Friday, August 27, 2010

Cruise In Offers More than Mere Burgers

Normally, when I think of diners, I think of greasy spoons, but the Cruise In Country Diner is doing things a bit differently, taking the grease out and replacing it with locally sourced, healthy products instead. Alright, there's still a little grease, but it's organic, grass-fed beef juice that'll be dribbling down your chin.

On a recent exploration of some of Oregon’s small producers, Sylke Neal-Finnigan and Allison George of the Washington County Visitor’s Association wooed me with the wines from Ardiri Wines, Beran Vineyards and A Blooming Hill Vineyard (reviews to come soon). While navigating the countryside on that beautiful Friday afternoon, we passed a little diner I had previously noticed, advertising their selection of local beer and wine. I casually, and half-jokingly, said we should go… I could have sworn I heard those burgers calling to me, a whispering voice floating on the breeze… "Eat Me". Sylke must have heard them calling too, because after our tasting, she suggested we go grab burgers. Fantastic idea, I wish I had thought of it.

I don’t typically write about restaurants (there’s already more than enough restaurant reviewers out there), but every once in a while, something special jumps out at me, gets me really excited, and I just have to spread the word.

The Cruise In Country Diner, located in Hillsboro, Oregon, on the busy corner of River Road and Farmington, was founded by Terry (nicknamed Mr. Organic) and Nancy Newman Hummel just over a year and a half ago. Aside from the extensive selection of mouth-watering beef and buffalo burgers to choose from, like the Hemi-Challenger (3-patties) and the healthier Convertible (no bun), Cruise Inn is taking things to new heights, offering natural, organic and local produce, gluten-free buns and beer, 13 local micro-brews on tap, local draught root beer, four neighborhood wines (from Oak Knoll, Beran Vineyards, Helvetia Vineyards and Forest Grove Cellars), handmade shakes, even organic coffee and ketchup… all at affordable prices and good for the whole family. I've lost track of how many wins that is.

The owners, who were were being the very best hosts as they circulated the restaurant, and mingled with guests. Nancy told us how the addictive bottomless fries we were devouring were picked up that very morning from Hoffman Farms, just down the road; it doesn’t get much fresher or more local than that.

The premium quality is to be savored in every bite, and though they insist they’re not fast food, our orders were delivered so promptly, it was like they knew what we were going to order before we did. Next time you’re anywhere near the Hillsboro area, squeeze in a visit to the Cruise In… the 1950's car memorabilia will catch your interest, but it's the burgers that will capture your heart.


Holly and Jim Witte said...

Yes! We love those unlimited french-fries...besides that, I am a
non-meat eater and always wonder what I will find at places like this.
Well, the mahi-mahi burger was fabulous. AND, they now feature two of
our wines. Yay!

Anonymous said...

Great Food ...cute place and the nicest people. We love this place!