Written by | Derek Carlson

8 Must-Visit Restaurants in Joseph, Oregon

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Joseph, Oregon is so out of the way that, by the time you’ve arrived, you almost feel as if you’ve traveled to another world. For most of the Pacific Northwest just getting there is an adventure in and of itself.

But once you’re there it is so easy to become immersed in the beauty and wonder of this magical corner of Oregon.

The folks who live in Joseph take pride in their town and proximity to the stunning Wallowa mountains and it shows in the passion that goes into their food.

From quaint coffee shops to boutique brunch spots to an authentic Hungarian restaurant that also serves up the area’s best donuts: there is something for everyone and every day of your trip.

Our Favorite Places to Eat in Joseph, Oregon

During our recent visit to Joseph, we had the chance to settle down for a week and sample all the best of what this magical town has to offer.

The Blythe Cricket

The Blythe Cricket Restaurant in Joseph, Oregon

The Blythe Cricket was, hands down, our favorite restaurant in Joseph. We ate here at least 3 times including grabbing a couple of to-go boxes on our way out of town for the long drive back home.

This charming bistro right in the middle of downtown Joseph serves up fresh and tasty breakfast and lunch dishes. While you’re eating you’ll find that this spot is a favorite of visitors and locals alike so don’t be surprised to see just as many tourist t-shirts and techy hiking gear as you do cowboy hats.

The Frittata of the day was a must-try each time we came in. We also loved the corn cakes and hash brown breakfast. Don’t forget to take a look at the pastries made fresh every day while you’re waiting in line to order. You won’t be disappointed!

The Blythe Cricket pastry options in Joseph, Oregon

Vali’s Alpine

Vali’s Alpine Restaurant is a dining institution in Joseph having served up authentic Hungarian food to locals and visitors alike for over 45 years!

Located at the foothills of the Wallowa Mountains, this charming restaurant is only open during the summer season and is one of the more popular spots in town. This means if you’ll be paying a visit to the area make sure to make reservations early!

A few other things to note is that there is only one seating per night, from 6 – 8 pm and the menu is a fixed price offering so what you see for that evening is what you get!

Luckily for you, they serve up some pretty dang good food so no matter what is on the menu for any given night you’ll most likely be in for a treat.

Last but certainly not least is the donuts. Oh man, the donuts.

Every Saturday and Sunday during the summer months you can pick up a box of freshly made donuts from the drive-thru window at Vali’s.

The donuts MUST be ordered in advance though so put in those orders early if you want to get your hand on a box.

Arrowhead Chocolates

Some might call it a stretch to call Arrowhead Chocolates a restaurant. That is unless you can make a meal out of a cookie and a latte. I certainly can so here it stays!

Arrowhead Chocolates in Joseph, Oregon

Arrowhead Chocolates was our go-to coffee shop during our stay in Joseph. Almost any time we drove through town or found ourselves browsing the local shops we had to make a stop for a cup of coffee and a chocolate or two to sample.

Arrowhead specializes in handmade chocolates (try the huckleberry truffle and the local whiskey truffle) but also serves up fresh cookies, pastries, and Stumptown coffee.

It is a great spot to grab a beverage and people watch from the stools lining the large plate glass windows at the front of the shop. You can also watch the chocolatiers at work as they hand-craft their delightful chocolate offerings.

Ember’s Brewhouse

Do you ever have one of those days on vacation where you’ve planned too much and by lunch everyone is already tired and starving and by the time you get to the point of choosing a place to eat everywhere already seems packed?

That was our day in Joseph where the morning was spent exploring the Wallowology History Discovery Center, panning for gold, and riding the rails.

Well past the kids’ breaking point, we stumbled into Ember’s Brewhouse purely because they had the shortest line among the various restaurants in downtown Joseph.

Luckily for us, we were very pleasantly surprised when our food arrived and it was delicious! We were half expecting overpriced and mediocre tourist offerings but, like almost everywhere else in Joseph, they over-delivered.

