I shouldn’t write about The Cafe on Hawk Creek. It’s too busy already. We may not even be able to get a table come high tourist season. Although once the rains pass, perhaps some evenings will be warm enough to enjoy their generous deck.
This is a find on the Oregon Coast. I had been to Hawk Creek a couple of time back in 2005-2006 when our son was moving to Lincoln City to take a chef job. I remembered enjoying the pizza, but that was before our Italian adventure and neither Ric nor I were pizza
snobs aficionados at the time. Rediscovering Hawk Creek over a couple of visits, I know it is going to be in the regular rotation not only for pizza but for the overall excellent menu.
A 15-minute drive through coastal woodlands brings us to Neskowin faster than we used to walk Rossini in Rome. We went to Hawk Creek twice this month. Early in the month we waltzed in at 18:30 and were immediately shown a table. Last Saturday we arrive a few minutes before 19:00 and had a 30-minute wait. The wait was very entertaining as we had a great view of the pizzaioli making pies as fast as they could. The lesson (at least on Saturday night): come early. Or late. There are no reservations for smaller parties. Or you can take your pizza to go but to us, that is an inauthentic experience.
The pizza is robust. American in size (enormous) and topping choices, it is Italian-ish in that the sauce is housemade and the crust is chewy yet tender, slightly charred from the wood-fired brick oven. We ordered a large Deluxe (Salami, pepperoni, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives and Italian sausage) but could barely eat half. The leftovers made a fine breakfast on Sunday.
On our second visit, we promised ourselves we would not order pizza but would try something from the dinner menu. Unfortunately, the menu on their website does not include the half-dozen dinner selections which included salmon, halibut, and scallops. Our selections were scallops and salmon, each not only prepared perfectly but served with a creative veg and scrumptious potatoes. This is something I really appreciate about Northwest cuisine. No boring steamed asparagus, but rather braised-to-a-state-of-caramelized Brussels sprouts with sweet bits of butternut squash. The starch accompanying Ric’s scallops were pesto mashed potatoes. A salad was included, selection of ultra-fresh greens, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes capped with slivered hazelnuts.
Hawk Creek has an impressive selection of beers on tap and an equally impressive wine list. There are a few by-the-glass options.
We can’t wait to try their breakfast, but the pizza is calling to me for a sooner-rather-than-later encounter.
Pizza Quality: 3 Fresh dough made daily, housemade sauce, fresh mozzarella, great produce and a wood-fired oven combine to make an excellent pie. I am not big on creative pizza toppings preferring a more Italian approach, but there are some interesting combos for those more adventurous than me.
Service: 3 Despite the busyness, the comings-and-goings of people picking up pies, and the no reservations system, Hawk Creek servers are never harried, always polite, and give an excellent estimate on how long you’ll have to wait. The electronic buzzer they give you while you wait has a range of over a mile, so it’s OK to walk around a bit.
Ambiance: 3 Cute and cozy in a pleasant and almost rural setting (Neskowin is very small). Mostly four-tops but they can serve larger groups with creative rearrangement. There are a few seats at the bar and the deck will be grand in summer.
Total Points: 9
Returnability: The Best! Go out-of-your-way to eat here. If you are on the Central Oregon Coast, make the trek to Neskowin!