Justin Willis – Chef and Forest Forager:

Justin Wills was born and raised a world away from his current home on the Oregon Coast. Growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, he was more likely to eat pork than foraged edibles. But by 12, Wills knew he wanted to be a chef, and at 17 he was enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. Today, as chef/co-owner of Restaurant Beck, overlooking Whale Cove in Depoe Bay, Wills has quickly risen to the top ranks of Oregon’s food scene. Here are a few of his tips for exploring his part of Oregon:

Start your day:
Try Kristina’s Specialty Stuffed French Toast at the Beach Dog Cafe in Lincoln City, then rent some crab traps and toss them in nearby Siletz Bay.

Can’t-miss dinner:
Marché in Eugene is a state treasure, and founder Stephanie Kimmel has been a leader in Oregon’s culinary scene since the 1970s. Anything from their wood-fired oven is worth the trip.

Unique sleeps:
The only thing more stunning than the ocean views at the Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B in Yachats is their seven-course Oregon Bounty breakfast.

Grab your camera:
My hometown of Depoe Bay is like a postcard, from the fishing boats heading out of the world’s smallest harbor to the crashing waves of Whale Cove right out my window.

Meet the maker:
As a chef, I visit local farms or go foraging to really see and handpick the products I use. One of my favorites is Barking Dog Farms, a short beautiful drive up the Siletz River near Salishan.

You’ve gotta see this:
I love to hike with my family around Drift Creek Falls in the Coast Range east of Lincoln City. Look closely in the autumn and you might spot some Chanterelles peeking out of the forest floor.

A treat worth driving out of your way:
On the way back to Portland, veer off at McMinnville and drop in at Thistle. Chef Eric Bechard sources everything local and his preparations are divine.

Want some inspiration to help create your own tasty trail? Download our Trails To Feast booklet featuring seven culinary paths throughout Oregon.

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In this Itinerary

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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Share your thoughts Comments

Have something to say? Your Comment

  1. Liz Scruggs says…

    I love the trail and bridge to Drift Creek Falls. Take your lunch. There was a great table at the bottom.

    Written on May 29th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  2. Charles & Pamala Forsyth says…

    Let’s go out in our Oregon Backyard and go have some Oregon Fun. Thanks for the INFO on going Camping in our Oregon backyard (Good Day to all in our Oregon Backyard) 07/12/21

    Written on July 12th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  3. Bee says…

    Great site and information

    Written on July 12th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  4. DAve Lines says…

    Love Drift Creek Falls, but I usually go east of Lincoln City to get to it.

    Written on July 19th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  5. larry says…

    sporthaven resturant, the clam chowder bowl. port ordfords redfish. tony,s crab shack in bandon. newport try the new place that looks at the marina.

    Written on July 19th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  6. Michael White says…

    Oregon is so beautiful. A couple of years ago I decided to see the remote southeastern part of Oregon and was truly amazed. Every part of Oregon is unique and beautiful in its own way.

    Written on August 16th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
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