By now you’ve seen what makes Eugene and Lane County so great, and you might be starting to see the light about why so many people have moved here. It’s the food scene, the breweries, the greenery and the endless running trails.
So you downloaded the 1972 Grateful Dead Live in Veneta concert and bought a Steve Prefontaine T-shirt because the dream of the ’70s can be alive here, right?
Before you become the running equivalent of a surf bum, we have to break the news that for nine months out of the year it rains and is overcast here. In the meantime, let’s run through Eugene and Lane County to show you more of what this place has to offer.
In Part One, we explored where to eat, drink and have fun, from Eugene’s Whiteaker to Springfield’s Main Street and everything in between. And we looked at what our local running stores organized for the many runners in town for Oregon22. (If you missed Part One, check us out at EugeneWeekly.com.)
And now we pass the baton to Part Two, where we recommend some of our favorite greasy burger joints, take a look at some of Eugene’s many breweries, round up some coffee spots, explore some more neighborhoods — and more.
So buckle up, because in this case the sequel will be as good as the original.
Perk Up with Oregon Coffee
The answer to the eternal question of “Where do I get good coffee?” is, of course, right here. An informal survey of some area locals for their coffee recommendations paired with Eugene Weekly’s staff’s go-to spots for hot and cold drinks led to this quick — and by no means exhaustive — list.
Now, we aren’t saying don’t go to coffee giant Starbucks — the venerable mermaid and her unionizing stores can be found all over Eugene and Springfield. But you can’t toss a chocolate-covered espresso bean without hitting an amazing local coffee shop or kiosk. Want to take a drive but worry about being caffeinated enough to combat your jet lag? Don’t fear, you can be halfway to the coast or heading out along the McKenzie River and somehow, somewhere, there will be a parking lot with a coffee kiosk.
You might have already noticed that Dutch Bros. coffee kiosks are ubiquitous. Founded by third generation southern Oregon dairy farmers, the Dutch Mafia is the answer for those who prefer a sweeter taste than the dark roast flavors of Starbucks. To pull up to a windmill-emblazoned kiosk with incredibly friendly, hyper-caffeinated bro-istas, just check out DutchBros.com.
Since 1990 local coffee roaster Café Mám has been sourcing only its 100 percent fair trade, organic and shade-grown coffee from Indigenous cooperatives. Anywhere that serves Café Mam is a sure bet.
Wandering Goat Coffee, a funky Whiteaker neighborhood favorite. has both a brick and mortar place to sip outdoors and can also be found all over town — both brewed and in the form of its light and medium roasted beans.
If you are staying within the biking and walking areas around campus, then Vero Espresso House has that slightly rumpled, mismatched furniture Pacific Northwest feel and coffee that will entice you to lounge on that furniture — inside or out — for an hour or two. The lavender mocha gets a thumbs up from EW’s business manager Elisha Young. Espresso Roma is another longtime campus-area student favorite with indoor and outdoor seating
Tailored Coffee Roasters can be found both near campus and in the Market District near downtown. Its beans come from around the world, but the roasting and atmosphere is local. And as long as you are hanging out around Fifth Street Public Market check out the “healthy take” on the American diner and coffee selections of Magpie Coffee Shop.
Dutch Bros., DutchBros.com. Café Mam, CafeMam.com. Wandering Goat, 268 Madison Street, WanderingGoat.com. Vero Espresso House, 205 E. 14th Avenue, VeroEspressoHouse.com. Espresso Roma, 825 E. 13th Avenue. Tailored Coffee Roasters, 291 E. 5th Avenue and 686 E. 13th Avenue, TailoredCoffee.com. Magpie Coffee Shop, 590 Pearl Street suite 110, MagpieCoffeeShop.com.
Heading to the downtown area, and you head into the mecca of coffee stops. A stop at Farmers Union Coffee Roasters not only yields a java fix, but the chance to shop at Down to Earth and Mountain Rose Herbs. And because this is Eugene, some of our favorite bars are daytime coffee shops. Check out Cowfish Cafe and Club downtown and Old Nick’s Pub (aka “Eugene’s premiere Victorian gothic pub and event venue”) for daytime caffeine and nightime revelry.
