Outdoor Dining Around Central Oregon

It’s a truism around Central Oregon: With 300 days of sunshine each year, there’s no such thing as bad weather for outdoor dining.

And there’s something to that. Spend enough time in the region, and you’ll see patios, fire pits, heaters, and food cart lots teeming with hungry diners and thirsty patrons all year long. And even if the crowds aren’t for you, Central Oregon is home to plenty of parks where you can settle into a picnic table, enjoy some takeout, and gawk at the area’s natural beauty.

Hungry yet? Here’s a rundown of where to go, and how to experience the wide variety of outdoor dining opportunities around Central Oregon this winter—and beyond.

Relax at a Food Cart Pod

Food cart pods aren’t just a summertime sensation around Central Oregon; the outdoor gathering spaces showcase creative cuisines, as well as local beer and cider, all year long—often accompanied by roaring fire pits, socially distant outdoor dining areas, and a few umbrellas or shades to shield against sunshine and the occasional snow flurry.

Here are a few of the most popular pods around Central Oregon.

The Lot: Four carts comprise The Lot, which also pours local beer, cider, wine, kombucha, and hard seltzer from a separate bar. A gas fire pit, heaters, and heated benches keep diners warm all winter long.

Crosscut Warming Hut No. 5: The newest food cart pod in Central Oregon pours beer, wine, cider, and more from 36 taps—and pairs that selection with a trio of carts dishing gyros, pizza, and healthy bowls. Large fire pits crackle all through the winter months.

The Podski: Sandwiched between the Box Factory and downtown Bend, nearly a dozen carts at The Podski serve local beer, pierogies, fresh vegan fare, Thai cuisine, tacos, and more. A few fire pits dot the outdoor seating area.

On Tap: Six food carts and a bar with 30 taps showcase some of the best chefs, brewers, and cider makers from throughout the region—and round out the experience with a large grassy area, plenty of outdoor seating, and two large fire pits for keeping cozy.

Midtown Yacht Club: Nearly a half-dozen carts serve creative takes on classic street food at Midtown Yacht Club, with tacos, tater tots, and hot dogs appealing to kids of all ages. Covered seating and a few fire pits provide a bit of warmth.

The Bite Tumalo: A handful of food carts serve winter-friendly fare at The Bite Tumalo—including grilled cheese sandwiches, Thai food, tacos, and sizzling melts. Fire pits and a spacious seating area make it easy to stay warm.

Head to Your Favorite Brewery or Cidery

In Central Oregon, chances are good your favorite brewery or cidery boasts an outdoor seating area. We couldn’t begin to list them all, but these are a few of our favorites. 

Wild Ride Brewing: The popular Redmond brewery is almost as famous for its outdoor dining as for its wide variety of ales and lagers. Four food carts serve pizza, tacos, yakisoba bowls, fish and chips, burgers, and more to hungry diners stretching out on the brewery’s spacious patio. Naturally, a handful of fire pits and fire tables make it easy to stay warm.

Cascade Lakes Brewing Company: Just a few blocks from Wild Ride, Cascade Lakes at 7th Street hosts a friendly patio at the southern edge of Redmond’s downtown core. Heaters and a large fire pit pair well with Cascade Lakes’ classic brews and pub fare favorites—including burgers, sandwiches, and hearty pizzas. A few horseshoe pits invite visitors to linger and revel in the backyard-like vibe.

Bend Brewing Company: On a sunny Saturday, it feels as if half of Bend could fit onto the outdoor area at the city’s second-oldest brewery. Covered tent seating, picnic tables, a fire pit, and a gas-powered fire table all help make the brewery one of Bend’s favorite watering holes—all mere steps from the Deschutes River. 

Legend Cider: The La Pine-based cider maker hosts on-site food carts and an approachable outdoor seating area—complete with a bench swing, spaced-out picnic tables, and a crackling fire pit.

Create Your Own Outdoor Dining Area

If you don’t want to huddle around fire pits at food cart pods or dine out at craft breweries, chances are good you’re never far from your own outdoor dining area. Parks all over Central Oregon make it easy to enjoy takeout at picnic tables, usually with pleasant views that add to the experience. Here are a few scenic spots for enjoying your takeout in relative solitude.

Sawyer Park: Not far from the Deschutes River, Sawyer Park boasts a few picnic tables in the shadow of a sparse ponderosa pine forest. Deer and waterfowl are common on this quiet stretch of river, and a hiking trail hugs the canyon walls if you’d like to stretch your legs.

Sam Johnson Park: The sprawling Sam Johnson Park makes a fine place to dine and linger just west of downtown Redmond. Picnic tables (both covered and uncovered) dot the park, but other attractions include paved walking paths, outdoor climbing walls, pickleball and tennis courts, and play structures for kids. 

Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint: Just north of Terrebonne, a handful of picnic tables sit near a dramatic viewpoint of the Crooked River canyon. Most visitors make a beeline for those views, so the picnic tables create a quiet respite at the otherwise bustling park.

Matt Wastradowski
Matt Wastradowski
Visit Central Oregon

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