Best of Eugene 2017-2018

It’s here. The first, the original, The Best of Eugene.

You voted. (Some of you voted again and again. But we screened you out if you did that.) And here are the results — the things you, the voters in our annual Readers’ Poll, like best of all about this town and this area. While we call it the Best of Eugene, we bring in a little Lane County and Oregon-wide love, too. Because right now, in this political climate, we could use a little more love.

And maybe a superhero or two to save the day.

 

Dive into the readers poll results now:

Kapow! Civics

Best Local Politician

1. Congressman Peter DeFazio

2. Mayor Lucy Vinis

3. Former Mayor Kitty Piercy

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

Best Local World-Changer

1. Congressman Peter DeFazio

2. Mark Frohnmayer Arcimoto

3. Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana plaintiff with the Our Children’s Trust climate lawsuit

Congressman Peter DeFazio was elected in 1986. He’s now “the longest serving House member in Oregon’s history,” according to his website. He sat down with Eugene Weekly to talk about his biggest current challenges and winning Best World-Changer and Best Local Politician. We’ve gotta say, we love how he shows up to speeches wearing his Smokey Bear “Resist” t-shirt and his don’t-take-any-crap-from-anyone attitude that he attributes to his wrestling coach, who was also his dad.

How does it feel to be selected by Eugene Weekly readers as a World-Changer and Best Local Politician?

World-changer is a new one to me. That’s incredible — I hope I can. I’m trying to keep Trump from starting World War III. I’ve got a war powers resolution to fix the War Powers Act and require prior authorization before any offensive action by the president. Right now the law would allow him to attack North Korea, then report to Congress later — a little too late. I guess I am trying to change the world. I also happen to believe that climate change is a serious problem, which unfortunately doesn’t enjoy a majority support in Washington, D.C . — detached from reality right now. I guess I do deal with world problems.

Local politician, I think I’ve gotten that award before. I’m honored to get that. I work in a really difficult environment now, and getting a little support at home is really welcome.

Why did you originally decide to run for office?

Oh, that was a long time ago. I worked for the former Congressman Jim Weaver, learned a lot from him and ultimately I was working for him in Washington, hated Washington and wanted to come back to Oregon. I lived in Springfield, and Springfield at that point owned a minuscule part of the Washington public power supply system; they had a proposal to build five nuclear plants. The plants were billions of dollars over budget, indebting my tiny little town. I got involved in that and filed a lawsuit that was ultimately successful. A lot of people were saying to me “You know you should run for office,” because I had held some of the first demonstrations ever in the city of Springfield. We surrounded the utility board, burned our bills and a few other things. I then decided to run for county commissioner against the incumbent Republican county commissioner.

What do you think your biggest challenge is going to be in the coming couple of weeks and years? 

The thing that’s taking most of my time right now is stopping the chairman of the [House] Transportation Committee from privatizing air traffic control in the United States and giving control of it to the airlines, who in my opinion don’t run their own airlines very well — let alone taking over our national airspace.

Has the president tried to work at all on coming to the other side of the aisle?

I have not met with the president; I have met with his chief infrastructure guru and, unfortunately, his predilection is to privatize our infrastructure. I’m trying to bring them around to something that might really work, as opposed to something that’s ideological and that isn’t going to work. They’re some radical proposals. — Corinne Boyer

 

Best Animal Nonprofit

1. Greenhill Humane Society 88530 Green Hill Rd. 541-689-1503. green-hill.org.

2. Luvable Dog Rescue P.O. Box 50367. luvabledogrescue.org.

3. SARA’s Treasures 871 River Rd. 541-607-8892. sarasavesanimals.org.

 

Best Local Nonprofit

1. FOOD for Lane County 770 Bailey Hill Rd. 541-343-2822. foodforlanecounty.org

2. St. Vincent de Paul 555 High St. 541-344-2115; 100 E. 11th Ave. 541-868-0200. svdp.us.

3. Greenhill Humane Society 88530 Green Hill Rd. 541-689-1503. green-hill.org.

A shake-up in the top three! After a year away from the crown, FOOD for Lane County recaptures its title as Eugene’s favorite nonprofit. The hunger-fighting organization served more than 80,000 meals to children around the county this summer and continues to grow its services. From youth farm roadside stands to job training at its warehouses, FOOD for Lane County shines for its commitment to helping Eugene’s most vulnerable populations.

Second-place winner St. Vincent de Paul continues to evolve new programs to reduce waste and serve the community. This year it took on an important project revamping trailer parks to create better options for low-cost housing. SVDP’s solutions-forward model has diverted thousands of mattresses from landfills through its world-renowned repurposing projects.

This year EW shared a heartwarming story with Greenhill Humane Society when Tank, the “unadoptable” pitbull featured in our July 27 Pets issue, found a home. Greenhill was third in Best Local Nonprofit and winner of Best Animal Nonprofit this year. — Carl Segerstrom

 

Best Teacher/Professor

1. Stella Strother-Blood Agnes Stewart Middle School

2. (Tie) Dan Tichenor University of Oregon

2. (Tie) Taunya DeBoer Willamette Leadership Academy

3. Leah Dunbar Churchill High School

This was the first year that we asked you to name Eugene’s best teacher or professor, and we got an overwhelming number of votes. It’s important to recognize the teachers who inspire us — who stand out among the masses and make a lasting impact in our lives. This year’s best of them all? Stella Strother-Blood from Agnes Stewart Middle School.

“The kids at Agnes Stewart are amazing, the administration is wonderful,” Strother-Blood says. “I can’t believe they recognized me!”

This is only Strother-Blood’s second year as a full-time teacher — she was a student teacher at the school for a year before — but her passion for the job is clear. “I’ve always been really interested in serving others, and I was brought up to care about other people and recognize that, in life, it’s not all about me,” she says. “Teaching is just a really efficient and effective way to interact with others and to leave a good impression with students.”

From the Eugene/Springfield area herself, Strother-Blood left town to get her undergraduate degree at Western Oregon University and came back to get her master’s in teaching at the University of Oregon. She knew she wanted to teach language arts and social studies to inspire kids to learn about the world, even if they haven’t had opportunities to travel.

