When you are headed into wine country, be sure to save a little time to make a stop at this out-of-the-way restaurant. Situated in the sleepy town of Dayton, this restaurant is in a class of its own with wildly delightful mushroom-focused meals and a lovely historic atmosphere.
With a population just above 2,000, this wine country town has a classic small town feel.
Hidden within the small towns charm, The Joel Palmer House Restaurant sits in the original house built by Oregonian Joel Palmer in 1857.
Joel Palmer, a pioneer from Indiana, founded the town of Dayton in 1848. The house he built, which serves as the restaurant, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
It is no wonder that Joel Palmer chose this exquisite location for his family, with rolling green hills, many of which are now vineyards, surrounding the property.
The focus of the restaurant is on mushrooms, a passion of the founder of the restaurant, Jack Czarnecki, a James Beard award-winning author.
Opened in 1996, the restaurant continues to carry on the original mission of the restaurant to serve great mushroom dishes with fine wines.
Today the kitchen is run by Czarnecki's son Christopher, who carries on the house-foraged ingredient-driven menu.
Much of the restaurant's herbs, greens and vegetables are sourced locally, while the finished dishes draw on many world cuisines.
The fresh, crisp ingredients are plentiful here, and will make you thankful that you took this out of the way drive to get here.
Next time you are out in wine country, keep this lovely restaurant in mind. Its backyard seating is reminiscent of home, but the food is much, much more inspired.