Oregon’s Bay Area: Game On

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We love Oregon’s Bay Area. Coos Bay/North Bend is a great little town. It’s changed a lot in the years since we lived there in the late 80’s and I hope it’s on the verge of greatness. There’s a new brewpub in Coos Bay and it just upped the competition – changed the game. The problem will be, can others compete or will they be ignored.

Motel: We stay at the Red Lion because quite frankly you get a great deal. They have clean, large remodeled rooms with comfortable beds and only 92 dollars a night for a king.

We love checking out restaurants and this time found a gold mine at Coos Bay’s first Brew Pub. 7 Devils is a great spot in the heart of town. The atmosphere is perfect (needs more inside seating) and the food is great. The beer is amazing for a new brewery. Usually it takes a brewer time to get a good recipe but the couple that creates this beer is already there. We had an amazing time and the servers were perfect. They were friendly and efficient, the kind of servers you feel good about tipping.

photo-484The rest of our meals were not so great and left us feeling like Coos Bay needs to step it up a notch or three.

We had dinner at a place called “Little Italy.” We’ve eaten there before and weren’t overly impressed but there aren’t a lot of choices so we decided to give it a go again and will not repeat our mistake.

You know you’ve made a mistake when you take a bite and realize your wife could have done much better at home. The whole evening was awkward. The restaurant is nice but something just doesn’t work. The waitress we had felt nervous. We left feeling gross.

We tried to eat lunch at the Empire Café, a place we have bragged about before, but they are no longer open for lunch. They had great food the last several times we were there but when we got to the place the sign said: “Open at 2pm.” Why would you open a restaurant at 2pm? If you do go to Coos Bay I’d definitely give them a try because their baked goods are amazing and the food was good. Just don’t plan to eat lunch at a normal time of day or go for dinner.

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We ended up at a place called “Monica’s” for lunch. Monica must have a lot of friends who “Yelp” because the ratings look good. We got there at 1:30 and the lunch spot is out of bread. What, you are out of bread? I hate to be “Crusty” but how does a lunch place run out of bread? We were starving and decided on a salad special and it was terrible. For $10 bucks we had Romaine lettuce with a few other goodies (if you can call them that) on the salad, oh and Olive Oil as a dressing. We paid extra for turkey and found a few tiny chunks under the salad, nothing to gobble about. The coffee was bad and the meal too expensive. Monica was nice enough but the restaurant too was an awkward spot.

Oregon’s Bay Area needs to pick up the pace. Business owners might want to travel to other places and see what others are doing and find a way to make their own mark on good food, great services and friendly staff.

On the way home we stopped by the Sourdough Bakery in Winchester Bay and bought a pizza skin to bring home. We also bought a bottle of wine we’ve never seen before. It’s a really cool place with great pizza. You can even do take-n-bake. They also bake fresh bread and make sandwiches. Oh, and the owner makes these cool jams and preserves. It’s a great place to stop.

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But the best place of the trip is Harbor Light in Reedsport. We passed by this place for 20 years. A year ago we drove by and saw they had “Fixed it up” so we stopped. We had a Tuna steak sandwich and it was amazing and the restaurant is really cool inside. This time we stopped by and ordered the tri tip salad. Look at the picture it was as good as it looks. The Harbor Light smokes its tri tip, chicken and pork. The staff is great and the food is just so good. You will not be disappointed they even serve great beer and wine. The only thing I would change is they need better coffee.

I truly do care about Oregon’s Bay area. I spent my early years in my former career there. People in Coos Bay are very, very good to me so this advice comes with a desire to make the community thrive.

Go look around and see what others are doing. Find out what works for others and then flatter them by copying what they do but do it even better. Competition is good for the soul. I know we live in a world that tries to quiet the competition rather than use it to learn but you need to do the latter.

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Now that’s a tri-tip salad – thank you Harbor Lights Family Restaurant – once again the food highlight.

If you don’t feel like traveling outside the area head downtown and pay a visit to 7 Devils or drive to Reedsport and ask some questions at Harbor Light. Walk in the door, grab a beer, order some food and take plenty of notes. If you ignore these places you will lose. If you find yourself saying this and that won’t work put a closed sign on your door right now. The folks at 7 Devils and Harbor Lights get it and let me warn you now, it’s “Game On.”

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