As for teaching sixth grade, Strother-Blood loves everything from helping kids open their lockers for the first time to seeing them grow throughout the year. “It’s just so unique,” Strother-Blood says. “Kids are excited to be out of elementary school and move into a new territory. It’s fun to be a part of that because it’s such a special time.”

Strother-Blood says she has never sought to be someone’s favorite teacher, but she has sought to be a supportive, positive influence. “If I can leave that impression, then I’ll have succeeded.”

As for the future, “I want to be here, in the Eugene/Springfield area, teaching sixth grade language arts and social studies at Agnes Stewart Middle School,” Strother-Blood says. “I feel like it’s so rare to find exactly what you want to do forever, but I have, and I’m honored.”  — Morgan Theophil

photo: Trask Bedortha

 

Best Thing About Eugene

1. People

2. Diversity

3. Food

Let me preface this by saying I am not mad, but even more so, I’m just straight-up confused. You know, when your parents used to say, “I’m not mad; I’m just disappointed”? That’s how I’m approaching this situation. As a half-black, half-Filipina person who has lived in Eugene my whole life, I just have to ask — what makes this town diverse? You, Best Of Eugene voters, don’t mean racially diverse, right? We, the people of Eugene, are not that disillusioned, are we? Or have we just come to accept that a town that is more than 85 percent white, according to the census, in some way counts as diverse? You don’t mean politically diverse, or diverse in thought, do you? Yes, we have activists and out-spoken individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, but so does every other town. How about economically? No, that doesn’t make much sense either, in comparison to other towns of our size and location. Style? I guess we do have diversity in what kind of socks we wear with our Birkenstocks. (Is it going to be straightforward wool today, or should I go with something patterned? Hmm. As long as it matches my Columbia raincoat, I guess!) Maybe it’s the weather. It sure does rain a lot here, but sometimes it’s sunny and sometimes we even get a little snow! Yeah, I’m going to give you all the benefit of the doubt; let’s just go with the weather.  — Meerah Powell

 

Best Park

1. Alton Baker Park 200 Day Island Rd. eugene-or.gov/327/Parks-and-Natural-Areas.
2. Hendricks Park Summit Ave. & Skyline Blvd.
3. Skinner Butte Park 248 Cheshire Ave.

Alton Baker, Eugene’s biggest park, tops the list again this year. The park hugs the north bank of the Willamette River and has just about every park activity you can imagine, from disc golf to dog parks and boating to BMXing. You can even find an (albeit unsanctioned) open-air market under the gazebos, if you’re into that kind of stuff. — Carl Segerstrom

Photo: Athena Delene

 

 

Boom! Performers

Best Photographer

1. Athena Delene athenadelene.com.

2. (Tie) Josh Latham facebook.com/Josh-Latham-Photography

2. (Tie) Wind Home Photography windhomephotography.com.

3. Tracy Sydor digitallatte.com.

Athena Delene has been surrounded by photography her whole life. Growing up with a photographer for a mother, Delene’s career started earlier than most. “My mom would always enter the Lane County Fair photo exhibit,” Delene says. “When I was 13, she let me enter for the first year. I ended up winning the people’s choice award for the whole exhibit — after that I was ready to go photo crazy.”

She says her mom helped her develop her style and skills, but Delene has undoubtedly created a photographic style entirely her own. You’ve most likely seen her photos of local musicians, artists and business owners within the Weekly’s pages, as she’s been freelancing for EW off-and-on for almost five years now.

“I’ve always really loved the thought of being able to take a photo of someone that they love so much it’s the one they show their kids down the road,” Delene says. “And then their kids keep it because it’s their favorite photo of their grandparents they show off.”

As far as the kind of subject matter she likes to photograph, Delene says it varies. “I love old men with mustaches, anyone who says ‘I hate getting my photo taken,’ aspiring middle-school musicians,” Delene says. “But, really, any kind of artist in action or business owner. I just like working with people who like to work; doing photos of someone doing what they love is always my goal.” — Meerah Powell

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

Best Artist

1. Ila Rose facebook.com/ilaroseart

2. Shanna Trumbly trumblydesigns.com.

3. Max Von Kaspar

 

Best Mural 

1. Woman with Snakes, Ila Rose Elevation Builder Gym at 348 W. 3rd Ave.

2. Tiger and Dragon, Hua Tunan Vistra Framing and Gallery, 411 W. 4th St.

3. Bee of Wildcraft, Steven Lopez WildCraft Cider Works, 254 Lincoln St.

Her newest creation of art, a show-stopping piece covering the walls of another building in Eugene, has clearly captured the attention of many, as Ila Rose — a Eugene native and lifelong painter — is not only the winner of this year’s Best Mural, but is crowned Best Artist as well.

“There was never a starting point for art for me, it’s just always been what I do,” Rose says.

The winning mural dignifies the north and east walls of the Elevation Builder Gym at 348 W. 3rd Avenue and features a two-faced head of a woman with snakes in her hair. The mural is centered on the corner connecting both walls, and the geometric patterns in the green and yellow backdrop create a perfect contrast to focus in on the detail of the woman looking out onto the two. At the second glance, you see a young girl reaching out to greet the woman.

“Essentially, it’s about how children face obstacles with more of an openness and curiosity than adults,” Rose says. “This child is facing what an adult might see as a beast, but the child is looking and examining differently, pondering what lessons can be learned rather than seeing it as something scary to avoid.”

Rose’s mural is part of the 20x21Eug Mural Project, a city initiative to create 20 or more world-class outdoor murals in Eugene between now and the 2021 IAAF World Championships. She reached out to the project committee about their inclusion of local artists in the project; they gave her a wall and she came up with the design in only a week.

“Murals are an awesome way to make a public statement and engage with the world around us,” Rose says. “I wanted to paint one as a way to engage with my local community and just connect with the people in Eugene.”

Rose says this mural was in part a response to her first public mural that paints another wall in Eugene, at 5th Alley and Blair Boulevard, that she did as a commission for the Whiteaker Community Art Team a few years back. “Imagery in this mural was born from shifting around images and thoughts from my other mural,” she says.

