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Emerald Recommends the dining spots to have your parents take you



It’s nearly graduation season, which means that (a) time to start pretending you’re an adult, except for (b) those times when your folks come to town and you don’t have to foot the bill for dinner.

Today, the Emerald recommends some of the best spots around town to have your parents take you, where you don’t have to carry the anxiety of paying.

Cafe 440 (440 Coburg Rd, Eugene, OR)

Cafe 440 is a great place to show your parents there’s more to Eugene than tater-tots and that one Italian restaurant you’ve taken them to five times already. Its cozy but modern vibes lend to the nature of their menu, encompassing food that is both comforting and unique. With exciting dinner entrees like shrimp & grits and bacon and bleu mac & cheese, along with classics like salmon or steak, it’s got something for everyone and is consistently delicious. Also, if you don’t mind starting dinner early, Happy Hour lasts from 3-6 p.m., which means you can afford to treat your dad to a beer pint for once. –Jordyn Brown

My favorite thing(s) to order:

  • Cilantro Honey Chicken Salad (entrée) “organic spring mix, blackened chicken breast, avocado, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro-honey vinaigrette, crispy tortilla strips, cotija cheese”

Wild Duck Cafe (1419 Villard St, Eugene, OR)

Located directly across from Matthew Knight Arena, this classically styled sports bar is ideal for a quick lunch on a hectic graduation weekend. A variety of burgers, sandwiches and brews make it noteworthy, but it’s the Loaded Pub Fries that must be experienced. While plenty of bars have bacon & cheese covered fries, nobody has quite mastered the formula like Wild Duck. The crisp fries are cooked in duck fat, giving them an irresistible richness. Combined with a heavy dollop of onion sour creme, and it’s an appetizer that steals the show.–Chris Berg

My favorite thing(s) to order:

  • Loaded Pub Fries “Natural cut french fries with melted cheese, bacon and sour cream, served with slider sauce. “

Giant Burger (3760 Main St, Springfield, OR)

If a visit by Guy Fieri’s Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives isn’t enough to validate a pilgrimage to Springfield’s best burger joint, perhaps the gargantuan five-pound burger challenge is. For the hungry and the daring, Giant Burger’s signature challenge is to consume all five pounds of the burger, plus fries and hold it down for ten minutes. For non-competitive eaters, the burger is available to share as a group, just call at least 24 hours in advance.

Other burgers include the “Kitchen Sink” (grilled ham, bacon, grilled mushrooms, onions, Swiss and American cheese,; the “Tiki Nui” (grilled pineapple, grilled ham, teriyaki glaze and smoked cheddar), the “Bacon Bacon Bacon” (self-explanatory) and the “Phat Bubba” (a burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches).

In addition to burgers, there is also a wide variety of sandwiches, hot dogs, homemade shakes and fries. Located about a 15 minute drive from campus, Giant Burger is a choice destination if your parents enjoy greasy food and good burgers. – Craig Wright

My favorite thing(s) to order:

The Bier Stein (1591 Willamette St, Eugene, OR)
If your parents are the type to appreciate a good connoisseur beer and a variety of quality soups, salads and sandwiches, then The Bier Stein bottleshop and pub might be an excellent place to take them.
The Bier Stein provides a beerhall-like experience with a knowledgeable staff who take pride in serving drinks the way they were intended. Beers are served in the appropriate glasses, steins and goblets. Great care is taken by the establishment to ensure they are kept in the best condition possible to keep them fresh and tasting as intended. The beer cooler’s doors even use UV-free LED lights to stop spoilage from light. The establishment has 30 different beers on tap and more than 1000 different bottles available to enjoy and take home afterward. –Mathew Brock
My favorite thing(s) to order:
  • Mac-‘n-Cheese (specialty) – “Spiral pasta baked with our famous Bier Cheese soup and a savory house cheese blend, topped with toasted bread crumbs.”

Chef’s Kitchen (3443 Hilyard St, Eugene, OR)

Bruno’s Chef’s Kitchen is quite the Eugene hidden gem. Nestled in south Eugene, on 34th and Hilyard, the small, yet comfy, restaurant offers a variety of eats for every parent’s picky palate. The kitchen’s menu changes every week, but always offers a few pescatarian and vegetarian dishes along with their meat options. Regular appetizers include gnocchi di parrano, or potato dumplings in cheese sauce, and ahi sashimi kahuna, a spread of lightly seared ahi over a creamy soy and wasabi bechamel sauce. Regular desserts also include creme brulee, chocolate mousse and Bruno’s Road to Hana – white chocolate and mocha swirl homemade ice cream with macadamia nuts, and Godiva liqueur. Bruno’s also offers a great wine and cocktail list. Overall, Chef’s Kitchen serves as a cozy, low-key, yet reasonably fancy spot for a family dinner.–Meerah Powell

My favorite thing(s) to order:

  • Plum Curried Halibut (entree): “Broiled fresh pacific fillet, mild cassis curry, fresh plum chutney and Oregon bay shrimp.”

Party Downtown (64 W 8th Ave, Eugene, OR – behind Red Wagon Creamery)

Party Downtown serves as one of Eugene’s musts for parent-paid dinners. The restaurant offers a slew of both tapas plates and entrees as well as desserts and a fully stocked bar. Party’s menu changes seasonally, but some of its current entrees are braised rabbit leg, “green onion spaetzle, asparagus, morel mushrooms, rabbit mortadella [and] lemon rabbit broth,” and seafood pozole verde, “manilla clams, herbed fish dumplings, roasted Anaheim pepper stew, house hominy, smoked Anaheim cornbread, savoy cabbage [and] lime.” They also offer a kitchen’s choice for $30 a person – “a relaxed multi-course menu sampling for the whole table decided for you by the kitchen.” Regardless of what you order, Party sticks to its name and goes all in on quality.–Meerah Powell

My favorite thing(s) to order:

  • Korean fried king oyster mushroom (smaller plate): “Lapsang souchong tea sauce, fried garlic, thai basil and garlic chive.”

  • Gnocchi tots (appetizer): “organic house made deep fried potato dumplings, banana ketchup and white barbecue sauce.”

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Jordyn Brown

Jordyn Brown