The Newbergundian’s Sean and Noelle McKee with their toddler, Eleanora Louise. ##Photo by Rusty Rae

Bite into Newberg

New restaurants add to city’s rising reputation

By Mark Stock

While several wine country towns dot the Willamette Valley landscape, Newberg is quickly becoming one of the finest places to dine. With its foundation resting on the likes of Chef Allen Routt’s The Painted Lady and Jory at The Allison Inn & Spa, two the state’s highest rated restaurant experiences, the city’s food scene just grows bigger and better.

Several weeks ago, with very little fanfare, Honey Pie opened its doors. While hidden from plain sight in a back alley off College Street, Jeff Skinner’s Newberg pizza joint is arguably the best in wine country, turning out a small family of simple yet extremely tasty pies.

Honey Pie, Newberg ##Photo by Mark Stock

On a hot June afternoon, the Honey Pie crew is working on cooling their space. Between dealing with phone orders and prepping the kitchen, they futz with garage doors, trying to find a crosswind. It’s not happening, but it doesn’t really matter. The stuffy climate only adds to the New York feel of the place. People file in, toasting the early-onset of summer with a cool drink and a slice.

Pizzas are prepped and placed neatly into the restaurant’s pantry-like oven. Chatter of house-made sourdough used in an experimental pizza has the staff gathered around for a taste. They each grab a triangle, fold it in half and examine the results. It’s part of the beauty of a young establishment eager to impress.

Honey Pie’s pizza is New Haven in style, with thin crust that’s coal-fired. There’s a perfect slight char to it, adding cracking texture and a hint of bitterness. A half dozen or so are available, including a weekly offering and three by-the-slice options. The slices, by the way, are colossal, a quarter-pie in size.

The eponymous pie is a wonderful mash-up of sweet and savory. It blends olive oil, honey, mozzarella, oregano, Parmesan, pecorino Romano and chili flakes. Pauly’s Pie is a hearty, red sauce-based riff with Italian sausage, olives, Calabrian chiles, mozzarella and parsley. Scallops, mushroom and even pork belly find their way onto a few of the other options. There are a couple of salads as well, including a fantastic Caesar, perfect for a hot summer day.

In terms of drinks, a small draft list features local breweries like Wolves & People. The wine list is equally concise, with a few inexpensive European glass pours and various bottles of Chianti, Arneis, Chardonnay and more.

Honey Pie represents only one player in a surprisingly robust Newberg food scene. The small town of 25,000 is starting to catch up to the vibrant wine culture it inhabits, bringing everything from Italian, French, Northwest and more to the table. Whether you’re looking for a casual bite in between wine tastings or an indulgent menu, Newberg has more options that you might think.

Chef Dario Pisoni, Rosmarino, Newberg ##Photo by Rusty Rae

Down the road, Rosmarino offers Northern Italian cuisine. Named after the herb, the osteria hosts weekly fixed-menu dinners on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. The five-course affairs focus on homemade pastas and traditional Ligurian dishes and feature a different local winery each night. The recipes are rumored to come from the private cookbook of the grandmother of the owner, Dario Pisoni. Rosmarino, born in 2015 near Carlton under the name Agrivino, only recently relocated to Newberg.

The Newbergundian Bistro is also relatively new to the neighborhood. Chef Sean McKee and his wife, Noelle, opened the restaurant in the summer of 2018 on the north end of town. The couple categorizes their menu as French-inspired American, with starters ranging from croquettes and charcuterie to oysters Rockefeller. The entrées present a mix of New and Old World, including steak frites, fish and chips, roasted chicken with lemon jus, and the classic Provencal fish stew, otherwise known as Bouillabaisse.

The interior vibe feels cozy with exposed rafters giving the place a slightly rustic atmosphere. A long L-shaped bar winds around the open kitchen, perfect for customers who enjoy watching the French-trained chef prepare your food. Add a glass of local wine, beer or even kombucha on tap to complete the experience.

Now, the following restaurants have been serving diners for a while now, but they are worth mentioning again and are essential to the build-up of Newberg’s restaurant reputation.

Subterra continues to delight diners in the underground restaurant with its cellar-like experience and European-kissed Northwest cuisine. Chef Martin Bleck prepares entrées like the fresh-made spaetzle with baby kale and hazelnut pesto, and seared duck breast with hazelnut wild rice and a huckleberry reduction. Wife Janet Bleck keeps the wine program impressive with hand-selected local wines and international selections, too. The nine-year-old restaurant also offers beer and classic cocktails.

There’s elevated pub grub to be enjoyed at Ruddick/Wood. The tavern specializes in addictive bites like deviled eggs with smoked trout roe and housemade pickles. The burger is quite good, made of lamb and beef on a brioche bun while the large plates are satisfying and wine friendly. For cocktails, there’s hardly a better spot in town, and the beer and wine program is definitely Oregon-centric.

Chef Allen Routt’s sibling restaurant, Storrs Smokehouse, is much more down to earth. The barbecue joint touts great brisket, homemade ice cream and some of the best sauce on the market that utilizes local Pinot Noir. It’s a casual, wet-nap kinda place with standout slow-cooked meats and a limited daily run of biscuits and gravy.

 Newberg welcomed Recipe back to its original Victorian home of a venue late last year. While the spell without the French-inspired restaurant was tough for locals and wine country tourists alike, it did spawn the second location. Recipe Part Deux is still at it, turning out strong smaller plates in a neighborhood bar setting.

The original Recipe continues to draw a steady crowd, hungry for Chef Paul Bachand’s duck liver mousse, chicken fried trout and crispy pork belly pica-pau. Like Nick’s in nearby McMinnville, it’s a great place to savor a local meal and overhear winemakers talking up a vintage or vineyard managers discussing crop yields. And like The Painted Lady, there’s something special about dining in a bona-fide home.

Having a few food carts is practically a requirement these days, and Newberg touts a small pod. Ricky’s Tacos is among them, a tasty and approachable lunch and dinner stop in a parking lot off of Howard Street. There’s plenty of bang for your buck, especially on Tuesdays, when you can land three tacos for a mere five-spot.

Back at Honey Pie, the heat lingers, but the pizza is good. Locals shuffle in to explore the new digs and are noticeably impressed by the neat layout, brick facade and the somewhat imposing pronghorn and bison heads hanging on the walls, watching over the kitchen. It feels a little like a saloon, in that regard, minus the fistfights and gambling. About the only wagering going on here is personal, as patrons quietly estimate how many quarter-pizza slices they’re capable of putting away.

Restaurant Details

The Painted Lady

201 S. College St., Newberg

Jory at The Allison

2525 Allison Ln., Newberg

Honey Pie

112.5 S. College St., Newberg

Rosmarino Osteria Italiana

714 E. First St., Newberg

The Newbergundian Bistro

203 Villa Rd., Newberg


1505 Portland Rd., Newberg


720 E. First St., Newberg

Storrs Smokehouse

310 E. First St., Newberg


115 N. Washington St., Newberg

Recipe Part Deux

602 E. First St., Newberg


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