Top Spots for Outdoor Bites in Central Oregon

It’s a truism around Central Oregon: With endless sunshine and little rain, 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 pods 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 some of the top spots, and how to experience the wide variety of outdoor dining opportunities around Central Oregon this summer—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 when temperatures heat up.

General Duffy’s Waterhole: A memorable name and a fun spot to take the family in downtown Redmond. Five food carts offer high-quality eats – pair the food with a craft beverage from the sleek indoor tap house and you’ll be set!

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.

Midtown Yacht Club: Nearly a half-dozen carts serve creative takes on classic street food at Midtown Yacht Club in Bend, 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: Tasty fare at The Bite Tumalo—including grilled cheese sandwiches, Thai food, tacos, and sizzling melts are waiting for you and your crew. Fire pits and a spacious seating area make it easy to stay warm on cooler summer nights.

The Barn: Complete your western styled experience in Sisters with a stop at The Barn. Keep it classic with some BBQ, a wood fire pizza, or switch it up with international cuisine or Mexican street food.

Corral Taproom and Food Trucks: Just like livestock in a corral, one look at the food cartsat the Corral will have you corralled and never wanting to leave. Enjoy a beer with some latin soul food, Chinese cuisine, or some tacos. This is also the perfect place to host an event, or cuddle up for a date by a fire pit.

Get Gussied Up for a Meal Out

If it’s been a little while since your last meal out at a fancy restaurant, Central Oregon is the perfect place to enjoy a unique dining experience. Try these restaurants that offer a comfortable outdoor dining experience.

SCP Hotel: Get up on the rooftop and take in an unbeatable view of the Cascades and meal at SCP Hotel in Redmond. The intimate, 1,500-square-foot indoor and outdoor dining space will wow you with a one-of-a-kind experience. Small plates and handcrafted cocktails made with herbs, fruit, and spices grown in the Rooftop’s own gardens make for the refreshing night out you’ve been craving.

Bos Taurus: Reserve your spot in this downtown Bend steak house. Start your meal off with a Compressed Caesar and Honey Brûléed Cambozola Cheese on Bos Toast. Move on to a Tomahawk for two or Alaskan King Crab Legs and let the memories of meal planning slip away as Japanese Miyazaki A5 Waygu melts in your mouth. Spend the evening with a bottle of Domaine Serene, “Evenstad Reserve” Pinot Noir from Oregon, and celebrate the here and now.

Sisters Depot: Fresh Southern-inspired dishes will have you coming back for more at this restaurant in downtown Sisters. Try their Jambalaya with a French 75 or share their 22oz bone-in Porterhouse with a “Sisters Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned”. The Sisters Depot opened during the pandemic and the owners have created outdoor dining with contactless menus and payment options. If you’re lucky you might even catch some live music. Don’t forget about their hush puppies and pimento cheese dip for happy hour!

Sen: Escape everyday food and travel Thailand with a stop at this contemporary noodle restaurant in Bend. Indulge in hot pot and cook your own ingredients in homemade broth at the table, or enjoy something else from a menu inspired by a collection of favorite dishes from Thailand street carts. As you experience the culture of food from Bangkok and Chiang Mai, dine alongside Mirror Pond and pair it with a craft cocktail. 

 

Head to a Local-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 on cooler nights.

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 (as well as a Bend location). 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.

Funky Fauna: Located just north of downtown Sisters, this small Artisan Ale Brewery is one to remember. With a taproom as vibrant as its ales, Funky Fauna aims to create a local hub that welcomes all walks of life. With all beers being produced with local and sustainable ingredients, you won’t want to miss out on trying “Party Plants” or “Glee of 1000 Otters”.  

Legend Cider: The La Pine-based cider maker hosts on-site food carts and an approachable outdoor seating area—complete with a bench swing, picnic tables, and a crackling fire pit. They offer an assortment of flavorful ciders like Mt Mazama Mango or Pioneer Punch; with 10+ options they make it hard for you to choose.

Create Your Own Outdoor Dining Area

If you’re looking for lunch or dinner in nature, 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.

Paulina Lake: A picture-perfect picnic spot in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Order a homemade cobbler from Paulina Lake Lodge and take in the sweet view! Or if you’ve worked up an appetite from hiking or mountain biking, tell the chef you want one of their famous Prime Rib dinners and enjoy it lakeside.

Fort Rock State Park: Located less than a 1-hour drive from Sunriver Resort, this is a natural wonder that will make any picnic feel like a Michelin-star-worthy meal. Grab sandwiches from Cafe Sintra in Sunriver and take the easy and scenic drive to Fort Rock. When you spot the jagged rock formation popping up like a desert mirage you’ll wonder how you haven’t heard of this impressive National Natural Landmark.

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. Pop into locals’ favorite,McKay Cottage for a breakfast burrito then drive just minutes to Sawyer Park to enjoy it riverside.

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. Swing by Just Cut Juice Bar for a samurai bowl, health shot or a Super Juice to keep you fueled for your next adventure.

Need Lodging?

In Central Oregon, there are plenty of comfortable lodging options. If you’re looking for some luxury, try one of these resorts.

Sunriver Resort: Everything you need is at your fingertips at Sunriver Resort. Whether it’s golfing at one of four award-winning golf courses, rejuvenating at a luxurious spa, or fly fishing on the Deschutes. Pick from one of the suites or private homes.

Black Butte Ranch: Tucked away just north of Sisters, Black Butte Ranch is a resort where you can get away from it all. Wake up for an early tee time on either of the Ranch’s championship golf courses. Spend the afternoon lounging at the pool with pristine views of the Cascades. Top off the day watching the sunset at the Lakeside Bistro.

Tetherow: A resort on the edge of the forest but still near the heart of the city. 7 minutes from Bend’s Old Mill District and 20 minutes from Mt. Bachelor, Tetherow borders the Deschutes National Forest and boasts an award-winning 18-hole golf course, 50-room boutique hotel, outdoor, heated pool, three restaurants, fitness facility, and vacation rental homes.

Find more lodging options in Central Oregon.

Explore Nature’s Beauty

From the sagebrush-covered plains of the high desert to the towering pines and majestic mountain peaks, discover the diverse landscape Central Oregon has to offer.