Now for those of you who are doing a little exploring — maybe you want to see where the Finnish team is staying (Creswell) or what track the Irish are running on (McKenzie River) — you can leave town without leaving good espresso. EW Editor Camilla Mortensen gets her coconut milk latte fix at Creswell’s Blue Valley Bistro (one of the few places it doesn’t taste like burned coconuts). Creswell locals are also huge fans of driving up to the Bean Hopper.
Further down the road in Cottage Grove (host to team Botswana) the Grovers recommend Rally Coffee Bar. and Espresso Ba’rn.
Heading east out Highway 58? Pleasant Hill yields two coffee kiosks: Espresso 58 at the Pisgah Market and Pleasant Hill Coffee Co. just a little further down the road (and conveniently located by the local feed store).
Go even further and explore Oakridge — a mountain biking mecca complete with a brewery and a distillery — and stop at Mane Street Coffee for a Sanctuary Golden milk chai tea latte, iced and topped with homemade whipped cream.
Blue Valley Bistro, 116 Melton Road, Creswell and 91088 N. Willamette Street, Coburg. Bean Hopper, 274 Oregon Avenue, Creswell. Rally Coffee Bar, 1220 E. Main Street, Cottage Grove. Espresso Ba’rn, 1551 E. Main Street, Cottage Grove. Espresso 58, Pisgah Market 35855 OR-58. Pleasant Hill Coffee Co., 84841 Edenvale Road. Mane Street Coffee, 48296 E. 1st Street Oakridge.
The Early Bird Gets the Brunch
Need a late morning treat after waking up early for the 6 am race walk on July 22? Or feeling like you might need a little hair of the dog after a late night partying? Eugene and Springfield have several brunch options.
Let’s start with Brail’s, a long time winner of EW’s Best Hangover Breakfast. With two locations — one near the University of Oregon and the other in the Whiteaker, Brail’s has a greasy plate of biscuits and gravy, and the hangover special (two eggs, hash browns and half order of biscuits and gravy) will surely soak up all that booze or at least keep you full for all-day escapades. And Brail’s is one of the most culinarily diverse brunch spots; in addition to breakfast options, it serves Korean bowls all day.
The train station has long been a figure of American lore, and in Eugene, it’s a neighbor to one of the city’s beloved breakfast spots: Morning Glory. In fact, Morning Glory is a must-visit if you’re really interested in learning more about this town. It’s the oldest breakfast restaurant in town, and, like Cornbread Cafe’s vegan comfort food, you’ll easily forget about meat. Morning Glory has amazing tofu scrambles, though if you can’t imagine breakfast without eggs, it does serve egg omelets. Our favorite? Either the chilaquiles or the mushroom vegan biscuits and gravy.
Sometimes for brunch, all we need is a juice-based drink (maybe with a little booze mixed in) and something light, and Lion and Owl and The Vintage will fulfill that desire. You won’t find a brunch menu like Lion and Owl anywhere in town. It mixes brunch staples, like pancakes and breakfast sandwiches, with modern twists, such as avocado toast and foie gras on toast. The restaurant also has full service champagne, so you can have an excuse to remind the table that it’s only champagne if it comes from the French region, otherwise it’s just sparkling white wine. And, best of all, you can brunch in a vintage Airstream, so it’s a vacation from your vacation.
Located in a house built in the late 1873, The Vintage’s architecture lives up to its name. And the restaurant serves fondue and varieties of crepes as well as lunch food. If you’re feeling creative — or are at least tired of telling your hotel’s omelet maker what to cook — you can make your own crepe. The Vintage has many brunch drinks to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with its signature bloody mary.
You really can’t spend too much time in Springfield, and Washburne Cafe on Main Street is worth another trip there for brunch. The café has a succulent fried chicken that somehow combines crunch and juicy meat, as well as the fluffiest doughnuts in town and Pop Tart-inspired baked goods that will surely bring you back to Springfield again and again.
