7 Places to Eat & Drink in McMinnville (That Aren’t Wineries)

Today’s post is inspired by a client inquiring about must-stop destinations for an upcoming road trip through the Willamette Valley. When he first sent me that message, I have to admit, I was excited. Finally, my time to shine!

For those of you who don’t know, last year, I worked as a harvest intern along with my fiancé, Frank (you can read all about that here). Together, we worked six days a week, twelve hours a day, doing everything from sorting grapes to cleaning tanks to organizing barrels. You name it, we did it. And we did it while living in a van parked in a family friend’s driveway.

Suffice it to say, the last thing Frank and I wanted to do was bicker about dirty dishes and what to have for dinner… to eat in our bed… because we were living in a van.

Ceviche and Cocktails at Pura Vida Cocina in McMinnville, Oregon
Dinner at Pura Vida Cocina

My point is that we went to a lot of restaurants and got our fair share of takeout. So, if there was ever a time for me to share my wealth of knowledge on where to eat or grab a drink, it would be now.

So, allow me to present my list of highly-researched-peer-reviewed-must-stop destinations to grab a bite and a tasty beverage on your next trip to McMinnville, Oregon.

Best Tacos: Tacos el Gordo

This is in no particular order, though Tacos el Gordo would be my #1 pick if it were. Seriously, this place saved our lives. It’s a bit confusing at first because it looks like an extension of the Tequila Grill, and they do, in fact share seating. Tequila Grill is good, but this taco spot is amazing.

Reasonably priced, fast, and authentic. I still think about this place and look forward to returning.

Best Pizza: Pizza Capo

As classy as it is on the inside, we almost always got takeout. Frank’s a connoisseur when it comes to pizza, and we both agreed this was the best. The pizzas are a little more pricey than a hole-in-the-wall might be, but for $20 bucks, Frank and I were more than satisfied sharing one pizza.

With upscale topping options and fast service, this is a great stop for dining in as well as takeout.

Best Breakfast: Wildwood Cafe

We had one day off per week, and we spent our day off getting breakfast here. Known for quirky, retro decor and homemade, fluffy French toast, it was worth the 20-minute wait to get a table.

Reasonably priced, fast service, and plenty of funky signage to keep you busy. Better than a greasy spoon, but just as satisfying.

Best Upscale Spot: Red Hills Kitchen

Located at the Atticus Hotel, this is a great stop when you’re looking for a high-level Willamette Valley experience. If you like it here, then you’ll also love the Red Hills Market, located in Dundee. Both spots feature rustic dishes with curated ingredients, plus an exceptional wine list.

Best Unique Spot: Mac Market

When Frank and I first stumbled onto this place via a coworker’s recommendation, we couldn’t stop talking about it. This renovated warehouse-turned-indoor market is essentially a collaborative “eating, drinking, and gathering place” that features a bar, grab-and-go snacks, local produce, coffee, a bakery, a restaurant, food trucks, and a plant shop!

We probably spent the most time here just because it was so damn cool. Pro-tip: They sell their focaccia by the loaf if you get there early enough.

Best Latin American: Pura Vida Cocina

Again, another place totally worth the wait (or worth getting a reservation). This spot features authentic Latin American cuisine made intentionally, with house-made components, local ingredients, and seasonal specials. I especially love their cocktail selection and house-made hot sauce!

Best Taphouse: The Bitter Monk

On the off chance that you want to experience local beers as opposed to local wine, I highly recommend you check out this taphouse. It’s a pretty simple concept, just a good tap list and a place to sit. That being said, they have a huge library of popular and obscure PNW-focused brews.

Great place located downtown with inside and outside seating. Perfect to bring a laptop and get work done with minimal distraction.

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