The project brought in artists from around the world, and Rose says at times she felt she had less technical skill than some. But, she says, the support she received as a member of the community kept her going. “There is so much support for local artists in Eugene, and that really helped me feel like I could be successful,” Rose explains. “I’ve always had my whole town behind me, and that is really cool.”

What’s in Rose’s future? “Finding something with a salary,” she laughs. She is considering going to graduate school and getting a degree to teach art in an educational setting. “Whatever I do, I’ll always be creating art.”

The remarkable second-place mural — an intricate, deep-red wall featuring a battle between tigers and a black dragon — was created by Chinese artist Hua Tunan. The mural is powerful, displaying the result of a focused combination of traditional Chinese art and the act of graffiti. The action-filled, detailed creation can be found on the west wall of Vistra Framing and Gallery, at 411 W. 4th Street.

Steven Lopez, the artist behind the third-place mural, works and lives in Los Angeles but graduated with a degree in fine arts from the University of Oregon. His mural is vibrant in color and grand in character — a dynamic bee stands out among a geometric honeycomb, creating an extravagant scene with a subtle environmental message about the importance of wildlife in our world. The bright, elaborate mural can be seen on west side of WildCraft Cider Works’ warehouse at 254 Lincoln Street. — Morgan Theophil

Photo: Athena Delene

 

Best Local Theater Company

1. Oregon Contemporary Theatre 194 W. Broadway. 541-465-1506. Octheatre.org.

2. Actors Cabaret of Eugene 996 Willamette St. 541-683-4368. Actorscabaret.org

3. Very Little Theater 2350 Hilyard St. 541-344-7751. Thevlt.com.

Led by artistic director Craig Willis, Oregon Contemporary Theatre has distinguished itself as Eugene’s foremost purveyor of new and challenging theatrical works —  plays that often exhibit a kind of urbane, postmodern sensibility with a slightly dark or absurdist edge. And the productions, regularly directed by Willis himself or OCT associate producer Tara Wibrew, are always top notch — well designed, superbly acted — and they reveal an implicit trust in the intelligence and sophistication of the audience (rather than continually dusting off safe old standards everyone’s seen a zillion times). Of course, OCT isn’t above celebrating the classics of theater, as when a few seasons back they mounted a stunning rendition of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The company continually raises the bar for theater in Eugene, which keeps everyone on their toes and makes the community of the stage that much stronger all around. — Rick Levin 

 

Best Actor/Actress 

1. Rebecca Nachison

2. (Tie) Inga Wilson

2. (Tie) Storm Kennedy

3. (Tie) Dan Pagoda

3. (Tie) Sam Elliott

“I am one of those actors that really disappears in the characters,” says Rebecca Nachison, voted this year’s Best Actor by Eugene theatergoers. “Seeing me walking down the street, you may not know that I was the hard, fierce nun in Doubt, or the German grandma in Lost in Yonkers. Nachison, who plays Molly in Radio Redux’s live production of Fibber McGee and Molly this weekend (Nov. 3-5 at the Hult), says she’s been drawn to the theater since childhood, noting that she loves digging into a good role — and the messier and darker the character, the better, such as her turn as the drug-addicted Violet in Oregon Contemporary Theatre’s 2013 production of Tracy Lett’s August: Osage County. EW critic William Kennedy noted Nachison’s fierceness as an actor in his 2015 review of Lost in Yonkers at Very Little Theatre. “As the fearsome matriarch Grandma,” Kennedy writes, “Rebecca Nachison steals every scene with quiet menace, the tap-tap-tap of her cane signaling dread.” Bravo, we say! — Rick Levin

 

Best Drag Queen 

1. Facisha Farce

2. Monique La Faye

3. Karess Ann Slaughter

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

 

Best Live Music Venue

1. Hi-Fi Lounge/Music Hall 44 E. 7th Ave. 541-636-3292. Hifimusichall.com.

2. Cuthbert Amphitheater 2300 Leo Harris Pkwy. 541-762-8099. Thecuthbert.com.

3. WOW Hall 291 W. 8th Ave. 541-687-2746. Wowhall.org

 

Best Band

1. Fortune’s Folly fortunesfollyband.com.

2. High Step Society highstepsociety.com.

3. Sol Seed solseedmusic.com.

Popular Eugene guitar-pop band Fortune’s Folly is building a reputation around the region for high-energy performances, sparked by charismatic front-person Calysta Cheyenne, who’s a little bit Gwen Stefani with some grunge-rock attitude.

Listening to Fortune’s Folly, it’s hard not to crack a grin, so when Cheyenne heard the news her band won EW’s Best of Eugene Best Band category, she said just what you might expect: “Yay! We owe it to our amazing fans.” And when it recently came time to make a music video, Cheyenne says, Fortune’s Folly wanted to get those fans involved.

“It’s for a song off our Red EP called ‘Wouldn’t Make You Mine,’” she explains. “Our film crew got a bunch of people together, fans and community members. They all got dressed up like Pacific Northwest animals: crows and stags and rabbits, mice and all kinds of stuff. That’s going to come out before the end of the year.”

And in 2018, Fortune’s Folly hopes to build on their local success up in Portland and beyond. But Cheyenne says Fortune’s Folly owes it to Eugene audiences most of all. “We’re really happy with how well we’re being received,” she says, “and how much the fanbase is growing.” — Will Kennedy

 

Best Singer-Songwriter

1. (Tie) Endr Won endrwon.bandcamp.com.

1. (Tie) Halie Loren halieloren.com.

2. Calysta Cheyenne of Fortune’s Folly fortunesfollyband.com.

3. Bettreena Jaeger bettyandtheboy.com.

The Singer

Halie Loren might be Eugene’s hardest working person in show business. She spends long stretches of time on the road, touring the world with her pop-jazz combo, so news of tying for first in EW’s Best of Eugene Best Singer-Songwriter category came as somewhat of a surprise. “I’m really honored,” she tells me over the phone. “I’ve been gone since late August — touring, and out of the country most of the time.”

But whether it’s playing jazz in Japan or performing around town with folk-pop outfit Halie and The Moon or popular acoustic-dance mainstays The Sugar Beets, Loren never forgets Eugene is her home. “I’m thrilled to still be here, to still be local, to be able to live in this community and be able to share my music with the very people I started my career playing for.”