Need to break up with those bagels that you’re getting at your hotel’s continental breakfast? Well, Lox, Stocks and Bagels is the only place in Eugene to buy boiled bagels. A bagel (or two) from Lox, Stocks and Bagels could be enough, but the bagel sandwiches will open your eyes to a brand new world. With options for the vegetarians, the meat lovers and the spicy food enthusiasts, the south Eugene bagel shop is the easiest pit stop for brunch.
Brail’s, 1689 Willamette Street and 395 W. 5th Avenue #2506; BrailsRestaurant.co. Morning Glory,450 Willamette Street; MorningGloryEugene.com. Lion and Owl, 60 E. 11th Avenue; LionandOwl.com. The Vintage, 837 Lincoln Street; EugeneVintage.com. Washburne Cafe, 326 Main Street in Springfield; WashburneCafe.com. Lox, Stocks and Bagels, 368 E. 40th Avenue; find on Facebook.
13th Avenue: Begin at 13th and Lawrence
Good ol’ lucky No. 13. Here in Eugene, we embrace the number 13. We celebrate Friday the 13th with tattoos and drinks. And 13th Avenue is where you can always have a good time.
There are many places to get hot wings, but only one place keeps it hot: Hot Mama’s Wings. The chicken wing joint is a Eugene classic. The restaurant has hot wings (and tempeh wings for the meatless eaters) with a variety of spice levels: mild to kamikaze hot and everything in between, including sweet sauces and savory rubs. Hot Mama’s isn’t just hooked on wings, though. It also serves a tasty spicy fried chicken, burgers and more (and Hot Mama’s doesn’t skimp on the fries or tots, either). Hot Mama’s also has TV screens tuned to sports in case you’d rather watch Oregon22 with a mixed drink in the shade.
Hot Mama’s neighbor, Cafe Soriah, is no slouch, either. Cafe Soriah, an upscale restaurant serving Mediterranean food, Western classics and a full bar, is one of Eugene’s best restaurants. At least that’s what our readers think; readers voted it as EW’s Best Restaurant and Best Meal Over $25 in 2021. It’s open for lunch takeout and serves incredible wraps or sit-in dinner, and if you’re going for dinner — Soriah’s steak diane is a must-try for first-timers.
Head a few blocks east to grab a pizza at the Community Fermentation Union. Eugene’s pizza scene is flourishing so well that it’s only a matter of time before the pizza-loving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a reboot based here. Community Fermentation Union reveres fermentation so much that it makes its beer in-house and has its pizza dough rise overnight. The result is good beer and some of the best pizza in town, where the dough is so good that just about everyone eats their crust.
About a half a block north of 13th Avenue is Claim 52. Now, everything is good, butour advice: come for the kolsch and stay for the unique Thicc gose beers and food. For the uninitiated on Claim 52’s Thicc series, it’s a gose-style wheat beer with a puree of some sort, but it’s best summed up as a smoothie mixed with a beer. The Thicc mixes various flavors, creating beers that taste like s’mores, rocket pops or rainbow sherbert. Of course drinking all that kolsch and Thicc beer means you need some food in your stomach. The menu ranges from a pretzel that’ll make an old mall rat miss their younger days to bahn mi sandwiches and tacos.
On your way to Eugene, maybe you heard that psilocybin (you know, magic mushrooms) will soon be legal. These magic mushrooms will only be legal in therapeutic settings, but you can at least get a digital Mario mushroom at Level Up Arcade. Level Up has a full bar and a ton of beer on tap and a ton of video games. But this place differs than the Whiteaker’s Blairally or Big City Gamin’. Level Up has some pinball options but more modern arcade games, such as Star Wars, Guitar Hero, MarioKart multiplayer — and more.
If you’re looking for an easygoing place to nerd out on beer, head to 16 Tons Beer and Wine. The shop maintains a diverse tap selection, offering beers from sours to IPAs to stouts, as well as ciders. And its taplist likely has drinks coming from breweries in the region that you’ve never heard of, so it’s the perfect place to post new discoveries to your friends on social media apps, like the beer-centric UnTappd.
Hot Mama’s Wings, 420 W. 13th Avenue; HotMamasWings.com. Cafe Soriah, 387 W. 13th Avenue; Soriah.com. Claim 52 Brewing,1203 Willamette Street; Claim52Brewing.com. Level Up Arcade, 1290 Oak Street; LevelUpArcade.com. 16 Tons, 265 E. 13th Avenue.
