As promised, the Oregonian's annual Diner restaurant guide dropped in hard-copy form today, and McMinnville's Thistle has been crowned Restaurant of the Year. In the guide's introduction, editor DeAnn Welker writes that Diner's selections focus on restaurants that further the farm-to-table concept. And at Thistle, "rarely does farm to fork seem such a short trip," with chef/owner Eric Bechard breaking down (and cooking with) whole animals in-house, sourcing from local farmers, and employing foraged items in dishes like black cod with squash and brussels sprouts. (The article also has Bechard gamely acknowledging his notoriety as "the dude who got into a fistfight over a not-locally-sourced pig": Of the incident, he says, "It was not a good roundtable discussion to have at 2 in the morning after a day of drinking.")
SE Clinton's red-hot bistro St. Jack, meanwhile, earns the O's 2011 "Rising Star of the Year" nod: Between its staff's impressive pedigrees and organic way of growing as a team, the O notes that "everything here is more than meets the eye."
· Diner 2011 [OregonLive]
· All Previous Oregonian Coverage [Eater PDX]
Image of Thistle courtesy Facebook