From a celebrated cooking school to fine dining to seafood hot spots, Cannon Beach is cooking up a storm. One man who knows the how and why is Chef John Newman, owner of Newmans at 988, an intimate French-Italian bistro that Newman and his wife, Sandy, opened in February 2006. It remains one of Cannon Beach’s most notable eateries, and one of many, he asserts, together comprising the tasty, high-quality food range found in this iconic North Coast hamlet.
“What makes Cannon Beach a great gastronomic destination is multifaceted,” Newman says. “There is the beauty of the town itself and the majestic views of Haystack Rock and Ecola State Park. Our city council does not allow any neon signs or franchises; they are very strict with the color scheme, the architecture and so on. All of this creates a very controlled atmosphere for the town and the people who visit. And it’s close to Portland — a straight 90-minute shot out to the beach.”
Regarding the array of Cannon Beach eateries, “we have something for everyone,” he says. He rounds up a few favorites: For a specialty breakfast, he suggests The Lazy Susan Cafe. If you’re up for Pacific Northwest fare fused with classics of the Emerald Isle, The Irish Table is unique. For a “great burger,” Newman recommends Bill’s Tavern and Brew House. For a gourmet, hand-tossed, New York-style slice of pizza, he loves Pizza a’fetta. For a juicy filet mignon or rib-eye steak, he says you can’t go wrong with Driftwood Restaurant & Lounge, a Cannon Beach fixture for more than 70 years. And, naturally, he recommends a “beautiful and delicious” four-course meal in his own 10-table room. Some of North America’s best wild Pacific fish is available daily at laid-back Ecola Seafood Restaurant and Market. In this exciting era of craft beer, fresh pints are always on tap at Public Coast Brewing Co. and Pelican Brewing Company.
As an added perk, you can sink your teeth even deeper into the city’s food scene by enrolling at EVOO: Cannon Beach Cooking School, a hands-on institution offering interactive demonstrations, dining shows and a gift shop, all promoting local, organic, seasonal ingredients and using them to cook from scratch.
“We are putting out some world-class food in little Cannon Beach,” Newman says. “When you combine the beauty of the town and the availability of locally sourced products, and you have passionate, driven professionals executing their passions onto the plate—and top it off with the fact we get to live and work at the beach — it’s a win-win.”
You can find a fairly complete list of the city’s restaurants here.
Story by Michael H. Kew
Photo of Newmans 988 by Tom Kirkman