Labor Day is over, but we can’t say the same for summer. Sure, the back-to-school calendar tells us that it’s the first day of fall (or some sort of non-summer season), but the temperatures and the actual calendar tell a different story. Our mornings might be cooling down, but the days and evenings are still warm—if not just plain hot. If you thought you missed out on these summer experiences, think again! There’s still time to enjoy some of the best dining experiences that Central Oregon has to offer.
And, hey—summer doesn’t technically end until September 22.
The Rooftop at SCP Hotel
There aren’t many sunset views better than those from The Rooftop at the SCP Hotel in Redmond. The renovated hotel’s rooftop bar, The Rooftop, sits atop the historical three-story building with panoramic views of the Cascades you won’t want to miss.
The Rooftop is an intimate, open-air bar surrounded by native gardens that overlooks Downtown Redmond. And, they’re only open seasonally. This means that—if you haven’t yet visited—it’s time to make a reservation. The Rooftop offers somewhat of a DIY cocktail menu; start by choosing your favorite classic cocktail, then choose a locally-sourced fresh fruit or herb add-in.
Of course, they also offer signature cocktails, low ABV drinks, beer and wine, and mocktails. Enjoy small plates to pair with your drinks and appreciate the breathtaking views of Central Oregon. Plus, if it gets chilly, The Rooftop offers blankets to keep you cozy during your visit.
WillieBurger – Smash Burger Cart
Bend’s newest smash burger cart has taken Central Oregon by storm with its overnight success and popularity. You may have seen WillieBurger at recent events like Munch & Music, Bend Moonlight Market, and the Deschutes Brewery Beer Garden. But it was a rainy NorthWest Crossing Saturday Market in June when they served their first burger.
The concept is simple, yet genius. Thinly-sliced onions are placed on top of seasoned beef and pressed firmly into the grill. Then, they’re topped with American cheese and special sauce, and served on a toasted and buttered bun.
At the Saturday Market, enjoy a breakfast smash burger made with sausage and topped with a fried egg. Most recently, they’ve been spotted smashing fresh sliced jalapeños into their burgers for an extra kick. And if you’re not adding on a side of their housemade banana pudding, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
WillieBurger is currently only serving local events, so it’s time to visit them at one of the markets or their next pop-up. Follow WillieBurger’s Instagram, updating followers on their next move or event.
Central Oregon Farmers Markets
Shorter growing seasons in the High Desert means taking complete advantage of our farmers markets while we can. Sure, the market-driven calendar might indicate that summer is over—but there’s still time to enjoy fresh, local produce and flowers from Central Oregon farmers and beyond.
NorthWest Crossing’s Saturday Market will be the first to close for the season on September 17, followed by the Bend Farmers Market, in Brooks Alley, on October 12. Head into Sisters for their Sunday market through October, while Redmond’s Thursday night market will have its last pop-up on September 15.
Whether you’re looking to buy your weekly bounty or simply enjoy a fresh Marionberry pie from Farmhouse Pies, Central Oregon farmers markets are one of the best ways to enjoy the last fruits of summer—literally!
Dinner and a Show
If you live within a few miles of the Hayden Homes Amphitheater, there’s a chance you’ve enjoyed a show from your backyard or front porch. But, did you know that you can make reservations at places like Va Piano Vineyards in the Old Mill District on concert nights for a more intimate experience?
Greg’s Grill offers premium outdoor seating for dinner guests who choose to dine outside during one of Bend’s concerts. Offered on a first-come, first-served basis, guests can pay per person to enjoy dinner during a live show along the riverfront patio.
Or, hang out at Rapa Nui for tropical cocktails and tasty bites before, during, or after the concerts. Rapa Nui’s second-story balcony overlooks the Old Mill District with a clear view to the amphitheater. Would you rather attend the concerts in person? There are several local food carts and drink options available at the venue, like Dump City Dumplings and Bigfoot Barbecue.
From family-friendly restaurants to date nights, dining al fresco in Sunriver just hits different. Why? Because there’s a bit of magic in the air during the summer in Sunriver, which makes it the perfect place to dine before summer ends.
Of course, you can choose any of the incredible restaurants in The Village at Sunriver. Or, venture slightly outside of the area for fine dining post-golfing options. And, while you’re at it, book a tee time at one of Sunriver’s award-winning golf courses. Then, relax at the 19th hole with some well-earned food and drink.
The Boathouse at Suttle Lodge
Suttle Lake is a place where visitors and locals alike can rent canoes, swim, and enjoy summer from the lakefront property at Suttle Lodge and Boathouse. While the Lodge and indoor Skip Bar are open year-round, the Boathouse is only open seasonally—through September 19, specifically.
Why visit the Boathouse at Suttle Lodge? Their food is travel-worthy. Here, you’ll find more than roadside burgers and fries. Instead, you can feast on smoked fish platters with pickled veggies, a hearty Seattle dog, or their famous fish and chips sandwich. (Yes, it’s famous. Just ask Bon Appétit.)
Summer in Central Oregon
If you’re like most of us here in Central Oregon, summer is likely one of your favorite times of the year. So, we don’t want you to miss out on an experience that may not return until next year. Please, be sure to check with restaurants and food carts to ensure availability and always make reservations when possible. Now go out and check off that bucket list!