ColdFire Brewing Company, food carts and history
After an afternoon run along Eugene’s riverfront trail, a scenic pathway that includes the Willamette River and the Owen Rose Garden, you’ve got to replenish your body’s carbs. So head over to ColdFire Brewing Company for locally made beer and food. ColdFire’s tap line has some favorite types of beer — IPAs, kolschs and pale ales — as well as more niche offerings — sours and goses.
But the food cart scene at ColdFire is home to some of Eugene’s hottest kitchens. ColdFire’s food scene includes fried chicken and West Indian food from Yardy Eugene (voted as EW’s Best New Restaurant in 2021), mouth-watering barbecue meats and sandwiches from Paper Plate BBQ and locally sourced Japanese cuisine from Yabai Nikkei. All of the food carts’ menus are subject to change based on availability, but there’s something for everyone here.
With a full belly of food and beer, take a stroll to the historic Shelton McMurphey Johnson House Museum, a Victorian era house built near Skinner Butte. Through October, the museum has an exhibit called Track Before TrackTown, featuring memorabilia from local track coach John Gillepsie, Olympian Annette Peters and photos from the sport before 1975. After perusing the museum, go on a short hike up Skinner Butte for a landscape view of Eugene’s metro area.
And to get a sobering look at Eugene’s history — before it was TrackTown — visit The Mims House. It’s the Eugene Springfield NAACP headquarters, but during segregation, the Mims family. who owned the building, offered it as a hotel for Black people traveling through town, when no other hotel in Eugene would. If you want more insight into Eugene’s history, download the Strides for Social Justice app, developed by PeaceHealth and Eugene Marathon, to guide your walking tour of this area of Eugene.
ColdFire Brewing Company, 263 Mill Street; ColdFireBrewing.com for food cart hours. Shelton McMurphey Johnson House Museum, 303 Willamette Street; SMJHouse.org. The Mims House, 330 High Street.
River Road: Begin at McLure Lane off the riverbank bike path
By now, you’ve likely spent a lot of time on Eugene’s scenic Ruth Bascom Riverbank System, a wonderful trip through Eugene-Springfield that offers sparkling views of the Willamette River. It’s also a way to access many of the area’s different neighborhoods, and if you take the McClure Lane exit, you’ll end up on River Road, which has several places to eat and drink.
If you’re in the neighborhood around breakfast or early lunch time, Reality Kitchen is worth a visit. Reality may be known to locals for its pretzels, but it also makes some of the best biscuits and gravy in town. Reality Kitchen’s menu gives it enough merit, but it is worth noting that the restaurant is a nonprofit organization that runs a job skills training program that helps young adults who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities. So eating at Reality is a noble cause, and you deserve dessert for supporting the restaurant.
Can’t have enough vegetarian food? Govinda’s Vegetarian Buffet will keep the plant-based party going as long as you can fill a plate. But don’t expect it to be a never-ending menu of salads. Govinda’s usually has options of curries, soups and more.
With a ton of ciders on tap to choose from Ciderlicious, you can easily find yourself spending all day and night drinking here. And the two food trucks at the cider garden makes the drinking marathon even easier to pull off. Easley Does It sells fusion tacos and burgers, though its ice cream sandwiches are perfect for these July summer days, and Braised Restaurant has sandwiches featuring slow cooked pork or beef. Just as a reminder, if you’ve had too much cider, make sure you find someone to drive you back to your hotel or Airbnb — whether it’s a taxi or ride share app.
Red Meat, the Other (Track) Meet
There’s nothing like a big, juicy burger that drips all over the place. And Eugene-Springfield has tons of options for the carnivores among us (and most of these places also offer vegetarian alternatives).
Cornucopia is a must-visit for any Eugene newbie, and with three locations, it’s not difficult to include it in your itinerary. Its burgers feature half-pound patties, and the menu has classic versions (barbecue sauce and bacon) but also more wild concoctions (coffee crusted burger patty with pepper jack and guacamole). And what’s a burger without a solid side of fries? Not only have readers chosen Cornucopia for several years as Best Burger, but also Best French Fries.
Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood has pretty much everything. And now it has a restaurant dedicated to burgers. The Whitburger opened a few months ago and keeps its menu simple, a sign of a restaurant that stands behind the quality of its meat. And if you’re a vegetarian — or have one in your party — this is a place to bring them. Whitburger has Beyond Burgers and cheese-based alternatives.
We’re not sure whether Toxic Wings and Fries was named after the classic song “Toxic” by Brittany Spears because the food is just as intoxicating as the song. Of course, Toxic’s wings are in the name, but the burgers are the showstealer. Featuring a one-sixth pound patty, Toxic’s burgers for the most part capture the beauty of minimalism. But that’s not to say they don’t dive into excess. One of EW’s favorites is the Intoxicator, which has four one-sixth pound patties, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños and Frank’s RedHot pepper sauce. Now that’s a burger.
Springfield’s Main Street has a few great burger options — PlankTown and The Pedaler, to name a couple — but venture out a little and you’ll find places that will make you wish you had a Steven Tyler-sized mouth. Chow Gastropub, located a block south of Main Street, is right by the Springfield EmX station. Chow plays with the burger, offering variations from the peanut butter and jelly burger to pork butt and burger. And it’s the only joint in town with several burgers named after two of Oregon football’s most popular quarterbacks who now play in the NFL: the Marcus Mariota and the Justin Herbert.
Head farther east on Main Street, and you’ll find Giant Burger, another gem of Springfield. Giant Burger’s meat is locally sourced and, like Chow, it has several variations of the burger, from an open-faced chili burger to a burger with chicken tenders, bacon and ham. And if you give the restaurant two days’ notice, you can participate in the five-pound burger challenge and bring home something better than a medal from the World Athletics Championships.
Visit CornucopiaEugene.com for addresses. Whitburger is at 298 Blair Boulevard; WhitBurger.com. Visit ToxicWings.com for addresses. Chow Gastropub, 471 S. A Street in Springfield; find on GrubHub. Giant Burger, 3760 Main Street in Springfield; WeltandWelt.com.
Take a Drive to Florence to See the Oregon Coast
OK, we can’t resist the allure of the Oregon Coast. If you haven’t seen it before, hop in the car (or take a bus, if you don’t mind some walking when you get there) and drive 90 minutes to Florence, a small tourist and fishing town on Highway 101.
On your way west, stop at Cupz for your java. Local sculptor Jud Turner tells EW the folks are friendly, the coffee is good and they always have treats for his pet pigs. If you forget to caffeinate before you go, no worries. Alpha-Bit, the funky coffee and gift shop that was once the community outreach for the Alpha Farm intentional community, has reopened in Mapleton under a new owner. Once you hit Florence, locals tell us that Venny’s Café 101 has not only good Mexican coffee but good Mexican food.
In the quaint Old Town next to the Siuslaw River bridge, stroll through the marina to admire the boats and stop by the great used-book store Books ‘n Bears.
If you have a car, drive north 12 miles to Heceta Head, where you can see a classic lighthouse, stroll on a small sandy beach or, for the reasonably fit, hike the two-mile Hobbit Trail from the lighthouse through rugged forest with great ocean views to a more-secluded beach. Any trip to the Oregon coast isn’t complete without exploring the dunes, where you can sit and enjoy the silence or pretend that you’re on Tatooine from Star Wars.
While in Old Town, you’ve got several eating options. Sure, it is a longstanding Oregon tradition to eat at Mo’s Restaurant, a coastal chain, but there are other options. Homegrown Public House and Brewery is a gastro-pub with a large menu of unique sandwiches, hearty salads and filling fish and chips. For fancier dining, head to Nosh Eatery. It’s near the Siuslaw River, which feeds into the ocean, and has a menu of quality food without pretense — and its brussel sprouts will convert any hater of the controversial vegetable.
Cupz, 203 State Hwy 99 N. Alpha-Bit, 10780 Hwy 126, Mapleton. Venny’s Café 101, 1517 Hwy 101, Florence.