By Patrick Newson

Summer in Eugene is all about being outside, and that includes eating and drinking around town. The past several years have seen a proliferation of gustatory hubs, often the product of a shared space between a food cart and a beverage producer, which is an easy setup for the perfect pairing. Many of these large outdoor spaces offer protection from the elements, so keep this guide close at hand all season.

Coldfire Brewing
Just on the south side of the Ferry Street Bridge, Coldfire Brewing has set up an impressive food and beverage scene, featuring some of the best new bites in Eugene. The brewery and public house has continued to supply a great array of fresh West Coast IPAs as well as a fantastic selection of seasonal releases. The large back patio has many tables for large or small groups and is tucked away off the street and near a city park. Food trucks include Yardy (, specializing in West Indian dishes like skillet fried chicken, doubles (fried flatbreads), and a wide variety of rotating sides, toppings, and sauces. Paper Plate Barbeque ( offers smoked meats, including a particularly excellent brisket. A new cart, Yabai Nikkei (, is inspired by international Japanese cuisine, especially street food. The slang “yabai” used to mean scary but now signifies “crazy delicious!” Recommendation: A Northwest-style IPA. 236 Mill Street,

Oakshire Brewing
Oakshire, an institution of local brewing, has been operating this tap house and tasting room for close to a decade. The beers are a rotating variety of seasonal and experimental brews along with the steady classics like the Amber Ale and Watershed IPA that have come to define the brand. They brew using clean, fresh water from the McKenzie River, and gives 1% of Watershed IPA sales revenue to our local watershed protection groups. Food options shift each day, but one of the regulars is the Nosh Shop( featuring egg rolls, from fresh to savory to the delightful not-quite-sweet Monte Cristo roll served with a raspberry dipping sauce. Another is Pizzeria DOP (, a roving wood-burning oven operated by a long-time Eugene culinary fixture, Rocky Maselli. Close proximity to the half-acre city-owned Owen Rose Garden make this a perfect pre- or post-stroll destination for a cold pint and tasty bite. Recommendation: One of several rotating hazy IPAs and a cheesesteak Nosh Roll. 207 Madison Street,

Oregon Wine Lab
Come down to the delightful covered patio and naturally shaded street seating available at the Oregon Wine LAB. LAB stands for Local Artisan Brands, and along with the on-site bottlings from William Rose Wines, the wine bar regularly pours from a list of small producers in the area. Typically there are more than a dozen different wines to try, including some from Europe or Australia that inspired the house styles. “The whole intention of this place is to be a relaxed, chill community, somewhere to grab a drink and come get some food that is fresh and delicious,” says owner Mark Nicholl. Almost since LAB’s inception in 2013, Da Nang Vietnamese Eatery (@danangeatery) has been parked right by the front door, serving up fantastic banh mi and rice or noodles. As the summer progresses, look for more patio programming with music and events. Recommendation: William Rose Riesling plus a vermicelli salad. 488 Lincoln Street,

The Friendly Garden

While this is not a tasting room destination, they do have a tasting menu here. This bustling food cart pod developed during the pandemic as an organic response to the needs and desires of the neighborhood, says Jason Elmendorf, one of the co-owners of Fruit & Vine (@fruitandvinecart), the cider and beer cart that anchors the patio project. Over the past few years, more carts have moved in under the big covered tent, because “low overhead allows for accessibility as an incubator for new business experiments.” These experiments include the fresh addition of Uumami Mediterranean (, a new endeavor from some kitchen staff of the now-closed but very popular classic Italian restaurant Excelsior. In addition, a full schedule of music in the garden is on track for the summer, providing a great low-key vibe that represents the Friendly Street neighborhood. Recommendation: Tuna poke from Masa’s “Yatai” by Kamitori (@masasyatai) and a seasonal berry cider. 2758 Friendly Street,

Thinking Tree Spirits
Right at the gates of the Whiteaker neighborhood, just a block from the nexus of restaurants and nightlife on Blair Boulevard, Thinking Tree Spirits has emerged as a vibrant destination for the neighborhood, whether you’re getting the evening started or finishing with a nightcap.  Open to the public since 2016, the distillery focuses on craft gin, vodka, and rum. A series of community events and concerts featuring local musicians is scheduled throughout the summer at this great outdoor spot, and they have a wide variety of to-go cocktails available as well. Pivoting during Covid allowed for an opportunity to look inward and expand both the tasting room and the large dog-friendly outdoor patio area and pollinator garden, which now features a regularly rotating array of food trucks like Irie Jamaican Kitchen (, Squacho’s Gourmet Chili & Nachos (@squachos), and Sammitch ( Recommendation: The “Bees Knees” (a gin-focused collaboration with local honey supplier Glory Bee, with some proceeds going to a save the bees initiative) and fried plantains from Irie Jamaican Kitchen. 88 Jackson Street,