Loren says all her projects provide outlets for her voice and style in different ways. And after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Loren is in the studio working on an album of all original material. She calls her new stuff a step in a different direction that reflects the breadth of her musical influences. “Which not only includes jazz,” she explains, “which I’m known for, but also folk and soul and blues. Even a bit of world music.” And she says a lot of her new material is very vocally oriented. “It’s really quite different from anything else I’ve ever done,” Loren adds.

But no matter what project she’s working on, she says her music always starts with a melody. “The words fall into place based on what the melody is speaking to me,” Loren explains. “I have to integrate lyric and melody together.” But nothing makes her heart happier than to have the support of local fans. “I’m just so overwhelmed to have been chosen,” she says. — Will Kennedy

 

The Survivor

Eugene Rapper Endr Won has been through a lot to get where he is today: married, a father and touring the U.S. supporting his latest release, Bigger Than Me. “It’s a blessing,” Won tells me over the phone from Salt Lake City. He calls life on the road a lot of work. “But what’s beautiful,” he adds, “is being able to take the gift that I have and reach other people.”

Bigger Than Me is available on all digital music and streaming services, and it’s Won’s first new music since struggling with addiction and mental health issues. “I’m a recovering addict and alcoholic,” Won explains. “I used to actually live on the streets of downtown Eugene. I’m diagnosed with anxiety, depression, PTSD. I was going through some things.”

Won says a friend encouraged him to get back to writing and performing. “He said, ‘I know it’s been a minute since you put pen to paper,” Won recalls, “‘but I know you still got the fire in you and people need to hear your story.’” And getting back in the game rekindled Won’s love for hip hop. “I believe wholeheartedly in the culture of hip hop,” he says. “I believe that hip hop with substance, with a message, is something people yearn for.

Now, Won says, he’s humbled by tying for first place in EW’s Best Singer-Songwriter category. “To say I’m humbled is an understatement,” Won adds. “The life I’ve lived, just to be breathing is a blessing, let alone rap and travel cross-country and have people care to listen.”

Won calls his fans family. “Anybody that knows me knows I could really care less about being in some kind of competition,” he admits. “My competition is with my man in the mirror. It’s an honor to think people out there listen to my music and love my music enough to vote for me.” ­—Will Kennedy

Photo: Rob Sydor

 

Worst Thing About Eugene Weekly

1. Nothing

2. Weed ads

3. It only comes out once a week

Nothing is the worst about Eugene Weekly? You guys are so sweet! We love you too. ­ 

 

Best Thing About Eugene Weekly

1. Calendar of events/music listings

2. It’s free

3. Best Of Eugene

 

 

Crunch! Snacks

Best Burger

1. Killer Burger 50 W. Broadway. 541-636-4731. killerburger.biz.

2. Cornucopia 295 W. 17th Ave. 541-485-2300; 207 E. 5th Ave. 541-485-2300. cornucopiaeugene.com.

3. Little Big Burger 1404 Orchard St. 541-357-4771. littlebigburger.com.

 

Best Vegetarian/Vegan 

1. Cornbread Cafe 1290 W. 7th Ave. 541-505-9175. Cornbreadcafe.com.

2. Morning Glory Café 450 Willamette St. 541-687-0709. Morninggloryeugene.com.

3. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd. 541-868-0668; 2864 Willamette St. 541-505-5399. Laughingplanetcafe.com.

The Southern-inspired vegan diner Cornbread Cafe offers a wide variety of comfort foods typically unavailable to vegans, such as fried chicken and gravy and a bacon ranch burger. Owner Sheree Walters uses ingredients such as tofu and tempeh to hold the place of meat in those recipes. Walters says she learned to cook from scratch from her grandmother, which led her to open the Cornbread Cafe food cart in 2010. The cart only stayed open for a year, quickly moving its way up to a full restaurant. Walters says the focus at Cornbread is on organic, local and fair-trade ingredients.

After being featured on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” Cornbread Cafe saw a significant spike in popularity. “People from around the country travel to eat here after the Food Network show,” Walters says. “Some people make travel plans for years.”

Not only is Cornbread Cafe the best vegan spot with the Eugene Weekly readership, but according to Walters, “a lot of people who come from the South give [Cornbread Cafe] a big thumbs up.” — Jordan Rich

 

Best Thai

1. Ta Ra Rin 1200 Oak St. 541-343-1230. tararin.com.

2. Tasty Thai 1308 Hilyard St. 541-343-0165. tastythaicampus.com.

3. Sabai 27 Oakway Center. 541-654-5424. sabaicafe.com.

 

Best Chinese

1. Kung Fu Bistro 2560 Willamette St. 541-968-9258. facebook.com/kungfubistroeugene.

2. Lok Yaun Restaurant 3000 W. 11th Ave. 541-345-7448. lokyaunrestaurant.com.

3. Twin Dragon Restaurant 919 River Rd. 541-688-5481. twin-dragon-restaurant.com.

 

Best Hangover Breakfast

1. Brails 1689 Willamette St. 541-343-1542. brailseugene.com.

2. Morning Glory 450 Willamette St. 541-687-0709.

3. Glenwood 1340 Alder St. 541-687-0355; 2588 Willamette St. 541-687-8201. glenwoodrestaurants.com.

Brails has extended its reign as Eugene’s Best Hangover Breakfast to 14 straight years and, let’s be honest, it’s hard to top a restaurant in the Best Hangover Breakfast category with an item called “The Hangover Special.”

Joy Knudtson, owner of Brails, says she’s proud of her restaurant’s reputation and the fact it brings people back time and again. She says she loves it when old students come back to town for football games or just to visit, because they always come in to say hi.

