The Barlow Room brings a modern Portland vibe and casual, hip menu to the heart of Oregon Wine Country.
When you are out wine tasting in Oregon's Willamette Valley for the day, you get hungry. Really hungry. And since you're tasting some of the best wines in the world in some of the most beautiful tasting rooms (totally my opinion, but also: true) you want to be able to enjoy a delicious, high quality meal to match your wine experience.
I've covered a lot of restaurants over the years but rarely those out in the suburbs and in wine country. Yet Portland is a city where activity and tourism extends well beyond city limits, and there are countless four and five star restaurants in surrounding suburbs, the country, in the mountains, and along the coast. I have several restaurant features coming up this year featuring outstanding restaurants in outer lying areas of Portland, Oregon, and we're kicking it off with a look at The Barlow Room.
The Barlow Room
If you're out and about wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, you'll find the town of Dayton just off of Highway 99W and Highway 233, known as the SE Dayton Bypass. Facing an adorable public park in the town square is The Barlow Room. Chef Chris Czarnecki and his wife/business partner Mary opened The Barlow Room in June of 2014 as the more casual sister restaurant to the Czarnecki's well-known, fine dining establishment, The Joel Palmer House, which is also located in Dayton.
I love that in addition to the bar and seated booth and table options, you walk in and are welcomed by a casual lounge area with studded leather library armchairs and casual hang-out seating, along with some family touches throughout.
The Barlow Room serves lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday each week (they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays), as well as a Brunch Menu on Sundays from 10am to 2pm. You'll find a nice selection of small plates, salads, burgers and sandwiches, a few signature key entrees, desserts, and a small kids menu.
For the visit pictured here, hubby, the kids, and I tried their brunch menu. I ordered a Smoked Salmon Benedict with hashbrowns, while hubby ordered The Barlow Burger. The benedict was a solid, classic benedict; I did really like the hollandaise sauce served with the dish. Hubby's burger was juicy thanks to being enriched with duck fat.
The real winner for us at The Barlow Room was the fries. The fries were amazing, and the kids and I would go back just for an order of those perfectly seasoned, nicely crisped fries.
The Barlow Room is definitely the kind of place you can feel comfortable bringing your children. Kids can choose from Mac & Cheese, Chicken Tenders (pictured above), or a Cheeseburger for $5 each. Each children's menu dish is a fairly large portion, and comes with a heaping side of those delicious fries.
There's also a cute option called "The Pirate," which is an extra fork and plate "so you can steal from your parents!" listed on the menu for no charge, which I thought was clever and fun. That alone should give you a good idea of the relaxed vibe of this place.
The Barlow Room also reportedly has an amazing Lobster Mac & Cheese ($15) and delicious Barlow Cobb Salad ($12). I've also been told that I should try Joe's Wild Mushroom Soup ($5 cup/$7 bowl) which has been a Czarnecki family recipe of over 50 years. If you'd like to see more of The Barlow Room's dinner and lunch main entrees, be sure to visit my friend Victor's review at The Statesman Journal.
You can view their full menu online.
One thing that helps set this restaurant apart from others in the area is that it not only offers a fantastic wine list (which is a given for a restaurant in wine country, yes?), but it also offers an excellent selection of American Whisky and creative cocktails.
While hubby enjoyed a beer during this visit pictured here, I tried the drink special: a plum mojito. Like their menu, drink selections may change based on the availability of fresh ingredients. The Summer Soltice sounds delicious; it has Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Reeds Ginger Beer, strawberry, basil, rhubarb bitters ($11). And, it's also almost always a safe bet to order the house cocktail, which in this case, is The Barlow Room: Makers Mark Bourbon, local muddled strawberry, Interobang Sweet Vermouth, lime, and egg white froth ($13).
The Barlow Room is a fun, casual spot to dine with your family, with friends, or out on a date night while you are out in wine country. I love the interior of the space: it's rustic Portland hipster meets wine country casual. Service was a little off when we visited, but everyone was really pleasant and helpful, and overall it was a lovely place with a solid menu. I look forward to returning to try more dishes in the future!
Do note that an 18% service charge is automatically included in your bill, which allows The Barlow Room to pay its staff living wages; however, you can adjust the amount as you see fit. According to The Barlow Room, "reducing the amount does not affect anyone's pay and everything additional is pooled only among servers in accordance with state law."
Finally, I do love that The Barlow Room takes reservations through Open Table, which I recommend if you're heading out to wine country with a larger group or if you plan to dine here during a busy wine weekend (which is most weekends!).
Visit The Barlow Room
306 Ferry Street
Dayton, Oregon 97132
Have you ever been to The Barlow Room? What dish on their menu looks/sounds most appealing to you?
Wineries to visit
While you're in the area, be sure to check out these wineries: