The McKay Cottage has been voted the best breakfast in Bend for nearly a decade straight. Bend is a serious little food town, and any place that can maintain local loyalties for that long must be special.
The Cottage is an historical landmark, but it’s busier than any local museum. The lines out the door are justified; its food is timelessly beautiful. While you wait, there is excellent coffee to keep you warm on the porch.
The Cottage originated on Mirror Pond, outside of town, and was moved to its current site in 1973. After falling into various states of occupation and repair, it was fully restored by the Deschutes County Historical Society. The restoration was designed to best return the house to its original craftsman design and decor. It was only in 2005 that the Cottage became a breakfast restaurant. Full bookshelves and large windows keep it bright and sophisticated.
The menu features many classic Oregonian flavors, like marionberry scones and cottage potatoes. Signature McKay Cottage Potatoes are a perfect example of Pacific-Northwestern breakfast sensibilities. Chunks of fried potato are softened into scrambled eggs with applewood smoked bacon, ham, scallions and tomatoes. The dazzling mess is topped with cheddar. The dish comes with a butter scone, which is a pie slice of soft fluffy scone served with Oregon’s favorite condiment, marionberry jam. We loved the combination so much, that we decided to get a second scone, this one loaded with marionberries. We prefer it this way — with fruit incorporated.
It’s difficult to decide what to order. As dishes came out from the kitchen, they turn heads. Plates are that rare combination of impressively large and colorfully artistic. Ultimately, we went with the Benham Falls Benny. The “Benny” is, as many things in Bend are, named after one of the local geographical wonders. It is a German twist on the Benedict, with a pretzel bun instead of English muffin and sausage instead of back bacon. What really ties it all together is Dijon hollandaise atop. The sausage, pretzel, and mustard combination is breakfasty enough, with wilted spinach and tomatoes mixed in to freshen it up. It goes very well with the Cottage’s famous fried breakfast potatoes, which themselves have a bit of German flair. It was almost enough to tempt us to get a local beer with breakfast.