And if the food isn’t enough, the service and atmosphere will convert any non-believer. “We have a ‘Cheers’ mentality,” server Nicole Kneisler says, cribbing the line from the classic sit-com: “Everyone here knows your name.” — Max Thornberry 

 

Best Bar grub

1. Horsehead 99 W. Broadway. 541-683-3154. horseheadbareugene.com.

2. Jackalope 453 Willamette St. 541-485-1519. jackalopelounge.com.

3. Bier Stein 1591 Willamette St. 541-485-2437. thebierstein.com.

 

Best Bakery

1. Sweet Life Patisserie 755 Monroe St.; 1609 E. 19th Ave. 541-683-5676. sweetlifedesserts.com.

2. Hideaway Bakery 3377 E. Amazon Drive. 541-868-1982. hideawaybakery.com.

3. Noisette Pastry Kitchen 200 W. Broadway. 541-654-5257. noisettepk.com.

Sweet Life Patisserie takes the cake again (and again and again), winning Best Desserts and Best Bakery in Eugene after another delicious year. Sweet Life’s countless handmade treats — from heavenly, chocolate-cheesecake cupcakes to citrusy, fresh-fruit filled tarts, and everything in between — follow traditional French and classic American recipes and are made with local ingredients whenever possible. The sister-owned shop has two ever-popular locations — “to make life even sweeter” — that also feature a range of gluten-, egg- and dairy-free options. As each dessert is individually placed with perfection on a simple plate, embellished with a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of chocolate or a simple mint leaf, you can’t miss why Sweet Life always comes out on top. — Morgan Theophil

Photo: Athena Delene

 

Best Desserts

1. Sweet Life Patisserie 755 Monroe St.; 1609 E. 19th Ave. 541- 683-5676. sweetlifedesserts.com.

2. Noisette Pastry Kitchen 200 W. Broadway. 541-654-5257. noisettepk.com

3. (Tie) Market of Choice 1060 Green Acres Rd. 541-344-1901; 1960 Franklin Blvd. 541-687-1188; 67 W. 29th Ave. 541-338-8455; 2580 Willakenzie Rd. 541-345-3349. marketofchoice.com.

3. (Tie) Prince Puckler’s Ice Cream 1605 E. 19th Ave. 541-344-4418. princepucklers.com.

3. (Tie) Red Wagon Creamery 55 W. Broadway; 1395 University St. 541-345-8008. redwagoncreamery.com.

 

Best Kombucha

1. Townshend’s Brew Dr. Townshend’s Eugene, 41 W. Broadway 503-235-3656. brewdrkombucha.com

2. Elevate 541-968-5573. facebook.com/ElevateEugene.

3. A Billion New Friends (BNF) 225 W. Broadway. 541-590-5710. bnfkombucha.com.

If Eugene had an official drink, it would have to be kombucha, right? Although the idea of fermented tea might give some people the heebie jeebies, this tasty, fizzy drink is a Eugene — and Pacific Northwest — staple. And you voted that Townshend’s Brew Dr. Kombucha does it best! Brew Dr.’s flavors include the very autumnal “Spiced Apple,” pretty much apple pie in a bottle; “Love,” a jasmine and lavender brew; and “Happiness,” a white tea and rose petal brew, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They also have notable seasonal flavors like “Vanilla Oak” and “Mango Habañero.” Townshend’s Tea Company started in 2006, according to its website, and began making kombucha in 2008. Now Brew Dr. is distributed across the U.S. and Canada, with Townshend’s shops here in Eugene and Portland, as well as Montana and Utah. So, whether you’re a kombucha aficionado or a first-time taster, Brew Dr. is a great option. (Also, full disclosure: We get some delivered to the EW office, and we love it!) — Meerah Powell

 

Best Latte

1. Dutch Bros 1633 Coburg Rd.; 2115 Franklin Blvd.; 311 E. 11th Ave. dutchbros.com.

2. Wandering Goat 268 Madison St. 541-344-5161. wanderinggoat.com.

3. Vero Espresso 205 E. 14th Ave. 541-654-0504. veroespressohouse.com.

Go ahead, mock Dutch Bros. It’s sugary milk coffee, you say. Well, you know what? Sometimes in the Northwest, a latté is comfort food, and there are mornings where the only thing keeping you going is swinging by the little white box with its cute little windmill and those relentlessly happy people inside dispensing caffeine and dog treats. For those of you who prefer your caffeine a little more hipster, Wandering Goat’s beans are truly epic, and we take out-of-town guests to the Whit just to sample them. Vero is last but not least in our Readers Poll, combining a hot latté with a cheery campus atmosphere. If you are doing a drive (walk or bike) by, then Dutch Bros. is your place, but for the laptop crowd on a rainy day, Vero and Wandering Goat have you covered. — Camilla Mortensen

 

Best Barbecue

1. Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen 400 Blair Blvd. 541-342-7500. papassoulfoodkitchen.com.

2. Bill & Tim’s Barbeque 201 E. 13th Ave. 541-654-0578. westrauntconcepts.com.

3. Hole in the Wall 200 W. 11th Ave. 541-683-7378; 1807 Olympic St., Spfd. 541-726-1200. holeinthewallbbq.com.  

Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen is closing this year, leaving behind a 15-year legacy of culture, music, and finger-lickin’ barbecue. Since Ted “Papa” Lee died in 2012, the restaurant stayed open under the leadership of his widow, Debra Lee. “It was awesome to have it, especially after he passed away, to have that support system. It felt like he was still here,” Lee says. “It helped me to heal from his passing.” She adds, “I miss doing it with him.” Lee says she’s not sure what she’ll do after closing the restaurant, but says she’s looking forward to taking a breather and turning off her electronics for a while.

A juggernaut of Best of Eugene, Papa’s has won Best Barbeque repeatedly over the years, and this year tops the list for both Best Barbeque and Best Comfort Food. And why not? With its cute, homey menu and atmosphere and delectable Southern delights, Papa’s has been a staple of the Whiteaker for over a decade. It has some of the best cornbread in town, incredible hush puppies, and beef brisket that melts in your mouth — not to mention gumbo and Nawlins style jambalaya. It’s always a battle to pick the best sides on that robust menu. Lee says she’s grateful for the support she’s had from the community since Papa’s passing. “It’s been eight years since he passed away, and just having his memory still here and being able to share his dream with the community is really important to me.” On getting picked for Best of Eugene, she says, “It feels really good to go out with a bang.” Lee hopes the community will keep Papa’s memory alive “in their own way” now that the restaurant is closing — though she’s not sure when. She recommends filling your need for great BBQ at Tony’s, a food cart on River Road in Santa Clara.

