Crook County has seen an increase in outdoor dining venues as weather becomes more moderate and COVID restrictions relax

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Forest Carbaugh, left, and Stanley Flynn enjoy an afternoon meal on the patio at Dillon's Grill the first week of reopening outside dining and takeout.

When the restaurants in Crook County were closed in November, the impact was far-reaching—to businesses, to restaurant staff, and of course, to customers.

As the weather eases into spring, outdoor dining has become more desirable, and the option is ramping up in Crook County. However, several restaurants have chosen to wait until the restrictions ease up enough to offer indoor dining. Barney Prine's Steakhouse, the Horseshoe Tavern and the Waterhole Saloon are closed until restrictions relax enough to allow diners to eat indoors.

Indoor dining has opened up at 25% capacity in Deschutes County, and restaurants in Crook County are hoping to be close behind. Local metrics are right on the cusp of meeting the requirements for indoor dining.

After a long hiatus, the staff at Dillon's Grill was ecstatic about getting back to business and serving their customers—although it was limited to outdoor dining and takeout.

"It is so amazing, just being able to see all the regulars and guests again is huge," exclaimed Dillon's Grill General Manager Erin Keaffaber. "My staff is loving it, and it's like the first day of school. It's warmed my heart."

The first week that Dillon's Grill reopened their door, a group of outdoor dining patrons enjoyed a sunny afternoon in Dillon's outdoor dining area. Keaffaber said that outside dining has been popular so far. Although lunches are quieter, dinner has been incredibly busy.

Club Pioneer reopened on Monday, Feb. 22 for takeout and outdoor dining.

"It's cozy, but dress warm," commented owner Jim Roths.

He added that they have heat sources in their outdoor dining area at Club Pioneer.

"People are ready to get out and socialize and see their friends again," Keaffaber said. "I have missed my job. We socialize for a living, so having that taken away has put a lot of us off kilter, so getting to come back has been amazing."

Also offering outdoor dining is Ron's Comfort Food at the Meadow Lakes clubhouse. They offer a scenic view that is hard to compete with, with seating and umbrellas for patrons who wish to stay on the premises to enjoy their food. They also offer takeout and are open Thursday through Sunday.

Crossroads also offers outdoor dining when the weather allows. They are open seven days per week, and they offer lottery and takeout as well. Their flowers that grace their entrance in fair weather offer a nice atmosphere for outdoor dining.

A number of local restaurants are offering patio dining, and one even accommodates customers with a waggy tail. The Dawg House is open seven days per week, and they offer their patio anytime during business hours to their customers.

Tastee Treet is still an icon in Prineville, with covered seating on the west side of the restaurant, and tables and chairs in front. They offer takeout and outdoor dining Monday through Friday until 8 p.m. and Saturday until 6 p.m.

Crooked River Brewing offers a fire pit and a 4-foot heater under a covered area for outdoor diners. They are open for outdoor diners until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Sons of Beer, a sister business to the Horseshoe Tavern, offers a menu of burgers and appetizers, along with daily specials. They also offer 19 beers on tap and 15 microbeers. They have offered indoor dining throughout the winter months and recently began offering lottery inside once more.

The Sandwich Factory remains as one of the distinct outdoor dining venues, with a patio on their roof when the weather allows. Because the stairs are partially exposed to the elements, the patio is only open in fair weather. There are always a couple of tables and chairs available in the front to eat or wait for takeout.

McBain's Fish, a food cart on Southwest Third Street, has a tent with a large heater set up for their patrons who wish to stay and eat on their premises. The Press Food Cart, located on Fairview Street, offers paninis and salads Tuesday through Saturday and have a nice relaxing area to sit and eat.

Other food carts with outdoor dining include Creekside Food Court on Northeast Third Street next to Ochoco Creek. There are a number of picnic tables in the grassy area near the food carts, where hungry customers can sit and visit or just enjoy some quiet time outside while they devour the savory dishes available at the food carts.

For coffee lovers, Prineville has four venues to sit outdoors and enjoy coffee and treats. Foundry 4 Coffee and Whiskey has a small outdoor area for some leisurely time to savor that cup of coffee. To get some treats with your coffee where you can sit and relax, Friends Expresso, Starbucks and Prineville Coffee Company are all good venues for coffee and food.


Outdoor dining hours by venue

Dillon's Grill: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Seven days per week

Club Pioneer: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday. 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Ron's Comfort Food: Thursday-Sunday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Crossroads BBQ Pit and Pub: Seven days per week, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Dawg House: Seven days per week; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Crooked River Brewing: seven days per week: noon to 9 p.m., except until 10 Friday-Sunday.

Tastee Treet: Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Sons of Beer: Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.Monday-Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m. -10 p.m.

McBains Fish and Chips: Tuesday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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