If you have the propensity towards affection for anything The Grateful Dead, you sure missed out the other night at The Skyway Bar & Grill.
The Skyway is located in Zigzig, Oregon, nestled up to the beautiful expanse of Mount Hood and the surrounding Mount Hood National Forest. The bar features a full restaurant dining experience, as well as a large bar and venue area. The atmosphere is that of a longtime local Mount Hood establishment. The mix of posters, placards and art on the walls allude to a very laid-back, fun frame of mind. The food is outstanding. The large outdoor backyard comes equipped with games, a fire pit, and many cozy little private areas to sit and enjoy the weather. First, however, let me briefly describe the night I spent jammin’ with Papagayo.
Papagayo is a band from my past, out of Portland. While they no longer tour, the show they put on at Skyway was one of the greatest reunion shows I have ever seen. As aforementioned, the music is definitely mostly Grateful Dead covers, with some southern rock and blues covers and originals mixed in. The house was packed, and the boys played like they were on fire (“Fire on the Mountain!”). A mixture of old friends and new friends gathered to dance and sing their hearts out, and not only was the band reunited, but so were many long lost acquaintances. You could feel the spirit of magic and joy in the air all night.
The set lists were perfect, and covered the range of much loved, classic Dead songs, to more obscure titles that only the true Dead Head will know. An older gentleman in a wheelchair was rolled up to the very front of the dance floor, and boy he sure boogied harder than anyone. It was amazing.
Okay, back to the Skyway itself. Skyway has a variety of items on their menu, but they are known for their BBQ and their mac and cheese. I live in Hood River, Oregon, and I hear people raving in my town about the mac and cheese they had at Skyway. While I can’t divulge the nature of the “variety of cheese” they boast on their menu, I can tell you that the breadcrumb topping is indeed baked to perfection.
On this particular occasion, I found myself hankering for a burger. I am a red-meat kinda gal, yet I very rarely (no pun intended) order burgers when I’m dining out. I find that the beef tends to be flavorless and overcooked at many restaurants, and just isn’t worth the $9-$10 I end up paying for it. This is definitely not the case at Skyway. First off, the burger is served on a handmade brioche roll. I was in pure salivation heaven as soon as that plate hit my table. I ordered the burger with bleu cheese and bacon, and there was no lack of generosity in my bleu cheese portioning. The bacon was cooked perfectly and the portioned to have some in every bite, but not be overwhelmingly greasy. Now I get to the good stuff: the burger patty itself. I asked for it to be cooked medium-rare, knowing that they source their beef from a very reputable location, and guess what? It came out medium-rare. It seems simple enough, but so many restaurants cannot seem to grasp cooking a burger this way. That first bite was enough to make me forget about the hoards of people standing around me, and even forget the music was playing, for I was in hamburger nirvana. The full, rich flavor of their handmade ground beef patties is enough to keep this little meat-eater driving back up to the mountain for more, hopefully not so often that I have to buy a new, looser wardrobe. I have also heard that their Vietnamese-style “Bahn Mi” sandwiches are out-of-this-world, though I will be hard-pressed to try anything but that amazing burger.
All in all, I give The Skyway Bar and Grill two thumbs, two toes, and many taste buds, up. For their location, they consistently have an amazing line-up of talented musicians and DJs gracing their stage, and there is plenty of room for dancing. Whether you make it a special trip from elsewhere, or find yourself on Mount Hood, you would be doing yourself an injustice if you did not stop and check out The Skyway. Check out their current lineup and amazing menu at http://www.skywaybarandgrill.com/.
Till next time, get out there and live folks!