McKay Cottage

Food: () Creative recipes are wonderfully prepared so long as the food is fresh.

Service: () Universally excellent, slowly down only slightly on the busiest days.

Atmosphere: () Century-old bungalow has dining in three quaint adjoining rooms.

More Info

Location: 62910 O.B. Riley Road, Bend

Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day

Cuisine: Creative American

Price range: Breakfast $8.95 to $14.75, lunch $9.75 to $13.95

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: On request

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Strawberry crêpes and the Farm Stand Sandwich are fine choices.

Alcoholic beverages: Wine and beer

Outdoor seating: Extensive lawn area

Reservations: Suggested; not accepted after 9 a.m. on Sundays

Contact: themckaycottage.com, 541-383-2697

For more area restaurant reviews, visit www.bend bulletin.com/restaurants

In 1916, when Clyde and Olive McKay built a craftsman bungalow overlooking the Deschutes River beside what is now Mirror Pond, they couldn’t have anticipated that a century later, their home would be one of Bend’s most popular restaurants.

McKay Cottage was moved from Drake Park to its modern location, a couple of miles further north on O.B. Riley Road, in 1973. But it retains the warm, heartfelt ambiance of the childhood home of longtime state Sen. Gordon McKay.

After its relocation, the house was a private residence for a short time. It also became the Original Pantry cafe, a cigar bar and an events space for locals. Meanwhile, led by the Deschutes County Historical Society, it was slowly refurbished to its earlier appearance. When Pamela Morgan bought the building in 2005, she oversaw the finishing touches before opening the following year as a casual but classy place for breakfast and lunch.

Three handsome rooms on the north side of the building welcome diners. Each flows into the next. Furthest back is a roundish library room, its built-in shelves stacked with books. A river-rock fireplace adds warmth to a central room. And on days with fine weather, McKay Cottage offers extensive lawn seating at heated picnic tables.

Service is universally excellent, from start to finish. Guests are greeted in a front parlor, beside a large pastry counter, and promptly seated. A team of attentive servers participate in taking orders, delivering food, busing tables and otherwise assuring a great experience.

Breakfast time

Portions are generous and the food superb — with one exception. An order of “cottage potatoes,” served with a breakfast omelet, was not up to McKay’s usual high standard. The potatoes were very dry, hard and starchy. A manager visited our table to apologize, acknowledging that the kitchen had erred in not disposing of a bad shipment. She saw that it was replaced by a fresh fruit cup of berries, melon and apple.

That accompanied my friend’s Mount Bachelor Omelet ($12.50), which wrapped applewood-smoked bacon with avocado and Monterey jack cheese in a thick layer of folded egg. A dollop of sour cream topped the meal, which she enjoyed with coffee.

For my morning meal, I chose a Baja chicken hash stack ($13.95). Pulled chicken and mild poblano chilies were heaped on a pair of crispy corn tortillas, along with onions, roasted red peppers, kernel corn and house potatoes. Cheddar cheese was melted over all. The crown was a pair of poached eggs with lemony hollandaise sauce, a la eggs Benedict.

Rather than have toast with our breakfasts, we requested house-made muffins from the pastry pantry. My friend had a blueberry muffin; I opted for bran. Both were delicious.

Midday meal

The highlight of my McKay Cottage lunch was a cup of the soup of the day: Hungarian mushroom ($2.75). In fact, it was so nice, I had to have it twice. Domestic mushrooms were simmered with onions in a creamy stew, rich in herbs (I noted thyme, in particular) and a splash of sherry.

After two cups of soup, I wound up eating only half of my Three Sisters Club sandwich ($12.50). Piled high, like its namesake mountains, with several slices of oven-roasted turkey, applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar and avocado, it was served on grilled focaccia bread from Big Ed’s Artisan Bread. Crispy lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise finished this excellent sandwich.

My dining companion chose a Crab, Avocado & Summer Corn Tostada ($13.95). But even the long name didn’t tell the full story of this fusion of Mexican and American beach food. Big chunks of snow crab and chopped mangoes were layered atop crispy tortillas along with charred corn and black beans, poblano peppers and avocados, baby heirloom tomatoes, cilantro and cotija cheese. It was like a Mazatlán crab Louie, only more so.

The menu

There’s lots more to choose from at McKay Cottage, as is evident from the crowds that wait patiently to be seated on crowded weekend mornings.

On previous breakfast visits, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the French toast, stuffed with creamy mascarpone cheese, battered and grilled. It’s served in a croissant and topped with strawberries and/or bananas.

For lunch, there’s a cashew chicken salad, a Monte Cristo (on brioche crusted with corn flakes), Alaskan rockfish tacos and tortas. And a can’t-go-wrong choice is the McKay Burger, with 100 percent Angus beef.

I feel right at home with Olive, Clyde and Sen. Gordon.

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

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