mixing constantly one bowl after another and she would go with him and sleep at the corner of the shop to get 45 minutes of rest before preparing for the day. It was just the two of them. But even before the article revealed the new shop in town, she remembered how they were not prepared for the high demand and popularity.

“The first day that we were opened it was so loud. The first day was so loud at 10 o’clock in the morning that the other consecutive days it was 11, the latest we would go,” Trinidad said. “It was really really crazy.”

However, even as their popularity grew, an altercation with the landlord forced them to lose their shop and they were without business for seven months.  

“We had a controversial issue with our landlord and we lost our lease over there. Not that we lost our lease but we needed to get out of there,” Trinidad explained. “So we were closed for seven months and in all the seven months people were asking, sending emails, calling on the phone and leaving messages, ‘Where are you? Where are you going to open up, have you found a place?’ Everyone was looking for a place for us, finally, we got this place.”

This time around the owners really wanted to keep it on the downlow to prevent the hecticness that happened from the first time but to both their gratitude and dismay, the French Club in Corvallis had a mind to set things in place and publicize the reopening of Le Patissier. Trinidad and Didier prepared accordingly for the huge opening-day rush, however there just wasn’t enough time or hands for the crowd.

“Everything needs to be done by hand,” Didier said. “The cooking and the oven is bigger so we can put more once but the rest is done by hand and I only have two of them.”

Le Patissier prides themselves by making their food from scratch as well as not wasting anything. They make, bake and cook everything that is needed for the day of and if anything is left over Trinidad will give it to either her employees, grandchildren or the homeless shelter.  

According to Trinidad, plenty of people who are from France will come to the shop and will meet Trinidad with skepticism. As one customer had explained to her, it was that many “French” pastry shops in America are not authentic and will be met with disappointment especially if there is not anyone French working at the shop. She recounts one such memory back from where they were at the shop in downtown Corvallis.

“There was a women that came in and she lived in France for a little bit and she came in and goes, as soon as she opened the door! She goes ‘Whose french here?’ and I said ‘Not me! But him (Didier),” Trinidad said.

The owners enjoy working together, 24 hours a day. They have more hands now working at their shop and expect them to be up around 2:30 in the mornings making their authentic French pastries, soups and bread.

“We’re always looking to broaden our horizons,” Evans said.

 

2nd Place Bar

Clodfelter’s offers consistent food, drinks

By Ercoli Crugnale, News Contributor

Local haunt Clodfelter’s Public House, better known as Clod’s, is one of the premier bars in Corvallis.

“We’re pretty prominent in the community,” Evans said.

What makes Clod’s such a fixture in the community is its impact on the night life. Located on the Monroe strip, its central location lets it shine during weekdays and weekends alike. In the evenings, it’s not uncommon to see a line from Clod’s out onto the street, especially on days when students can afford to cut loose for the evening.

Though most will come for the drinks, Evans said that it’s the consistency that keeps customers coming back for more. The fact that Clod’s can deliver high quality food, drinks and service on a regular basis is what cements Clods in the community. Clod’s is always open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Clod’s also hosts a spaghetti feed every month in an attempt to give back to the community, according to Evans.

“We take pride in the community,” Evans said.

Even with their reputation for excellence, Evans says Clod’s is still trying to improve on what they do. He even encourages students to bring in drink recipes during the establishment’s slower hours, and allow their bartenders to tinker with the drink. Evan’s thinks that this could lead to a new house specialty, and even more happy customers; it’s a win-win.

“We’re always looking to broaden our horizons,” Evans said.

 1st Place Tacos

Riva’s Taco Shop

 

1st Place Sushi

Aomatsu Sushi and Grill

 

Late Night Eats

1. Riva’s Taco Shop

T2. Qdoba

T2. Beaver Hut

3. Cheesy Stuffed Burgers

 

Mexican

1. Riva’s Taco Shop

2. Qdoba

T3. Chipotle

T3. El Sol De Mexico