Words by Delaney Rea | Photo by Michaela Barnes
Of all the Eugene districts and neighborhoods, the Whiteaker is perhaps the single most bustling and diverse in terms of the restaurants it plays host to. While you won’t find the cheapest eats in town here, the Whiteaker (commonly referred to as “the Whit”) is a great destination for finer dining, detours from familiar taste palates and turning any dinner into an event. It should be mentioned that the Whit isn’t quite the same since the closing of one particularly iconic eatery; R.I.P. Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen.
This isn’t your grandparents’ taco joint. If it is, you have some seriously food-enlightened elders. Tacovore boasts a menu of delicious Mexican food creations, with menu staples like the Old E (Guero) and Tempeh Chorizo sharing space with daily taco specials of high culinary creativity. They also offer a full bar with some of the best seasonal margaritas around and a selection of house-made sauces that will tickle your tastebuds and burn your mouth to the ground. PSA: Tacovore’s line may look long, but it’s worth the wait.
530 Blair Blvd. Open Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
When you’re looking for a meal that comes with served less environmental guilt, Grit is the way to go. Occupying the Whit’s historic Shamrock House, Grit is a community-based, farm-to-table style restaurant. Each dish, including favorites like the Butternut Squash & Mascarpone Risotto and Pork Shoulder Ravioli are made from scratch using locally-sourced ingredients and animal products from exclusively pastured animals. By partnering with local companies like Ninkasi, Newman’s Fish Market and more, Grit is firmly rooted in the community.
1080 W 3rd St. Open Thu-Sat 5-10 p.m., Tues, Wed, Sun 5-9 p.m. and closed Monday.
The laid-back, relaxing atmosphere of traditional Japanese izakaya taverns meets the rustic tones of American Western decor. Izakaya Meiji offer a seasonal menu of Japanese comfort foods and small tapas-style plates like that are ideal for snacking on while enjoying one of their signature cocktails, such as the Bourbon & Ginger or the Meiji Mule. With more dynamic cocktails and an extensive bar menu, Izakaya Meiji is the perfect venue for enjoying a round of late-night drinks with friends.
345 Van Buren St. Open seven days per week, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Craft beer and food trucks: it’s a pairing for the ages. Beergarden takes the coupling to new heights with their business model, which hosts a beer menu so extensive it’s intimidating and four locally-owned food trucks, each with their own distinct style. The Zingaro offers out-of-the-box specialties; Once Famous brings southern food cooking up north; Moi Poki whips up mouthwatering Poke bowls; Lani Moku Grill serves up Hawaiian kine grinds; Bounty Meat & Cheese cuts up select artisanal bounties of the season, and Coffeegarden is the caffeine-fueled cousin of the main establishment. Bottom line: whatever beer and drink combo you have in mind, you’ll likely find it at Beergarden.
777 W 6th Ave. Open Sun-Thu 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Fri-Sat 11 a.m. to midnight.
With an inconspicuous presence that’s easy to miss, Mame is the definition of hole-in-the-wall in terms of appearance. However, what you’ll find on the inside is anything but pedestrian. This restaurant has a world-class sushi menu, excellent service and an enviable selection of sake. Reservations are a must at Mame, so plan ahead if you;re planning a date night here. With a menu of arguably the best sushi in town, it won’t be easy on the wallet—but if you call yourself a sushi fanatic, Mame is a must-try.
541 Blair Blvd. Open seven days per week, 5-10:30 p.m.
Chao Pra Ya Thai Cuisine
This is the Whiteaker’s prime Thai food spot. Chao Pra Ya Thai Cuisine is a low-profile locale with Thai standard dishes like curry, soup and noodle dishes that are more high-profile. Next time you feel like stepping away from the right-by-campus Thai routine of Sweet Basil Express and Tasty Thai, Chao Pra Ya is a great choice for Thai dining.
580 Adams St. Open Tues-Thurs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. & 4:30-9 p.m., Fri 11 a.m.-3 p.m. & 4:30-10 p.m., Saturday 12-10 p.m., Sunday 12-9 p.m. and closed Monday
Sam Bond’s Garage
More than just a cafe and pub, Sam Bond’s is one of Eugene’s many music venues. Their stage hosts musicians of all genre persuasions, from jazz and blues to folk. Come for the music and stay for their menu of pizza, paninis, appetizers and more.
407 Blair Blvd. Open seven days per week, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.
Placido’s Pasta Shop
Placido’s: “Where old-world flavors meet new-world tastes.” A comfortable environment with recipes that focus on sustainability and organic practices, Placido’s is another Whiteaker restaurant with a firm grasp on ecologically friendly cooking. Their pastas are certified organic-fresh, and your appetite will be certified satisfied after a meal at Placido’s
150 Shelton Mcmurphey Blvd #103. Open Tues-Fri 11 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5-9 p.m., Sat-Sun 5-9 p.m. and closed Monday