Eugene is losing an institution, but we’re excited to see what fills that gap on the coveted corner of 4th and Blair. Best wishes to Lee and the entire staff as they take their next steps in life after Papa and Papa’s Soul Food. — Kelly Kenoyer

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

Best Comfort Food

1. Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen 400 Blair Blvd. 541-342-7500. papassoulfoodkitchen.com.

2. Cornbread Cafe 1290 W. 7th Ave. 541-505-9175. cornbreadcafe.com.

3. Cornucopia 295 W. 17th Ave. 541-485-2300; 207 E. 5th Ave. 541-485-2300. cornucopiaeugene.com.

 

Best Food Cart

1. Buck Buck 207 Madison St. @buckbuckeug.

2. Da Nang 488 Lincoln St. 541-915-0144. danangeatery.com.

3. Subo Sushi Burritos 1069 W. 3rd Ave. 541-735-1051. unamisushi.wixsite.com/unamisushi/subo.

When Buck Buck made its debut, it took this town by storm. Maybe it filled a vacuum in the department of excellent fried chicken, maybe people liked the simple menu. Regardless of the cause, the cart now has long lines from open till close most days. Owner Mikey Lawrence is so dedicated to the craft of delicious chicken that he has a meat cleaver tattooed next to his eye. And that chicken — usually paired with a fluffy biscuit — is melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a perfect crunchy coat on the outside. And if you’re feeling truly decadent, you can get the chicken and waffles — a soft, perfect waffle topped with crunchy fried chicken and doused in blackberry compote. You’ll never want to eat anything else ever again. — Kelly Kenoyer

photo: Trask Bedortha

 

Best Grub Under $8

1. Café Yumm Eugene: 730 E. Broadway. 541- 344-9866; 1801 Willamette St. 541- 686-9866; 130 Oakway Center. 541-465-9866; 1005 Green Acres Rd. 541-684-9866. Springfield: 3340 Gateway St., 541-747-9866. Corvallis: 2001 N.W. Monroe Ave. cafeyumm.com.

2. El Super Burrito 2566 Willamette St. 541-485-0619. elsupereugene.com.

3. Burrito Boy 510 E. Broadway. 541-344-8070. burritoboy.com.

For less than eight bucks, it doesn’t get any better for Eugene residents than eating a quick meal at one of myriad Café Yumm locations. Café Yumm offers a number of healthy bowls, wraps, bentos (Japanese-style lunch boxes usually served with rice and vegetables), sandwiches, soups and salads.

Café Yumm caters not only to the price-conscious diner but to the health-minded as well, mixing in avocados, organic beans, salsa and greens with chicken, tempeh or tofu. Let’s be real here, though: Café Yumm’s primary draw is its Yumm sauce, an addicting mix of garbanzo and soy beans, lemon juice, garlic and basil — sort of a creamy, tangy hummus that true disciples can buy in separate bottles to bring home. Café Yumm’s Yumm bowls and Yumm sauce have been local favorites since 1993, and judging by the many Yelp adherents, crowded restaurants and EW staff who have addictions to it, it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. — Matthew Denis

 

Best Meal Over $25

1. Marché Restaurant 296 E. 5th Ave. 541-342-3612. marcherestaurant.com.

2. Mame 541 Blair Blvd. 541-654-4378.

3. Cafe Soriah 384 W. 13th Ave. 541-342-4410. cafesoriah.com.

 

Best New Restaurant

1. Poke Stop 1044 Willamette St. 541-686-3504. eatpokestop.com.

2. (Tie) Kun Fusion 1239 Alder St. 541-232-9733. kunfusion.com.

2. (Tie) Novo Latin Table 105 Oakway Center. 541-654-8165. novolatintable.com.

3. Blu Mist 1400 Valley River Drive, Suite 130. 541-636-3306. blumistrb.com.

photo: Trask Bedortha

 

Best Restaurant

1. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 541-505-8804. izakayameiji.com.

2. Marché Restaurant 296 East 5th Ave. 541-342-3612. marcherestaurant.com.

3. Mame 541 Blair Blvd. 541-654-4378.

 

Best Taco

1. Tacovore 530 Blair Blvd. 541-735-3518. tacovorepnw.com.

2. Belly Taqueria (now closed)

3. Burrito Boy Eugene: 510 E. Broadway; 2511 W. 11th Ave.; 1060 River Rd.; 30 W. 10th Ave.; 1840 Chambers St. Spfd.: 1889 Olympic St. burritoboy.com.

Call them Pacific Northwest tacos. If you are looking for a “real” Mexican taco, then Tacovore’s Tex-Mex with a PNW spin may not be for you. That’s fine, taco purists, because there’s more for us. Even the plainest-sounding taco on the menu, the $3 bean and cheese, makes your taste buds sing, featuring coconut-braised organic Oregon black beans with queso Oaxaca, pickled onion and cilantro. And Tacovore earned our respect when it shut its doors on the national Day Without Immigrants this past February, calling attention to the importance of immigrants in our community — and in making Tacovore’s handmade tortillas. — Camilla Mortensen

Photo: Athena Delene

 

Best Sushi

1. Mame 541 Blair Blvd. 541-654-4378.

2. Sushi Pure 296 E. 5th Ave. 541-654-0608. pureeugene.com.

3. Sushi Domo 1020 Green Acres Rd. 541-343-0935; 2835 Oak St. 541-484-7008. sushidomoeugene.com.

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

Best Pizza

1. Mezza Luna 933 Pearl St. 541-684-8900; 2776 Shadow View Dr. 541-743-2999; 115 S. 5th St. Spfd. mezzalunapizzeria.com.

2. Sizzle Pie 910 Willamette St. 541-683-7437. Sizzlepie.com.

3. Pegasus Pizza 2864 Willamette St. 541-344-9931; 790 E. 14th Ave. 541-344-4471; 4 Oakway Center. 541-344-0844. pegasuspizza.net.

