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Eugene, OR: open new year's day/evening?

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  • hc489 Dec 31, 2007 08:14 PM
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1. My parents are in town and insist on taking me, my husband and my 2 year old out to dinner on Jan 1. Any suggestions for something kid-friendly and open?

And since I'm on here, any other restaurant suggestions for

2. an authentic Cantonese restaurant (maybe even with dim sum?)

3. places to go with, or without kids? The most recent Eugene posts date from several years ago.

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  1. hah good luck finding anything good, especially Chinese. At best I can recommend P.F. Chang's on Coburg Rd at Oakway Mall. That's the best quality Chinese you'll find in town, the rest is all really cheap mediocre deep fried crap. (make reservations!) Before Chang's opened we used to eat at Louie's Village, which was palatable though not authentic. Other than that, for kids, I'd just go to place like the Roadhouse Grill at Gateway Mall, or the Outback. Easy, family restaurants with something for everyone.

    1. Eugene is not a foodie place, it totally sucks here.

      No dim sum.

      You might try calling Sweet Basil on Pearl to see if they will be open on the first. Lucky Noodle on 5th street might be interesting and some folks like the Ring of Fire (I don't).

      I second the suggestion as to PF Chang's, pretty bad when that is the best alternative.

      3 Replies
      1. re: duck833

        There are several recent extensive threads on Eugene, so I'm not sure why you just found old ones (I always have weird glitches on the Chowhound search, though). Man, what's with the chain restaurant recommendations??? PF CHangs is mediocre and very overpriced...And then Roadhouse Grill and Outback? Eugene may not be a food mecca but those are definitely not near the best we have to offer.

        So, I have two kids, including one almost 2. I don't know specifically what is open today but you can call some of the following.

        Turtles, on S. Willamette-fairly kid friendly (they have lots of toys), noisy so kids aren't disruptive. Food can be hit or miss, but some of their barbecue is good, they have decadent mac n cheese that kids love, and a fabulous big salad with garlic ranch dressing.

        Sam Bonds Garage-I suggest this place because it can be really fun to go here with kids. It's small, they have a Celtic music jam at 4 on Sundays, and they have good pizza and beer. It's fun to go and meet friends, drink beer, play games, and be able to have your kids with you-mine always end up connecting with other kids and running around and dancing. Very fun.

        Full Boat fish and chips in the Fisherman's Market has good seafood and is another kid friendly place. Good place to buy fish to cook, as well.

        Marche is good special occasion restaurant, though I wouldn't take small children. Our recent no kid favorite place to hang out at is the wine bar at Bel Ami at 15th and Willamette. The owner is very friendly and helpful, pours are generous, and some of the food is very good (the Ahi is the best I've had in a long time).

        Daniel's Mexican Restaurant on Broadway isn't fancy, but the food is very good for Americanized Mexican food-almost everyone else eating there when we've been there is from Mexico. Good place to take kids...and they make their own tortillas, and they are fabulous.

        Sweet Basil does have good Thai food, as does Aiyara (sp?) by Gateway Mall.

        I prefer Ring of Fire to Lucky Noodle.

        1. re: girlwonder88

          Girlwonder: I think you're overlooking the fact that chain restaurants are more certain to be open New Year's Day, unlike some local ones, and that they're simply easier for kids, with special kids menus, and affordable food.

          I wouldn't recommend half of the ones you recommended for kids, and some of them may not be open New Year's Day, unlike chains, especially as early as lunch. Sweet Basil and Ring of Fire are indeed great restaurants, but I wouldn't take kids there, not particularly fun for little kids, thai food isnt necessarily a hit with small kids, and the seating at Sweet Basil is a bit uncomfortable and cramped, may be difficult with kids who don't want to sit still. Both excellent for adults though.

