The local beer and Northwest wines are flowing, the traditional ice cream and artisanal gelato is ready to scoop, and your favorite beachside restaurants are firing up the grills again with their freshest coastal cuisine. Hungry yet? You can bet Seaside’s food and drink establishments (including the famed North Coast Food Trail stops) have been working hard to prepare for your return and want your support.
But before you dive in, know that things will look a bit different, and a little kindness and patience go a long way. Come with a sense of adventure, and if you appreciate what employees are doing, don’t forget to show your thanks with smiles, warm words and maybe even an extra tip. It’s been a difficult year and our restaurateurs are pouring their heart and souls into creating a great experience for you amidst the new protocols, which are designed to keep everyone safe. So thank you for dining locally! Here’s what to expect at a few of our stand-out spots.
Refreshments To Go: Sea Star Gelato
After years of vacationing in Seaside, Tanya and Douglass Lintow decided to settle down on the North Coast in 2018 as they became the new owners of Sea Star Gelato, which has become a beachside classic. They had just put in some new upgrades at the shop — located just off Broadway Street, a block from the Turnround — when the COVID-19 closures hit. Now as they reopen, they couldn’t be more excited. “Generally, when people come to get ice cream they’re happy anyway,” says Tanya. “We’re hoping even though they’ve been cooped up they can come and enjoy homemade gelato again.” The shop holds a capacity of just 16 people, with two display cases for their 32 rotating made-fresh-daily flavors that will be cleaned frequently by a designated employee. There’s plenty of room between the seating area and the line, where customers will be asked to wait outside if needed. Employees will wear masks and gloves and hand out sample spoons with a disposal bucket nearby. Plexiglass around the cash register and hand sanitizer for customers and employees will help keep everyone safe. The couple are ready to debut 10 fresh new flavors, including Superman — red, white and blue — and Sea Salt & Honey Hokey Pokey, with a golden-sugar crunchiness similar to sea foam. “We’re hoping everyone follows all the rules and new processes,” Tanya says. “I think people are eager to get back out there.”
Fast-Casual Keeps Delivering: Thai Me Up
Just off Highway 101 at the south end of town, Thai Me Up welcomes diners to its renovated space with its tasty soups and noodle dishes, spicy chicken wings, curries and crispy spring rolls. Customers may use the picture menu over the counter to place their order, make a cash or credit-card payment (with high-touch surfaces sanitized between each customer use) and wait for staff to bring the food and drink out, wearing gloves and a mask at all times. Tables are spaced 10 feet apart, with floor markers indicating where to stand, plus there’s outdoor seating for fresh-air dining. If the restaurant is full, diners will be asked to wait outside. If you’ve always wanted to try Thai cooking, owner Patta Lorwatcharasophon has posted cooking demos from her home kitchen so you can recreate the flavors at home.
Gathering Spaces Live On: Finn’s Fish House, Twisted Fish, Times Theatre
With its brand-new outdoor patio featuring three gas fireplaces, Finn’s Fish House on Broadway (two blocks from the Turnaround) is a prime spot to unwind with a plate of oysters and a thirst-quenching cocktail this summer. One block east is its sister restaurant, Twisted Fish Steakhouse, a lively bar and grill serving up hearty beach favorites. And Times Theatre & Public House — two doors to the west of Finn’s — may be your new favorite gathering spot in Seaside, especially for beer and sports fans. All three businesses are back open to visitors with social-distancing measures in place and an extra emphasis on clean. Specifically, Finn’s is serving three meals a day from its full menu in its dining room, lounge and patio. The patio’s communal fire pits are 6 feet long, so groups can dine on opposite ends. Twisted Fish has reopened as a spot for ages 21 and over, with seating only in the sports lounge with a menu limited to casual classics: juicy burgers, appetizers and flatbread. While the state’s temporary ban on large-gathering prevents showings of movies or live music, the Times Theatre is keeping visitors happy with showings of classic sporting events on the big screen daily at 5 p.m. Sit back for a spell and indulge in their killer menu — don’t miss the Sriracha-candied bacon and pub nachos. The Theatre is home to Sisu Beer (one of two local breweries along with nearby Seaside Brewery) and it couldn’t get more local: the fermenting tanks sit behind the silver screen. All three establishments do not accept reservations, so guests are welcome to wait outside until there’s room available.
Fine Dining Stays Fresh: Maggie’s on the Prom
Diners may once again sit down to an upscale spin on local rock cod fish and chips, steamer clams or Willapa Bay oysters at Maggie’s on the Prom — Seaside’s iconic fine-dining restaurant. Located in the The Seaside Oceanfront Inn, a boutique hotel on the south Promenade, Maggie’s is reopening with a revamped lunch and dinner menu, more tightly focused but still fiercely local and seasonal. Tables are now spaced 6 feet apart as required by Oregon’s new protocols. That brings the restaurant’s capacity to an intimate 20, down from 47. No tables will be set prior to service, and condiments like salt and pepper will be provided on request in single-use packets or containers, as well as kids’ menus and crayons. “We are sad to see the tabletop ambiance have to go away,” but it’s for the safety of diners, says co-owner Sadie Mercer.
Staff will also be hypervigilant about hand-washing, wearing masks and hand washing, and will sanitize the laminated menus and other surfaces between shifts. Guests are asked to follow the social-distancing stickers at the doors and use the hand-sanitizer stations at the doors and outside on the patio. Patio seating will be added to the grassy area closest to the promenade. Bar seating is no longer available, and guests are encouraged to order to-go — either to enjoy at the beach or in their rooms. Reservations or walk-ins are welcome; if there’s a wait, guests may wait outside with a pager until a table is available.
Find Seaside’s full directory of dining options here.