It’s easy to see why Mezza Luna, with Sizzle Pie hot on its heels, is a fan-favorite pizza joint. Both offer a variety of gourmet pizza by the slice at a fair price. And they up the fun when naming their creations, like the Boba Feta at Mezza Luna or the White Walker at Sizzle Pie. First-place winner Mezza Luna’s restaurant environment is very “Eugene,” with chill music and tons of natural lighting, perfect for date night. Second-place Sizzle Pie’s environment is grungy, often with metal or punk music playing and the motto “death to false pizza” written on their boxes. That might work for date night, too. — Jordan Rich

 

Best Brewery

1. Ninkasi 272 Van Buren St. 541-344-2739. ninkasibrewing.com.

2. Oakshire 207 Madison St. 541-654-5520. oakbrew.com.

3. Hop Valley 990 W. 1st Ave. 541-485-2337; 980 Kruse Way. 541-744-3330. hopvalleybrewing.com.

Microbrew-turned-national brand, Ninkasi has a corner on the brewery market in Eugene. The tasting room, brewery and administration building take up over a block in the Whiteaker district, but no one is complaining.

Besides quenching Eugene’s thirst, Ninkasi donates to nonprofits via its Beer is Love program. One recent push raised $50,000 to support McKenzie River Trust and its Homewaters Campaign.

“Without our local community, Ninkasi wouldn’t be what it is today,” Ali Aasum, Ninkasi’s communications director, wrote in an email to EW. “Being named ‘Best Of’ is quite an honor. There are many fantastic breweries in our area, and we’re proud to be a part of a community that supports our craft!” — Max Thornberry

Photo: Rob Sydor

 

Best Cocktails

1. Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St. 531-505-8804. izakayameiji.com.

2. Rye 444 E. 3rd Ave. 541-653-8509. ryeon3rd.com

3. The Vintage 837 Lincoln St. 541-349-9181. thevintageeugene.com.

Meiji has seasonal cocktails with anything from rum to gin, but let’s face it: Some of us are in it for the whiskey. And Izakaya Meiji does whiskey (and whisky) right. For those of you new to the spirit, a mint julep adds just enough sweetness to soften the bite. For those of us whose palates yearn for whiskey’s oaky warmth, you can order your drink neat or go with my favorite, a whiskey ginger. — Camilla Mortensen

photo: Trask Bedortha

 

Best Distillery

1. Heritage Distillery 110 Madison St. 541-357-4431. heritagedistilling.com.

2. Thinking Tree Spirits 88 Jackson St. 541-357-2211. thinkingtreespirits.com

3. Swallowtail Spirits 5250 Highbanks Rd., Suite 300, Spfd. 458-210-2907. swallowtailspirits.com.

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

Best Winery

1. Sweet Cheeks Winery 27007 Briggs Hill Rd. 541-349-9463; 248 E. 5th St. Suite 25. sweetcheekswinery.com.

2. King Estate Winery 80854 Territorial Hwy. 541-942-9874. kingestate.com.

3. Sarver Winery 25600 Mayola Ln. 541-935-2979. sarverwinery.com.

The Willamette Valley is wine country, and Sweet Cheeks offers plenty for sommeliers and novices alike. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet, but a slew of 4- and 5-star reviews makes a case for why Sweet Cheeks is a repeat winner for Best Winery in Eugene. The setting — both location and atmosphere — sets Sweet Cheeks apart from the rest of the hotly contested pack. — Max Thornberry

 

Best Bar

1. The Wayward Lamb 150 W. Broadway. 541-654-5106. thewaywardlamb.com.

2. Sam Bond’s 407 Blair Blvd. 541-431-6601. sambonds.com

3. Izakaya Meiji  345 Van Buren St. 541- 505-8804. izakayameiji.com.

After more than two years as Eugene’s go-to LGBTQIA bar, The Wayward Lamb shows no sign of slowing down. Not only considered the place to be in the queer community, The Wayward Lamb is the spot for anyone looking to let loose and shake down in a welcoming scene. There’s not much the gathering place doesn’t offer. A front bar supplies space to sip tasty drinks and to savor snacks, salads and sandwiches over good conversation. A backroom gives patrons a spot to catch drag cabaret, rock out in the lip sync contest as well as room to simply shake their tail feathers. On Wednesday, there’s even trivia night to test your inner nerd.

University of Oregon journalism student Derek Maiolo (perhaps harkening to the most interesting man in the world) says that, “I don’t go to the bar very often, but when I do, I go to The Wayward Lamb.” Hear, hear, Derek. We’ll meetcha’ there. — Matthew Denis 

 

Best place to hang out

1. HOME

2. beergarden. 777 W 6th Ave 541-505-9432. beergardenme.com.

3. Hi-Fi Lounge/Music Hall 44 E. 7th Ave. 

541-636-3292. Hifimusichall.com. 

 

 

Bang! Spending

Best Body Modification

1. High Priestess 210 W. 6th Ave. 541-342-6585; 525 E. 13th Ave. 541-343-3311. highpriestess.com.

2. Northwest Tattoo 142 E. 13th Ave.  541-393-6570. nwtattoo.com.

3. Parlour Tattoo 1097 Willamette St.  541-345-6465. theparlourtattoo.com.

Both cool and inviting, High Priestess offers tattoos and piercings with customer needs as a priority. The tattoo artists are comfortable in all major styles, with multiple years of experience and a lot of patience to make sure you are happy with their art. For piercings, they carry a wide range of jewelry that is trustworthy and safe to use. — Jordan Rich

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

Best Bike Shop

1. Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life 556 Charnelton St. 541-344-4105. bicycleway.com.

2. Arriving by Bike 2705 Willamette St. 541-484-5410. arrivingbybike.com.

3. Hutch’s Bicycle Shop 960 Charnelton St. 541-345-7521. hutchsbicycles.com.

 

Best Dispensary

1. Moss Crossing 2751 Friendly St. 

541-636-3724. mosscrossing.com.

2. TJ’s Organics 1910 Empire Park Dr. 541-505-7105. tjsgardens.com.

3. Twenty After Four Wellness Center 420 Blair Blvd. 541-393-6826.   

twentyafterfour.com.

