Rockin’ Food Trip – Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach enjoys a new wave of culinary experiences

For generations of families, Rockaway Beach on Oregon’s north coast has been a favorite vacation spot. With seven miles of sandy shore to explore and play on, this iconic beach town hosts highly popular summer events, like the Kite Festival, Pirate Festival and 4th of July fireworks. The compact, walkable downtown offers candy stores, eclectic shops, mini-golf course, family diners, and even a police museum.   

In the last three years, however, Rockaway Beach has become a destination for another type of traveler: those who enjoy fresh seafood, locally sourced menus, wine tasting, freshly baked pastries, and even “haute dogs.”

Fresh, local seafood

With rivers, bays and an ocean at the town’s doorstep, locally caught and harvested seafood is a specialty. Salmon, tuna, rockfish, Dungeness crab, oysters and clams grace the menus of several eateries.

Jacob and Michelle Burden, owners and chef of Offshore Grill, bring breakfast, lunch and dinner to locals and visitors alike. In addition to fresh seafood, they also feature grass-fed and locally grown beef, omelet made with local produce and Tillamook Cheese, oysters from Netarts Bay, and desserts to tempt the even the most disciplined eater. The front of the restaurant is a cozy coffee house serving fresh pastries and locally roasted coffee. The restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday and is located at 122 N. Highway 101.

From Offshore Grill, locally caught salmon served with fresh produce from a nearby farm.

Sand Dollar Restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean, has a menu to match the view. Owner Emma Poulsen came to Rockaway Beach for a vacation, ended up staying and opening a restaurant. Her menu adds a European flavor to local seafood and beef dishes, and everything is made from scratch, from the fish and meat rubs, to the hamburger buns. A happy hour menu includes delicious fish tacos. Open every day except Tuesday, from 11:30 to 9pm. 210 South 1st Ave, at the beach wayside.

Fish and meat rubs are created in-house from family recipes at the Sand Dollar Restaurant. (Photo: Sand Dollar Restaurant)

Old Oregon Smokehouse is a tradition in Rockaway Beach, and foodies continue to flock to this laid-back eatery. Named by regional food magazines as among the best seafood spots on the Oregon Coast, it often has people lining up all the way out the door for their amazing fish and chips, oysters, chowder, crab melts, and more. Outdoor seating is dog friendly. 120 N. Highway 101

Old Oregon Smokehouse retains its laid-back atmosphere while creating award-winning fish and chips, chowder and more seafood specialties.

Wine tasting and luscious baked treats

Small cafes serving freshly baked treats and light meals can be found right downtown. Two new places have quickly earned a great reputation for both wine and baked goods.

Renee’s Tasting Room and Cafe is a new addition to downtown Rockaway Beach, and already has a strong following of locals and visitors. Wine tasting is a big draw, but also the baked goods (blueberry cinnamon rolls anyone?) and light meals served for breakfast and lunch. Open 9:00 am – 3:00pm. 127 Miller Ave

Renee’s Tasting Room offers wine lovers many choices, along with tasty bakery and lunch options.

Beach Bakeshop

This gem of a bakery and to-go café quickly became a favorite of locals after opening in 2015. Everything is baked and made fresh daily, including breads, pastries, desserts, soups and sandwiches. They cater, too, so the entire family can enjoy their vacation time.

Open 9:00am – 3:00pm, 108 N. Highway 101.

More than hot dogs

A visit to the beach isn’t complete without biting into a hot dog. If you can’t build a campfire and have a weenie roast, there are two great options in Rockaway Beach you won’t want to miss.

D’Viener Vender food truck at the north end of town has a hot dog for every member of the family. Choose your toppings, from the basics (ketchup and mustard) to the more adventurous (jalapenos, grilled peppers or bacon bits). Ice cream bars make a perfect summer dessert. Open 11:00am – 7:00pm. 610 N. Highway 101

D’Viener Vender food truck offers a long list of toppings for your hot dog.

You can’t miss the Original Pronto Pup. It has a giant hot-dog-on-a-stick sitting on its roof, and a one you can ride like a bucking horse at the front door. Dipped in flour batter (corn dogs are dipped in cornmeal), these all-beef dogs are created from the same recipe developed in Rockaway Beach in the 1930s. Open weekends 11:00 am – 4:00pm. 602 N. Highway 101.

Pronto Pup relies on the original 1930s recipe using flour batter, not cornmeal.

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