Not to go on too much of a rant this morning, but it’s my story after all and you are rather a captive audience and I figure you all are interested in the personal nature of my writing otherwise you wouldn’t be here, right? Anyhow, is it odd that I enjoy so much more driving my old (and sometimes not working) Bronco than the new and rather more comfortable, more powerful, climate controlled Chrysler 300? When I think about it logically it does seem odd, but I guess that’s a heart decision, maybe the bronco just means more to me, like a familiar pair of jeans or an old shirt. It just fits me better. On this Sunday it was beautiful and sunny when I woke up at nearly 8am – that is way sleeping in for me, I’m normally up at 4 or 5am, and if I’m honest it felt great! I decided to hit the Log Cabin. I’d been here before and it was one of my favorite spots on the way to the coast. It has a fantastic menu and is very low key and relaxed. There’s a fantastic history with the place and I’m always anxious to enjoy the drive and talk to the folks who are working there or even the owner Digger. The Log Cabin Restaurant is located along Highway 6 at the far north western corner of the willamette valley on the way to the coast – if you keep going you’ll arrive in Tillamook.
I spent some time talking to Digger today and getting some history on the Log Cabin. It was built in 1933 by the Ray Bateman and his family out of fir logs – because that was what was available in the area and is the best preserved log cabin in Washington County. In the spring of 1942 is was moved to it’s current location. In 1941 there was some constructions happening on the coast and roads were being made from Portland – unfortunately the original Log Cabin location was in exactly the wrong location. The Corps of Engineers needed to get their heavy equipment across the bridges and couldn’t – because the Log Cabin was in the way, so they asked it be moved otherwise it would be demolished. The Bateman’s decided to move it, and once starting moving they did move it – not as far as requested, but then the moving chain broke, exactly where it is currently. They asked the surveyors if it was far enough and it was, luckily. The large fireplace at the west end of the dining room was made by the children of the Bateman family hauling rocks from the local creek and is lit during the cool winter months.
The large sign highly elevated above the road should easily be seen when driving toward the coast. I’ve never seen the parking lot less than half full, so it’s a good thing the sign is so high, anything else and it might be more difficult to see. The Log Cabin is a respectable size from the outside and even with that it seems much larger on the inside. The Log Cabin exterior is bright red painted logs and they are (unlike many “log cabins”) the actual structural and wall elements of this building – and can be seen from the inside and the outside.
Once inside the first thing that you’ll notice is the log cabin theme is continued inside. The saloon style doors beckon visitors and the aromas of slow cooked meats tantalize the palate. The rustic cabin exterior continues inside and the cabin esthetic is genuine as visitors will quickly appreciate. There’s a small gist shop to the right once inside and some counter seating just to the left of the entrance. There’s a long walkway past the counter seating that no doubt gets full when customers are waiting and looking back at the saloon doors as I walk in there’s some seating for folks and also some very conveniently placed menus so folks can figure out what they’d like to order before they are seated. There are about thirty or so seats in ten or twelve tables in addition to the counter.
Of course I never noticed the menus conveniently located and instead spent a while chatting with Digger then went to find a spot. Then I grabbed a menu. First of all something to notice is that breakfast is served all day and it’s fantastic. There is a plethora of options and many are specialties at the Log Cabin. Everything I’ve tried over the eight or nine times I’ve visited has been fantastic. The pulled pork is smoked on site and amazingly tender and succulent.
Luckily they had my favorite, however at the Log Cabin there is a choice. Large or Small Chicken fried steak, the difference being one or two. Well, of course I had to try the large so order it with scrambled eggs (add cheese please) rye toast and crispy hashed browns. Digger the owner – who has owned the place for 12 years told me that his wife prepares the jam – which was caramel spiced pear jam. He also said that the jam sells out before the labels actually get on jars most of the time. My food arrived and it was as amazing at it always has been. Digger let me know that the gravy was homemade. Everything else was exactly as I’d ordered, the eggs were scrambled and had cheese added, the hash browns were crispy (as I’d asked for) and the bread was very artfully arranged. The amazing thing was that I normally never have jam or jelly with my meals, the sugar tends to be too much for me normally, however I decided to try this jam because I thought it was important to Digger. I’m so glad I did. This jam was just fantastic. I would buy a full jar if there was any available. I ended up having 3/4 of my pieces of toast with the jam and wishing I had ordered twice as much!!
Overall I’d give the Log Cabin five HeyWillamettes, it’s a fantastic place to stop on the way to the coast or coming back from the coast along highway 6. The breakfasts are amazing, the staff is friendly and there is plenty of parking. There’s quite a bit of history and if you get a moment to talk to Digger he’ll talk to you about his family’s history around the Log Cabin restaurant too – I don’t want to spoil any of his stories, but they are fascinating.