written by Shirley A. Hancock
What is now milepost 1 of the Columbia River Highway in Troutdale has been explored by many: Native Americans, fur trappers, Lewis and Clark and early Model T drivers. Today it’s where you can discover one of Oregon’s most creative outdoor dining experiences—Sugarpine Drive-in.
Husband-and-wife team Emily Cafazzo and Ryan Domingo left the stress of big city restaurants, moved to the Gorge, and opened up shop in a 1920s-era gas station.
“We wanted to marry an old-school, roadside drive-in with a modern, farm-to-table restaurant, using local, organic farm produce and pasture-raised meats,” said Cafazzo, who, as executive chef, brings experience gained in the kitchens of some of Portland’s best restaurants, such as Beast.
In winter, you’ll find adventurers bundled up, sipping local brews along with steaming clam chowder with leeks, celery root, bacon, smoked potatoes and cream. Or, they may be sinking their teeth into thick slices of beef-and-bacon meatloaf with tomato jam and smoked onion aioli on toasted shokupan (Japanese milk bread).
Savor it all, along with views of the Gorge, the Troutdale Bridge and Sandy River, and you will feel every bit the Oregon explorer.