by Allen Cox | Photo © Oregon Electric Station
Historic train depots evoke the romance and adventure of train travel a century ago. Many of the old structures have been re-purposed as museums, shops and even restaurants. Oregon has three historic depots-turned-restaurants that not only serve up some fine cuisine, but also a hearty portion of history. All are locally owned and operated.
Terrebonne Depot Restaurant, Terrebonne
From 1911 to 1938, the Oregon Trunk Passenger Depot sat across the tracks from its present location in Central Oregon’s community of Terrebonne. Then it was moved to its present location and a second story added. After playing a crucial role in Central Oregon’s growth, the depot sat derelict throughout much of the second half of the 20th century. Beginning in 2005, the current owners completed an award-winning renovation, repurposing as much of the original materials as possible.
Today, the casual, come-as-you-are Terrebonne Depot serves contemporary comfort cuisine made from scratch, showcasing the seasonal bounty and distinct flavors of the Cascades. Tip: Try the locally cured pork belly lettuce wraps, a delicious hands-on appetizer, followed by a perfectly prepared ribeye with green peppercorn butter.
Find more information about Terrebonne Depot at terrebonnedepot.com. For information about visiting Central Oregon, go to visitcentraloregon.com.
Porter’s Train Station Restaurant, Medford
Medford was a hub of southern Oregon railroad transportation in one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. In 1910, befitting the city’s status, a new brick depot was constructed. During the depression and throughout the 20th century, rail service declined and so did Medford’s depot. Fortunately, restaurateurs came to the rescue and renovated the historic structure, saving as many architectural elements and details as possible. Today’s Porter’s is named to honor the on-board railroad employees who, over more than a century, have served rail passengers.
The menu at Porter’s takes advantage of ingredients sourced from this agriculturally rich region. The chef’s daily specials are always worth a look, but the varied regular menu has something for every mood, from casual to fine cuisine. Tip: For a true taste of the region, order Grilled Oregon Pork Tenderloin, prepared in apple-brine and served with Rogue Creamery blue cheese and Hillcrest Orchard Pear wine demi-glace.
For reservations, visit porterstrainstation.com. For information about visiting Medford, go to travelmedford.org.
Oregon Electric Station, Eugene
This building is a remarkable piece of Oregon history. Built in 1912, it served the burgeoning electric railroad line that redefined communities in the Willamette Valley. The line was in its golden period until 1925 and then began to decline. The building has since served many purposes, and the present owners have meticulously restored it based on the original station designs.
The Oregon Electric Station Restaurant’s many rooms and train cars make it an excellent facility for group dining from small parties to large events. It specializes in five to six fresh catches of the day, and the fresh sheet is very popular with regulars. Tip: If you’re hungry for beef and in the mood for an old favorite, go with the prime rib; it’s perfectly seasoned, slow-roasted for six hours and served daily.
For more information, visit oesrestaurant2.drupalgardens.com. For information about visiting Eugene, go to eugenecascadescoast.com.