Zeek’s Cheese Grill – microrestaurants opening in the ‘burbs

Zeek's Cheese Grill - Oregon Sandwich
Zeek’s Cheese Grill – Oregon Sandwich

The Portland food cart craze is evolving as it spreads to suburbia and encounters a different set of zoning regulations and laws and a different local lifestyle. The Sunset Highway corridor is seeing a new breed – microrestaurants in new and existing malls. They offer the local/sustainable/creative/foodie cuisine we’ve come to expect from Portland food carts, but in a suburban setting.

Zeek’s Cheese Grill has a new outpost at Bethany Village, joining KOi Fusion, The Bowl & Berry and soon-to-open Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack. All are food cart successes spinning off into suburban microrestaurants.

Zeek's Cheese Grill - Soup
Zeek’s Cheese Grill – Soup

Zeek’s offers outstanding creative grilled cheese creations. I had the Oregon with pear, bacon jam, brie and gorgonzola, plus a tomato and gorgonzola soup.  They have a tiny counter for inside seating, but share lots of outdoor tables with the other establishments. I loved being able to get half sandwich (more diet friendly), and it comes with a dipping cup of tomato soup. They also have a cart in Hillsdale Food Park.

Now all of those hard-working Intel employees living in the nearby condos don’t have to hop MAX to get some great food cart food.

Or, if you’re headed to the Oregon Coast or returning, take the small detour at Cornell Road/Bethany Blvd. and go north about a mile to the Bethany Village shopping center (on the right/east side of the road).

Zeek’s Cheese Grill
Bethany Village: 4780 NW Bethany Blvd, Portland, OR
Hillsdale: 6238 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR

See also: Clutch Prime Sausagery Opens in Cedar Mill


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Backwoods Brewing Company – great craft beer from Carson, WA

The Vancouver Brewfest always introduces us to local NW craft breweries we need to explore further.  Our discovery at the Spring Brewfest was Backwoods Brewing Company from Carson, Washington.

Backwoods Brewing Company
Backwoods Brewing Company

Their allotted two brews at the brewfest were their Logyard IPA (which they brew year-round and can be found in bottles and cans) and a special AshWoods IPA, a collaboration with Ashtown Brewing of Longview, WA.  One taste of the AshWoods had both me and my husband eager for more. It had that great Citra hops citrus punch with a sweet malty body. 7.5% alcohol, 55 IBU.

Backwoods Brewing Company Beer List
Backwoods Brewing Company Beer List

What better to do on a spring Saturday than zip down the Columbia Gorge to Carson to sample what Backwoods had to offer? This family-owned brewery got its start in 2012. They converted the back of the general store into a rustic brewpub, open Thursday – Monday from 3 pm (at least for the winter).

We arrived at 3:30 on Saturday and the tables were already full. They have 12 picnic tables inside and a bar, with more picnic tables outside overlooking a pasture and mountains. The chainlink fence topped with barbed wire serves to keep the cattle away from your picnic. It looked like a great place to lounge after a fun day in the Gorge.

Back patio - Backwoods Brewing Company, Carson, WA
Back patio – Backwoods Brewing Company, Carson, WA

The food menu includes pizza, salads, bar snacks and grilled sandwiches.  They offer a six-sample taster with generous 4+ ounce pours set into a slice of log. I went straight for a pint of AshWoods IPA while my husband sampled the taster.

He gave top ratings to the Double Cutt IPA and AshWoods, and we both enjoy the Logyard IPA. We got a growler fill of AshWoods to take home.

Pizza - Backwoods Brewing Company
Pizza – Backwoods Brewing Company

The pizza was very good, and available in three sizes. They have a list of combos that should please anyone.

It is a place for locals as well as the tourists – loggers who love lagers and sailboarders and cyclists who love suds. It’s definitely worth setting your Garmin for to end a day in the Gorge. They are one of 10 on the Breweries in the Gorge Passport Tour. Visit 8 to get a free pint glass.

Their beer can be found on tap throughout the Northwest as well as in cans and bottles at well-stocked Northwest markets.

1162 Wind River Rd # B
Carson, Washington



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