THE DEPOT CAFE´

Food: () Well-prepared meals meet the “Great Grandma Standard” of sourcing.

Service: () Food is delivered to tables as quickly as scratch cooking allows.

Atmosphere: () Garden patio highlights casual ambiance that includes a model train.

More Info

Location: 250 W. Cascade St. (U.S. Highway 20), Sisters

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Cuisine: American

Price range: Breakfast $6 to $12.95, lunch $7 to $13.95

Credit cards: Discover, Master­Card, Visa

Kids’ menu: Several selections $5 to $7

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Spinach scramble, Portobello and veggie sandwiches

Alcoholic beverages: Fully licensed

Outdoor seating: Extensive patio and yard

Reservations: No

Contact: sistersdepot.com, 541-549-2572

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Pam Wavrin believes in the “Great Grandma Standard.”

The co-owner of Sisters’ Depot Café (with her husband, Chris) still remembers childhood visits to her great-grandmother’s house, where she was greeted by the aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven.

That loaf, Wavrin recalls, was made with “just a handful of ingredients, and she probably knew the people who had grown the wheat.” So it should come as no surprise that her restaurant meets that same exacting principle of scratch food from local sources: If it contains ingredients that her great-grandmother wouldn’t have recognized as food, or that a 6-year-old cannot pronounce, it won’t be on the menu.

As for the “depot” in the name — no, this building was never a railroad station, although there is a model Santa Fe Railroad train that runs a circuit just beneath the ceiling of the eight-table dining room and above vibrant landscape photos by local artist Mike Putnam.

Outside, to the rear of the restaurant, the Wavrins have built a parklike patio and garden area shielded from highway traffic.

Midday meals

The Depot once served dinners, and may again. For now, however, it’s a seven-days-a-week lunch venue, with an extensive breakfast menu on weekend mornings.

Patrons are greeted at the counter with a smile when they order. Because they are prepared from scratch, meals may take a little while to be delivered — but they are perfectly cooked when they are.

On a recent midday visit, I had a burger with a small bowl of chili. My dining companion ordered a corned-beef Reuben with hand-cut fries.

All of the food was excellent. My Basic Burger ($9.75) was served on a house-baked cheese-and-green onion Kaiser roll with lettuce and tomato; I paid a little extra for cheese and grilled onions. The lightly grilled bun was dressed with mayonnaise.

Other versions are available, including the Mushroom Swiss (exactly what you think, $11.95), Folksy Blues Burger (with bacon, bleu cheese and barbecue sauce, $12.95) and Pam’s Favorite Burger (jalapeños, grilled onions, pepper-jack cheese and avocado, $12.50).

Rather than fries, I tried a cup of the house chili ($5 by itself, but just $1.50 as an add-on). Mildly spicy, served with crackers, it featured red beans, ground chuck and onions in a delicious blend.

My companion’s Reuben ($12.90) placed a generous serving of house-cooked corned beef, with sauerkraut and melted Swiss, on grilled marbled rye from (Big Ed’s artisan bakery in Bend) spread with Thousand Island dressing. She enjoyed it with the Depot’s hand-cut, skin-on fries.

The Depot roasts its own turkey, smokes its own tri-tip beef and even makes its own salad dressings.

Weekend breakfast

While the Depot’s everyday menu has three breakfast choices that are served until closing — including classic eggs and bacon and a breakfast sandwich — we made it a point to return the following weekend, when a far more elaborate morning meal is served until noon.

It may have been the name that drew me to the Hodag spinach scramble ($10.25), a vegetarian meal named for a mythical creature said to haunt the North Woods of Wisconsin, where my father grew up. (It also “inhabits” the nearby Hoodoo ski area.)

Three farm eggs were scrambled together with baby spinach leaves, onions and mushrooms, Swiss and Parmesan cheeses. Fried red potatoes and an English muffin (my choice) came on the side. The meal was good, but as a carnivore, I might next time request the addition of bacon or spicy andouille sausage, an ingredient in the restaurant’s Huevos Rancheros ($12.95).

My friend opted for a gluten-free sweet potato hash ($12.95), tossed with sweet onions, spinach, bacon and mushrooms. Two fried eggs (over easy, per request) were served on top. This meal, as it turned out, is available every day of the week.

While the menu at the Depot Café is primarily American fare, the Wavrins aren’t afraid to venture across international frontiers. The teriyaki rice bowl ($10.95), for instance, offers a nod to the Japanese with grilled chicken breast, sesame seeds and green onions over rice.

The stuffed, Mexican-style quesadilla ($11.50) includes chicken and diced green chilies in a spinach-­flour tortilla. And the grilled Portobello ($12.50), a vegetarian dish, alludes to Italian flavors with a garlic-marinated onion topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and served with a garlic-basil aioli.

The winter harvest salad ($10.95) might be my favorite of the greens selections. Sliced apple, bleu cheese, walnuts and onions and presented on a bed of mixed lettuces with balsamic vinaigrette.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at janderson@bendbulletin.com .

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