          PF Chang's isn't that bad at all (and while I haven't been to China to compare, I've spent 20 years living in London/The Netherlands/Tuscany, so ample variety of top quality restaurants to compare to). Eugene's Chinese restaurants are all remarkably bad, even inedible, so PF Changs easily stands out, even if it's just a chain. I didn't find it to be expensive either. Last time we were there, we were out $80, for two appetizers, two main courses, two desserts, AND cocktails. While $80 isn't cheap, that's a lot of food and alcoholic drinks, for only $80. We could've fed 6 people for what we got.

          Sam Bonds garage: Very mediocre food (bar food really), and too much Eugene hippie/punk music.

          Full Boat fish and chips: Good

          Marche: Good food, but a bit pretentious, DEF don't take small children there. Somehow restaurants in Eugene think that if they make things with wine and give it a European name, they can suddenly charge exorbitant prices for something that's standard fair in average restaurants in Europe and isn't particularly expensive to produce. $100-$150 checks for what would cost me about $40 to $50 in most of Europe, with no unusual 'imported' ingredients.

          Number of Mexican restaurants are indeed decent around town, and most are very child friendly!

          1. re: duynsathe

            My understanding was that the original poster was asking multiple questions-what is open on New Year's, what is a good place for kids, what is good food in Eugene, period. I hadn't understood that previous posters' recommendations of chain restaurants were specific for New Year's Day, which makes more sense. My recs were an attempt to address several of OP's questions.

            My recs weren't all specific to small kids-Marche is obviously not a small kids' restaurant, though I had a great experience taking my 7 year old there for my birthday once-they treated her very well, and did lots of special things for her.

            I'll stick by my rec for Sam Bonds-no, it's not fabulous food, but it's decent, and much better than typical bar food in that it's usually organic, not deep fried. They make a good garlic pizza, decent hummus, nice salad, serve good beer, and more importantly-as a parent of small children myself, I treasure any place that will let me drink beer and hear music while also having fun with my kids. The Celtic music jam is fun-I'm not a big Celtic music fan, but it's early in the evening and kids love to jump around and dance to that stuff. I've heard some great American Roots music there, too (I'm not a hippy or punk fan, either).

            I agree that Ring of Fire and Sweet Basil aren't great kid restaurants. Aiyara, out by Gateway in a strip mall, is very good and reasonably priced and perfectly fine to take kids too. No atmosphere to speak of, but the owner is usually working there and she is friendly and welcoming (good place to grab a good meal before a movie or get food to go, as Gateway is a culinary wasteland).

      2. No dim sum, but Ocean Sky is the "best" Cantonese in town.

        3 Replies
        1. re: clearskies0810

          While Ocean Sky isn't too bad, at least compared to others in town, it isn't really much different either. I guess my food has never been served frozen in the middle there, unlike several other chinese places in town. If you're looking for typical American diner chinese type stuff, Ocean Sky is okay.

          1. re: duynsathe

            Like I said previously, I am definitely not a Chinese food expert as it's just not one of my favorites. However, the Fortune Inn on 6th is pretty decent, though their service is usually bad. Reasonably priced, too.

            Here's a Eugene restaurant review website: http://something2eat.com/

            1. re: duynsathe

              this is preclicely why "best" is in quotation marks

              to note, they do have a larger selection of cantonese dishes to choose from than most other chinese places in town, and cater slightly less to the "sweet & sour chicken" crowd

          2. Thanks everyone. I've officially lived here over a year now and have tried many of the places you've suggested. Boy, you're all right: Eugene's food scene sucks.

            (For New year's, we ended up cooking at home!)

            The best Chinese food in town is in my house. No point in eating out. In fact, the only Chinese place I can tolerate is Panda Express. I mean, at least you know what you're getting. It's pretty sad.

            The one place we go often is Marche. My son does great there; in fact, it's one of his favorite restaurants. Other places we like are Newmans' on Coburg, and Provisions for pizza. And the Excelsior.

            We'll have to try Full Boat / Fisherman's market.

            Thanks again!

            1 Reply
            1. re: hc489

              A few that I think you might also like if you haven't already tried them. Belly (5th street) and the Black Rabbit (by Market of Choice on 29th)... neither of these are especially kid friendly, but by far some of the most exciting things going in Eugene these days.