We were so hungry that we didn’t even have time to snap a photo but the pizza we had was phenomenal and the seating on their outdoor patio was just the respite we needed.

It also helps that Ember’s boasts the largest selection of microbrews in Eastern Oregon!

Wallowa Lake Lodge

The Wallowa Lake Lodge is a must-visit spot in Joseph – even if you’re not staying there! The history and ambiance of this 100-year-old hotel will take you back to a simpler time and for that I found it to be a magical experience.

Wallowa Lake Lodge Restaurant

The lodge offers traditional dining options at the Camas Dining Room, as well as brewpub-style food at The Redd.

One of our favorite evening activities was to walk down to the Lodge from our campsite at Wallowa Lake State Park, order up some snacks and a beer from The Redd, and let the kids run around the expansive lawn while we kicked our feet up in the Adirondack style chairs on the lodge’s outdoor patio.

It really was the perfect way to cap off the day. Many evenings also feature live music out on the lawn so don’t miss out on that!

Khao Neaow Food Cart

As we mentioned earlier, traveling along the roads at the southern edge of Wallowa Lake really feels like stepping back in time.

It reminds me of my youth when we would spend parts of our summers in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Everything in this area has a touristy feel but in a quaint way that doesn’t seem over-commercialized like has happened in many tourist towns.

So it feels slightly out of place when you go from putt-putt golf to ice cream shops to decades-old restaurants to…a Thai food truck?!

Don’t get thrown off by the location though as the food served up at Khao Neaow is outstanding!

This busy food cart serves up all the Thai staples you’ve come to expect and does it at prices that, like almost everywhere else in Joseph, are far less than we expected for a busy tourist area.

If you’re getting tired of the usual burger and pizza fare that is easy to find in the area then this is a must-visit!

Terminal Gravity Brewing

I’m going to cheat a little here on my list and throw in a restaurant from Enterprise, not Joseph. To be fair, from downtown Joseph, it is a shorter drive to Terminal Gravity than it is to Wallowa Lake State Park. And I’ve already included a number of restaurants in that area in this list.

Terminal Gravity Brewpub in Enterprise, Oregon

If you’ve lived in Oregon or the Pacific Northwest for 15 years or more then you probably know of Terminal Gravity IPA. It was one of the OG NW IPAs that was a staple in taprooms around the Pacific Northwest.

Usually, folks were shocked to hear where the brewery was actually located and would make it a point to visit if they were ever in the area. And that’s where I fall on this list.

To our pleasant surprise, Terminal Gravity (the brewpub) lives up to the hype.

We were able to quickly grab a table on the patio during the lunch rush and within 30 seconds our kids had removed their shoes and made their way down to the creek to explore.

We sat and enjoyed a sampling of beer with a TG burger. The kids ordered the kid-sized cheesy chips which were hilariously large. Think of an entire bag of tortilla chips, a can of black beans, and half a loaf of cheese on a half-sheet baking pan.

It made for some happy kids though as they admired the haul laying out in front of them!

Summit Grill

I’ve already mentioned it a few times but we were shocked during our visit to Joseph about how the prices around town were downright cheap compared to what we were used to in Central Oregon.

For such a touristy place we expected everything to be overpriced but this was not the case at all!

A case in point was the Summit Grill at the top of the Wallowa Lake Tramway.

Beers at the Summit Grill at the Wallowa Lake Tramway

We had no intention of eating here but after looking at the menu and realizing that it actually looked pretty good AND affordable we decided to grab a table so that we could enjoy the views for an extra hour or two.

Now granted, the tickets to get up to the top are not cheap, especially for a family of 4, but if you’re already going up then this is a nice way to spend an hour or two.

We shared the meatball sandwich and a salad while the kids wolfed down some mac and cheese. We also enjoyed the beer flight with various Eastern Oregon beers. The Huckleberry ale was a hit!

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