For Breakfast and Berries
Just how country is Blueberry Hills? The onetime homestead in the hills is anchored by a wooden barn and surrounded by 10 acres of u-pick -blueberry plants. Inside, picnic tables compete for space with walls of jarred jam and the oddball collections from co-owner Kari Sorensen’s grandparents—like eyeglasses and rotary telephones strung on the ceiling. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, but blintzes and Danish yeast waffles topped with warm blueberry pie filling are most worth the hick schtick.

1315 Washington St, 509-687-2379;


For Fruit-Fired Pizza
They could have bought a wood-fired pizza oven or imported one from Italy, but Nathalie Ascher and Tom Addison, the couple behind Orchard Wood Ovens, were the hands-on types. They built their own mobile oven, then cooked at a local winery for a year before constructing a permanent one last summer in a downtown Manson restaurant. The oven is fueled by apple- and cherrywood sourced from local orchards, mostly from farmers pruning or making burn piles. See if you can taste the apple smokiness in the all-from-scratch flatbread pizzas—or just appreciate that the hard fruitwood makes for a hot oven and quick food prep.

70 E Wapato Way, 509-687-3707;


For Naughty Wine
Hope you like puns, because they’re everywhere at Hard Row to Hoe winery, named for a booty call—specifically the taxing rowboat trip between a 1930s mining camp and the brothel on Lake Chelan’s opposite shore. The wines are in on the joke with names like Nauti Buoy (a white blend that’s mostly riesling) and Afternoon Delight (an orange muscat), and the tasting room decor includes a blackened iron bedframe from when the uplake brothel burned in the 1940s. Wicked, but still nice to nature: Vineyard maintenance is certified as salmon-safe, and essential oils are used in place of pesticides. Peer closely at the bawdy (okay, very dirty) figures that make up the red-and-pink wallpaper pattern, and look for the winery’s phone number inscribed in the walkway under the words “For a Good Time Call…”

300 Ivan Morse Rd, 509-687-3000;


For Cheese and Sweets
Owner Timi Starkweather has been importing 180 varieties of cheese to the Chelan area for years; in May she opened Fromaggio Bistro on Manson’s main street, dishing up tapas and desserts. She’ll soon make some in house—including pepper jack, brie, and mozzarella—for the tapas plates that pair with local wines. The meaty menu also has steak and ribs, but the housemade ice creams and sauteed strawberry desserts are the better fit for the outdoor tables and Manson’s endless string of sunny days.

14 E Wapato Way, 509-888-6452;

For Meatless Mexican
Though Lake Chelan is about as far from Mexico as you can get without crossing the Canadian border, El Vaquero dishes up more than the usual cheesy, refried version of Mexican cuisine. Owner and chef Lupe Viveroz makes mole from scratch herself, an incredibly labor-intensive dish that’s been on the menu for the restaurant’s 25 years of March-to--November service. Nearly three-quarters of the menu is vegetarian, buoyed by vegetables grown in the family’s own garden. Rajitas (think fajitas) feature whatever was ripe on a given morning, and Viveroz brings in a relative to make a special cheese for the vegetarian enchiladas. Diners, says Viveroz’s son JC, leave understanding “why cheddar cheese is not a Mexican food ingredient.”

75 E Wapato Way, 509-687-3179


For Continental Vino
In 2009, Lake Chelan became the 11th American Viticultural Area, or AVA, to be recognized in Washington state, though Native Americans grew grapes in the valley more than a century ago. Of the 20 wineries now producing, only Atam Winery could be mistaken for the Old World: German-born winemakers Denis and Irmi Atam bottle riesling and gewürztraminer in their large log house high above Manson. But not all is Teutonic; the Barbera red shows off a traditional Italian grape, and this year Atam introduces a syrah. Like other wineries in the area, Atam hosts live music, turning the lawn into a picnic area on summer Saturday afternoons. 

750 Kinsey Rd, 509-687-4421;

Published: August 2013

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