On a bright sunny Tuesday I decided to drive south along highway 47. I passed the Screaming Chicken and the Trask Mountain Outpost along the way to Carlton. I was out driving and decided to head to head to Carlton. I found that on the particular as I drove through Carlton that almost nothing was open. Weird! So, I headed for Barrel 47, which looked interesting. Imagine my surprise to find a wonderful gem of a place in this little town. The town itself is very nice, with one Main Street and several mid to high range restaurants along the Main Street. I did notice an event that I’ll have to visit later in June called “Porklandia” which sounded fascinating, however that is for another story.
The drive down was pleasant and didn’t take more than 25 or so minutes from Forest Grove. Be careful as you drive through the small towns of Gaston and Yamhill, the speed limits are only and I can speak from personal experience that the local police will ticket speeders – Yamhill in particular has a school zone and the speed limit decreases to twenty miles per hour so be careful and mindful of the proper speed. The roads are quick and have long sweeping curves – very nice on sun dappled days – much like this one. I enjoyed the drive in the 300 – the Bronco was still at the shop – don’t ask. I quickly found Barrel 47, it has a great location, right on the corner – unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much parking, but I got the last good spot around 3pm on this particular Tuesday. The hand painted sign is a nice touch and is easily seen from the street – it lends a classy element to the establishment.
As soon as I got inside I noticed the unique interior – it seemed a little familiar, I thought to myself that I’d seen the exterior of this building as something else, but couldn’t figure it out. The inside was warm and inviting and there was a large welcoming sign below the high windows. The inside featured beautiful tables and the bar itself looked similar. As I spoke with Becky – the wonderful lady who worked behind the bar on this Tuesday she explained to me that the tables and bar are all wood from a barn in the Yamhill area whose wood was salvaged and used for this purpose – the owners wanted to use local wood for many of the design elements of the inside and they’ve done a wonderful job – the esthetic works amazingly.
Barrel 47 seats around 40 or 50 people and there is a large bar that seats eight or twelve people. From the bar the ManCave can easily be seen along with it’s giant vault door. The vault door is authentic and even though it’s bolted in place (and can’t lock anyone inside accidentally) it till has an impressive and working door with a similarly impressive locking mechanism and if you’re feeling adventurous you can try your hand at unlocking the vault door.
I finally got around once I’d heard the history of the building (it was a bank built in 1951!!!) to glance at the menu and everything I saw looked amazing. The menu featured some favorites and some new items I’d never heard of – Becky even told me she had designed the cocktail menu and the Hippie Tom Collins was named after her father – I’d need to find a time to go back when I could have a real cocktail or two.
I ordered an Alaskan Amber Ale and decided upon the Barrel Burger – which ended up being a 10oz burger (HUGE) and had egg, bacon, and lots of other goodies on it. I also ordered the new super tots and anxiously awaited my meal. The amber was fantastic – apparently I’d had that variety before but didn’t remember. I’m not s huge beer fan, but a good amber always tastes wonderful.
My burger arrived and it was huge!! The pickle you can see was fair sized and I ended up only being able to eat half of the burger. Everything was super good – the burger was cooked amazingly and had all kinds of wonderful toppings, egg, bacon, cheese, lots of great stuff! The super tots seem like they might have been best consumed with fingers because they kept falling apart in my hands, but I didn’t want to get too terribly messy so I had them with my fork and almost ended up licking the bowl out when I was done it was so delicious. Even the pickle was perfect – crispy and delicious.
I wholeheartedly give Barrel 47 five big Hey Willamette for their creative usage of local decorating materials, for their amazing food selection, for their fantastic vault door and Becky who was such a great person to talk to and tell me all about the history and answer all of my questions about Barrel 47.