The City of Milwaukie's culinary scene has greatly grown in the last few years with a mix of restaurants from high end to homegrown, but all have one things in common; they all strive to serve the freshest ingredients available from local farmers markets and farms in the area.
Many of these restaurants are dotted along Milwaukie's downtown, paralleling the Willamette River just a block or so away. With parklets, heated awnings and umbrellaed tables, there is plenty of outdoor seating tucked in between cute retail shops, or take your food to go and eat it riverside and watch the wildlife and water flow by.
COVID update: At this time, Bob's Red Mill Restaurant & Bakery inside their Wholegrain Store has COVID precautions in place. Their restaurant is open for to-go orders only with curbside service available, and the bakery and espresso bar are open for fresh baked goods and drinks. They also continue to offer daily grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and various other snacks. View their takeout menu online.
Opening its doors in early 2020, Ovation Bistro in downtown Milwaukie is no stranger to innovating and then innovating and then throwing out the playbook and innovating again. This same approach is found in their meals and cocktails. They source their ingredients from local farmers markets (Milwaukie's is amazing!) for creating imaginative, tasty French-Asian fusion dishes. And since early April, they've added dinner service!
Where the Orange MAX Line and Trolley Trail meet at the south end of downtown Milwaukie, you'll know you've reached Milwaukie Station Food Cart Pod when you see several murals covering entire buildings' sides. From BBQ and sandwiches to sushi and Filipino dishes to Greek gyros, there are options to meet your mood. And covered seating makes it possible to eat there or take your food to go year-round.
Across the street from Milwaukie Station, Decibel Sound & Drink is where craft cocktails pair with a well-crafted sound system. The incredible interior atmosphere is an elevated nod to the 70s. And their food is pretty awesome, too! Some local favorites include their deviled eggs, veggie taco and the Edwardo sandwich with house smoked brisket, spicy mayo, pickled red onion and arugula served on toasted ciabatta. It's drool worthy. They also offer food to go, including their cocktails.
Casa de Tamales is not just a restaurant. The owners also run Canby Asparagus Farm, so you can bet you'll find some yummy asparagus options here, including deep fried spears. In fact, most of their ingredients are sourced from their own farm or neighboring farms. Their tamales, mole and chili rellenos are standouts, along with handmade tortillas and homemade salsa. Since tamales are their top speciality, they'll make any custom tamale for you that may not be on their extensive menu.
The Beer Store in downtown's north end offers more than beer. Hard kombucha. Hard seltzer. Cider. Wine. It's all there. But what you might not expect to find is the old PDX Airport carpet, much beloved by locals and anyone taking an airport foot selfie (yes, that's a thing). One of a few carpets with its own Instagram channel, @pdxcarpet now lines The Beer Store's bar. There's also a nice chunk of it where you can place your food or drinks for, yes, a social media photo. For food, they have a whole list of Impossiburgers, plus flatbreads and sandwiches.
With its 50th anniversary this year, Mike's Drive-In has a lot to celebrate. It may be a drive-in, but it's not "fast food." Everything is made to order, which takes a bit longer, but they feel you're worth it. From their half-pound steak burger and buffalo burger to their milkshakes featuring local berries, they know how to make your mouth water. And don't forget to take advantage of their year-round happy hour Mon-Thurs from 2:30-4:30 with $6 burgers plus fries or tots!
Opened in spring 2020, Ma-Kin Thai & Sushi has quickly become THE place for fresh flavorful Thai dishes and sushi rolls in the Milwaukie and Oak Grove area. They have the expected classic dishes, of course, but you'll also find specialty items like Nam Tok Moo, grilled pork neck and mixed salad in spicy lime sauce and half a BBQ chicken made with a house sauce! You'll even find some must-try Japanese dishes, such as the salmon skin salad with crispy salmon skins. And speaking of specials, when looking through their extensive list of special sushi rolls, don't miss the Milwaukie Roll with smoked salmon, cream cheese, asparagus, avocado and seared salmon on top. Yum!
Opened in early 2021, Milwaukie Pizza Co. is a new pizza restaurant using the freshest and best ingredients to bring their favorite pizzas to you. For example, they use Shepherd's Grain flour, which is grower-owned and focused on the sustainability of the soil. They can look at their bags of flour and enter the code on the side to find their growers on Shepherd's website. Pretty neat! Oh, and they also make their own cookies.
Tucked away on unassuming 32nd Ave, Milwaukie Café and Bottle Shop is the hidden gem every city needs, located in a nondescript stucco building that would be easy to miss were it not for the large, colorful mural adorning its side wall by Jerry Schmidt and the North Clackamas Arts Guild. Homemade biscuits, brisket and collards and polenta bowls (using Bob's Red Mill polenta, of course!) are their specialties. Tip: Pesto sauce on most any of the bowls is amazing!
Gramma's Corner Kitchen is the place to go when you, well, wanna feel like you're dining at your own relative's house. This family-owned restaurant uses fresh ingredients and Gramma's family recipes for tasty meals every time. Their in-house baker makes a combination of classic homemade pies, cakes and pastries mixed with her creative custom recipes to keep you wanting more. They also do what they can to support the local community and always offer free coffee to anyone who brings in a can of food for them to donate. (Coffee is always free for veterans.)
Voodoo Doughnut is as known for its long lines and wait times in SE Portland as it is for its unconventional doughnuts and pink boxes. But we have a secret we're willing to spill. Voodoo has a new location in Oak Grove, just outside of Milwaukie on Highway 99 that is not packed to the gills. No lines, just awesome doughnuts, such as one featuring Captain Crunch, the popular bacon maple bar, the iconic Voodoo Doll filled with raspberry jelly and even one highlighting Tang.
With its popular beginnings in SE Portland, Clay's Smokehouse Grill grew its catering business enough to require a different location, a most adorable Quonset hut just outside of Milwaukie. Lucky for us, they still serve takeout four days a week. As they like to say, they've been offering "love and smoke and rubs since 1998!" And Clay's Smokehouse isn’t just for carnivores; they offer vegetarian friends a lot of love, too.