Camp 18

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Camp 18 is the sturdiest restaurant in the West. A log cabin building the size of a train terminal, it features a main room supported by what the management believes to be the largest known ridge pole in the United States: twenty-five tons and five thousand board-feet of lumber. On the walls are massive lumbering saws and old photographs of lumberjacks at work; deep-cushioned couches surround a walk-in fireplace; even many of the customers look like outdoors types, dressed in jeans and flannel. The air smells of cut wood and flapjacks.

This is a theme restaurant, and the stage effects work. More important, the food delivers on the promise of the mise en scene. The kitchen’s specialty is brawny Northwestern cuisine, including family-style dinners of meat and potatoes or chicken and dumplings, big hamburgers and sandwiches for lunch, and proverbial lumberjack breakfasts.

You can order griddle cakes (here known as “flatcars”) and blueberries, waffles (“corks”) with slab ham and eggs, or four-egg omelettes (“bunkhouse” style) served with chunky, well-oiled fried potatoes and big powdery biscuits with melting butter shoved inside. We especially enjoy breakfast of pan-fried razor clams, a regional specialty that is quite popular in lunch counters as well as deluxe restaurants. The clams are big, crunchy, sweet, and relatively tender, accompanied by spuds, eggs, and biscuits. The Camp 18 cinnamon roll is ridiculously large, covering most of a normal-size dinner plate.

You will have no trouble spotting this place as you travel along Highway 26. It is surrounded for hundreds of yards by heavy tree cutting equipment. It looks like it might be a lumber camp or, on closer inspection, a lumbering museum.

What To Eat

Giant Cinnamon Roll

DISH

Camp 18 Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Camp 18?

2 Responses to “Camp 18”

Peter Simpson

January 14th, 2009

I am a local and I’m sorry to say Camp 18 has gone downhill in the last four to five years. I took some guests to Camp 18 for lunch. I told them it was worth the drive because the food is great. I was never so embarrassed.

The food was terrible, greasy, and inedible. The waitress did nothing but complain about her coworker who didn’t show up for work the last three days. The service was as bad as the food.

The gift shop is full of junk; dated worthless trinkets and, given the economy, I don’t think anyone is really going to buy any of it. Sorry to say this is one I am marking off my list. I will never eat here again, nor will I recommend it to anyone.

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Michelle Manios

October 1st, 2007

I am originally from Oregon, living in Oklahoma. In all the years I lived in the Portland area and went to the coast I never went to Camp 18, even though everyone I met told me how great it is. When I came home to Oregon to visit my family with my new husband, who had rarely been out of Oklahoma, I vowed we would go to Camp 18. Our anniversary is in December and we had booked a room in Seaside. On the way there we stopped at Camp 18 for breakfast. The dining room was decorated for Christmas, including the largest decorated tree we had ever seen. It was absolutely beautiful. We had a nice corner table with windows overlooking the creek.

I ordered razor clams and eggs and my husband ordered an omelet. My breakfast was wonderful: the razor clams were tender and perfect. My husband, being from Oklahoma, had never heard of having seafood for breakfast. I managed to get him to try the clams and to this day he raves about them and wishes he had ordered them instead of the omelet. We appreciated the attentiveness of the staff. Visiting Camp 18 was one major highlight of my husband’s second trip to Oregon.

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