In other years, we’ve put out our annual Restaurant Guide earlier in the season, giving locals and tourists alike a guide to what’s good to eat in Central Oregon. This year, everything is different. Restaurants and bars continue to grapple with new and changing regulations, with customers who might not be ready to comply, and with a global supply chain disruption that means rice may be on the menu one day, but off the next.
In this difficult year, our editorial board made the call to do our Restaurant of the Year awards a little different. Our Restaurant of the Year gets its distinction not just for the food and atmosphere, but also for the way it’s giving back. Not able to fully experience the brick-and-mortar restaurants that have opened this year in the same way we would other years, we’ve opted not to award a Rookie Restaurant of the Year. (Restaurants opened this year will be eligible for next year’s Rookie award!)
Food carts, on the other hand, are among the food establishments able to operate in a more “normal” way, so with that, we’ve selected two standouts to win a “tie” Rookie Food Cart of the Year. In a weird, uncertain world, this is our way of giving a hand up to the food service industry in Central Oregon.
So use this Restaurant Guide when you’re craving something new, and enjoy our local establishments in the way that feels safest to you!