Cheeseburger in Paradise: A postcard from summer at Elk Lake Resort | Chow | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Food & Drink » Chow

Cheeseburger in Paradise: A postcard from summer at Elk Lake Resort

With potential for the madcap hijinks of Meatballs (think Wet Hot American Summer if you were born too late for that reference), the nostalgic romance

by

comment

With potential for the madcap hijinks of Meatballs (think Wet Hot American Summer if you were born too late for that reference), the nostalgic romance of Dirty Dancing and the serenity of On Golden Pond, Elk Lake provides the ultimate backdrop for the full lineup of classic cinematic summer fantasies. You can't help but imagine the Brady Bunch pulling up in a Winnebago or catching a glimpse of the twins from The Parent Trap scheming to get rid of dad's fiancée with a tentful of honey. Surrounded by a forest of giant ponderosa pines with snow-capped Mt. Bachelor looming to the east and the Three Sisters to the north, Elk Lake and the resort that bears its name is the very picture of Americana.


The water, still and deliciously swimmable, is dotted with canoes, fishing boats, pontoons and paddleboards, all of which are for rent in the marina. The cabins and campsites that comprise the resort house a range of travelers from folks on their family vacations and older couples to Portland hipsters down for the weekend to smirk at the kitschy charm of the main lodge. Under relatively new management, an effort is also being made to bring in local crowds. Less than an hour from downtown Bend and a beautiful straight shot along the Cascade Lakes Highway, it's the ideal getaway when getaway time is limited. With a general store, ice-cream parlor, full bar and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an afternoon happy hour, locals night Thursday and live music on weekend evenings, the main lodge is a daytripper's paradise. Pop in and out of the water between refreshments or just kick back with a frosty cocktail on the porch overlooking the marina and watch the action down below.

You probably wouldn't make the trip for the food alone, but the kitchen is certainly nothing to dismiss. Although the mounted Elk heads, old snow shoes and skis above the doorways, football paraphernalia and log-cabin construction portray a highly masculine hunting lodge feel, the menu is lighter and healthier than you'd think, and local and sustainable ingredients are used whenever possible. If you arrive early enough, traditional meat and egg breakfasts ($9), as well as breakfast sandwiches ($7 - $9) and breakfast burritos ($10) feature natural chicken sausage, hardwood bacon and bagels from Hurricane Bakery.

The full menu, available until 8 p.m., includes a selection of attractive salads like the Summit Spinach ($10) with organic baby spinach, avocado, scallions, bacon bits, cranberries and roasted sunflower seeds and the Basecamp Beet ($11), roasted beets, goat cheese, pear slices and Strictly Organic roasted hazelnuts in a balsamic reduction. Gourmet sandwiches and wraps like the Thai Peanut Wrap ($12) with hand-pulled roast chicken, scallions, carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, onions and peanut sauce and the Tuscan Chicken sandwich ($12) with grilled chicken breast, mozzarella, roasted red pepper and homemade tapenade stand alongside more straightforward sandwich options, as well as pizzas available by the slice or pie. Considering the surroundings, I felt the need to go classic Americana all the way and ordered a burger. I did the right thing. Simple and served in a plastic basket with fries, the NW Mushroom Burger was a juicy half-pound hand-pressed patty of Oregonian all-natural beef topped with sautéed organic northwest mushrooms, Swiss cheese and garlic aioli.

I was sitting at the bar on a Friday afternoon, and noticed the chef putting some amazing-looking baby-back ribs, available after 1 p.m. every Saturday (half rack, $17; full rack, $28), into the smoker on the deck. There's nothing I hate to miss more than smoky meats, so I'll be sure to plan appropriately next time. Also known for winter activities including snowmobiling and CAT skiing, Elk Lake can be enjoyed year-round. But for me, now is the time to visit and live out all your nostalgic summer dreams.

Elk Lake Resort

60000 SW Century Drive,
480-7378. Breakfast, lunch and
dinner daily, 8am - 8pm

Add a comment

More by The Source Staff