The quiet ascent of a heron and the robust rooster-tail of a waverunner are all in a day’s view at Riverside restaurant, which gained an msn.com ranking for the panorama seen from the expansive deck.
The website ranked Riverside best in Oregon in its “Best Restaurant Views in Each State” listing early this month.
“We’re very honored,” said long-time General Manager Chuck Hinman, adding that “we love the views at both our restaurants. The one at Bridgeside (next to Cascade Locks Best Western) is stunning, too.”
“It is so lovely, we never take it for granted,” said Tina Galli, restaurant manager for the past seven years. Riverside is located in Best Western Plus Hood River Inn, in the Marketplace complex next to the interstate bridge.
This is what msn.com had to say in its listing:
“As early as the mid-1960s, Riverside has been the only waterfront dining option on the Hood River. The ingredients used to make the restaurant’s Italian fare changes every month, but the panoramic views of Columbia River don’t.”
(To clarify, the hotel promotes itself as “the only restaurant and lounge on the river’s edge.” The river is also visible from the interior Cebu Lounge, after recent remodeling. There do exist other waterfront dining options in Hood River, with the advent of Sandbar Cafe and The Downwinder at The Sandbar, Solstice Pizza and pFriem Family Brewing, and the new Kobe Sushi.)
Galli said Riverside diners are treated to the spectacle of eagles swooping down to catch fish from the river, and a family of ducklings making their home on the hotel waterfront.
Hinman cited the time a beaver was seen gnawing on a tree next to west end of the deck. (Protective mesh was added, and it is believed the wayward beaver found his way back home to the Hood River.)
Then there’s Henry the heron, who lives on the small island next to the hotel dock.
“This makes the job so much easier,” said long-time Chef Mark DeResta said of the vista, which takes in the Hood River interstate bridge, Bingen port area, Boudoin Mountain and other Washington hills, basalt cliffs on the Oregon and Washington sides, and in the distance, the drier hills of the Mosier and Lyle areas.
“It’s the unexpected: People might not look at all the photos when they book a room, and then they get here and they come out for breakfast and they see the sun coming up,” DeResta said. “It’s really beautiful here at 6 in the morning.”
(Another way to take in the view is following the Shoreline trail, which runs the full length of the waterfront, and is open to the public, including the stretch directly in front of Best Western Plus. Park at the nearby marina and walk west a quarter-mile, under the bridge. Please respect guests’ privacy.)