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

 

Best Weed Mover and Shaker

1. Anna Kaplan SugarTop Buddery. sugartopbuddery.com

2. Adam Jacques Sproutly. 2270 W. 11th Ave. 541-735-9135. sproutlyusa.com.

3. Cam McNeeley Moss Crossing. 2751 Friendly St. 541-636-2734. mosscrossing.com.

Anna Kaplan opened SugarTop Buddery in 2015 together with her sibling Jarrod. SugarTop supplies local dispensaries with a variety of strains, often in the form of their specialty, pre-rolled bats. In 2014, Kaplan left her two jobs as an artist and restaurant manager in Philadelphia to join her world-class drummer brother in the marijuana cultivation business.

Kaplan is an infectious voice in Eugene’s recreational cannabis scene. A conversation with her is like being on the other end of a verbal Gatling gun, manned by a happy Rambo, gleefully mowing the other party down with her various campaigns.

In addition to her responsibilities at SugarTop, Kaplan serves as president of the nonprofit Women Leaders in Cannabis, seeking to normalize the presence of women in the cannabis industry and destabilize any social stigma that might be attached to it. The nonprofit also partners with groups like Hope in Our Valley Oregon, which aims to help PTSD victims, and the Rock, Paper, Scissors Foundation to help heal and prevent violence.

Kaplan also helps to ally SugarTop and the Eugene marijuana community in shared marketing efforts. “It’s more important than ever to remain local and support Eugene businesses,” Kaplan says. — Matthew Denis

photo: Trask Bedortha

 

Best Yoga

1. Eugene Yoga 3575 Donald St. 458-208-8378. eugeneyoga.us.

2. Sweaty Ganesh Yoga 820 Charnelton St. 541-349-9642. sweatyganeshyoga.com

3. Everyday People Yoga 352 W. 12th Ave. 541-513-0180. epyogaeugene.com.

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

Best Place to Get Fit

1. Outdoors

2. Downtown Athletic Club 999 Willamette St. 541-484-4011. downtownac.com.

3. YMCA 2055 Patterson St. 541-686-9622. eugeneymca.org.

 

Best Acupuncture

1. Acupuncture for the People 2833 Willamette St. 541-521-6285. acupunctureforthepeople.org.

2. Luke Adler Healing 1633 Willamette St. 541-465-9642. lukeadlerhealing.com.

3. Turning Point Acupuncture / Tom Williams 670 E. 18th Ave. 541-686-9658. eugeneoregonacupuncture.com.

 

Best Local Food Market

1. The Kiva 125 W. 11th Ave. 541-342-8666. kivagrocery.com.

2. (Tie) Market of Choice 1060 Green Acres Rd. 541-344-1901; 1960 Franklin Blvd., 541-687-1188; 67 W. 29th Ave. 541-338-8455; 2580 Willakenzie Rd. 541-345-3349. marketofchoice.com.

2. (Tie) Capella Market. 2489 Willamette St. 541-345-1014. capellamarket.com.

3. Sundance Natural Foods 748 E. 24th Ave. 541-343-9142. sundancenaturalfoods.com.

It’s comes as no surprise to EW that The Kiva again comes in atop the category of Best Local Market. When the big bosses of the EW newsroom go to lunch, they don’t say “let’s grab lunch”; they say, “ready for the Kiva” or “time for a Kiva run.” The family owned Kiva Grocery started as a “Hippie Mall” in 1970 and has been the do-it-all natural food store at its current downtown location since 1983.

Runners up in this category include the well-lit and borderline supermarket mini-chain Market of Choice, Capella Market and Sundance Natural Foods.

It’s worth noting that, outside of The Kiva, these small natural markets tend to be concentrated in the more affluent neighborhoods of South Eugene. Here’s to hoping West Eugene can have some more fresh-food options in the future. — Carl Segerstrom

Photo: Todd Cooper

 

Best Indie Bookstore

1. Tsunami Books 2585 Willamette St. 541-345-8986. tsunamibooks.org.

2. Smith Family Bookstore 525 Willamette St. 541-343-4717; 768 E. 13th Ave. 541-345-1651. smithfamilybookstore.com.

3. J. Michaels 160 E. Broadway. 541-342-2002. jmichaelsbooks.com.

Tsunami Books is a book lover’s dream. The store that looks so tiny from Willamette Street was purchased more than 20 years ago, and was converted from a warehouse to a bookstore that is focused on the community.  “We would call ourselves a community bookstore,” Scott Landfield, owner of Tsunami Books says. “We respond to what people who come in here want.”

Apart from more than 4,000 events Tsunami has hosted over the years, the public is invested — in every sense of the word — in the store. Customers are urged to “inquire within” if they want to help support Tsunami stay alive. Thanks to Landfield’s reliance on the public to help raise the $300,000 he needs to secure a lease for the next 10 years, the community focused store holds on to its reign as Eugene’s Best Indie Bookstore. — Max Thornberry

 

Best Veterinarian

1. Animal Health Associates 2835 Willamette St. 541-345-1544. aha.vet.

2. Eugene Animal Hospital 1432 Orchard St. 541-342-1178. eugeneanimalhospital.net.

3. Amazon Park Animal Clinic (Jones) 725 E. 25th Ave. 541-485-0161. amazonparkvet.com.

 

Best Secondhand Shop

1. St Vincent De Paul 555 High St. 541-344-2115; 100 E. 11th Ave. 541-868-0200; 705 S. Seneca Rd. 541-345-8036; 2345 W. Broadway. 541-284-5024; 199 Q St., Spfd. 541-746-7784; 4555 Main St., Spfd. 541-747-5811. Svdp.us

2. Buffalo Exchange 131 E. 5th Ave. 541-687-2805. Buffaloexchange.com.

3. Goodwill 685 E. Broadway. 541-344-1029; 75 Division Ave. 541-984-3020; 1010 Green Acres Rd. 541-343-4332; 1643 Coburg Rd.; 2823 Chad Dr.; 4925 Barger Dr. 541-345-1801; 855 Seneca Rd., bldg. 1. 541-431-3309; 102 30th St., Spfd. 541-741-7177. goodwill.org.

photo: Trask Bedortha
 
 
 

Author: admin