Never heard of it? I hadn’t either. But some of the best places are hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. If you’re a Portland resident, you’ve probably already discovered McMinnville, and even dived into the depths of it’s wine country and been surprised by it’s vast array of dining options.
I, however, was new to the whole thing. And what started in my mind as a quaint, small town weekend, turned into a gourmet food and wine tour tucked into the Oregon hills. Not to mention, the most amazing boutique hotel, with SLEEPING CUBBIES IN THE WALL.
My friend (and fellow blogger) Rachel and I went on this trip together, and as a Portland native, she’d been to McMinnville many times, so figured she’d be repeating some things. But to her surprise, she went to restaurants and wineries she had never been to or even heard of. Don’t let the small town fool you.
WHERE TO EAT
Community Plate: Great place right on the main street (which is 3rd Street) that feels like the “community breakfast spot.” It’s hard for me to branch out when it comes to my breakfast food, so you’ll most likely see me ordering eggs, toast, and bacon everywhere I go. But the way a restaurant does a basic breakfast is how they do all of their food, and it was top notch. Turns out the key to my heart is thick cut bacon.
Valley Commissary: I’m still dreaming about the food at this place! Particularly the brussels sprouts and fried cheese curds, but everything we had was mouth watering-ly good. They have a huge focus on local, seasonal ingredients. Plus it’s super cute and has wine on tap!
The Barberry: We were only in town for one night, and I’m so glad we were able to go here for our one dinner. The food is beautiful and classic with a modern twist, and there is something for everybody. That’s not even to mention their incredible and extensive wine and bourbon/whiskey/scotch lists.
WHAT TO DO
In McMinnville, you’re in the middle of Oregon wine country, so there are ENDLESS places to visit and wine taste. If you’re not into wine (the wineries are always so fun to visit regardless, in my opinion, because they’re all so different), but there are some really great shops on 3rd Street, and breweries as well!
Coeur de Terre Vineyard: This was a really great family run vineyard just about 15 minutes outside of town. What was so wonderful, and immediately apparent, was the sense of family among all of the vineyards and wineries throughout the whole valley. They firmly believe in community over competition, and as a patron, you feel like family right away. If you’re not familiar with Oregon wine, pinot noir is what they’re known for, and even if you don’t initially think you’re a pinot person (like me), I promise you’ll find one that suits your palette.
R. Stuart & Co: this is a great little tasting room downtown on 3rd street, and the perfect place to stop for a drink before you head to dinner. We had some great sparkling wines!
Elizabeth Chambers Cellar: This tasting room is just off the main drag downtown, and they actually work with a few different vineyards in the Willamette Valley to create delicious wine. (Lots of pinots, but again, no matter what you usually like, you will most definitely be able to find something that you enjoy.
And last but not least, the Golden Valley Brewery:
This place is huge! We didn’t have time to eat here, but we got a sampler of all their beers on tap (mostly just ’cause they’re very photogenic), and there were so many good ones! I think my favorite was the blonde. Definitely worth a stop if you want a break from all the wine drinking.
WHERE TO STAY
Ok. This place was a dream come true. It was the absolute cutest boutique hotel, just a block off of 3rd Street, with the nicest staff, the most welcoming lobby/sitting area, plus a very cozy secret room behind the front desk.
AND drumroll…our room was called The Bunkhouse. And it was just that. In addition to the king size bed, there were 4 bunkbeds built into the wall. Do believe I picked one on top and tucked myself right in.