If you ask around in Tillamook County, Old Oregon Smokehouse has a solid reputation for serving up some of the best dishes around. An Oregonian article recently awarded two top slots to the Smokehouse for best fish and chips on the coast, one for each location, adding to a long list of accolades that includes a nod from USA Today for best seafood.
With locations in Rockaway Beach and Tillamook, it’s likely you’ve seen the restaurants before. One is directly across from the Tillamook Creamery, the other is tucked away on the main drag in Rockaway. Both spots offer a surprisingly diverse menu that is highlighted by wide array of seafood, too much to list here. There is quite a bit choose from for taking home, too.
Harold, Cindy and Adam Brecht own the Old Oregon Smokehouses. They run the restaurants themselves along with manager Sandy Dixson and a staff of around a dozen between both locations. They’re particularly proud of the fish and chips, hand-breaded with a dry batter and fried to perfection. The clam chowder is acclaimed as well, and the crab dishes are among the most popular. They scour the Pacific Northwest coast for the best to fill out the menu.
It’s not uncommon to find a line outside the Rockaway Beach location at opening time. Hundreds of rave reviews on Yelp and strong local following keep the cozy spot packed year-round. During the Kite Festival this year, the line stretched down the sidewalk to the corner, dozens and dozens of people eager for a taste. Old Oregon Smokehouse is said to be the longest running restaurant with the same owners in the community.
Harold ran his own logging company before an injury forced his retirement, leading the Brechts to the seafood market and later the restaurant business in Scappoose around 25 years ago. It was a natural fallback after growing up around his mom’s restaurant. The Rockaway Beach Old Oregon Smokehouse opened seventeen years ago and hasn’t slowed down since. Around a decade ago, they opened the Tillamook location. The secret to their success is working for it.
“If you want to be successful, you’ve got to work hard,” Harold said. It’s paying off. The past four years have seen significant increases in business for the Brechts. As locals hear the good word and tourists flock to the shores, they expect to keep seeing crowds line up to check it out.