Brunching in the Pacific NW is basically a new sporting event, if you’ve ever had to face the throngs of crowds that gather early on weekend mornings at restaurants in cities like Portland and Seattle. But we all know that a game of patience is not easily played on an uncaffeinated brain or empty stomach. Luckily, McMinnville Oregon, especially on a weekend morning, is an easy 45-minute jaunt from Portland. So instead of waiting in line feeling “hangry,” you could be on your way through scenic countrysides to some of the best brunch options in the region.
For a truly elegant wine country brunch, the cozy and upscale Crescent Café is a favorite. Tucked into a little storefront on historic Third Street in downtown McMinnville, the dining room is usually bustling with locals hoping to get an order of the famous house-made coffee cake. It’s a fine-dining approach to the first meal of the day compared to your average breakfast joint, so you can expect top-notch table service and refined takes on classic dishes like omelettes and French toast made with the kind of care you’d expect from a four-star restaurant or luxury B&B.
Theoretically…if you were in need of a breakfast to help lift the fog of last night’s festivities…step into the light-soaked Community Plate and sidle up to one of the long communal wood tables for a life-saving Stumptown Coffee (and maybe Annie’s Bloody Mary too). They won’t mind if you need to keep your sunglasses on. Community Plate on Third Street is a go-to for the stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast that is the key to a successful day of wine tasting. Standouts are the fluffy cloud-like biscuits drenched with flavorful house-made sausage gravy, and a breakfast burrito inventively packed with rich Carlton Farms pulled pork and tangy salsa verde.
A new classic in the Granary District is Valley Commissary, which is open at 7am (!) on weekdays for you super early-birds who want to start your day off on the right foot. With an ever-changing menu attuned to the nuance of seasonal produce offerings, Valley Commissary offers some of McMinnville’s most inventive breakfast options. Rotating veggie bowls spotlight unusual local ingredients like foraged fiddlehead ferns and mushrooms, a classic English muffin breakfast “sando” is transformed with the exotic addition of Calabrian chile aioli, and the fried chicken and waffles is a masterpiece of crisp-crusted chicken atop an airy waffle anointed with hot sauce butter, maple syrup, and fried sage for a pitch-perfect sweet-and-savory balance.