In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of The Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location, thin, Lebanese-style pitas encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for each bread, meat, and post-meal toothpick and corralling a selection of healthy sandwiches, which dining companions can wash down with fruit smoothies.
Wise oenophiles stock WineStyles' shelves with top-quality nectars and preside over tastings of reds and whites three days each week. Customers can skip over exhaustive grape stomping and lengthy fermentation processes and indulge in finished products by exploring samples ($5–$10) at Thursday-evening tastings and at Saturday events. A different theme characterizes each of the Thursday and Saturday tastings, which are often hosted by representatives from local wineries and heavily attended by satyrs. On Fridays, customers embark on featured flights ($10) before swilling an entire goblet of their favorite of the samples. Accommodating staff members stand by to assist customers who wish to purchase bottles of selections that titillated their palate's fermented fancies.
In the mild climes of the Willamette Valley, gentle slopes and low elevation nurture the 35 acres of wine grapes that produce Ankeny Vineyard's collection of pinot noir, pinot gris, and other signature wines. Vineyard owner Joe Olexa planted his first grapes in 1982, and with the help of winemaker Andy Thomas, the varietals have stood the test of time to become perennial award-winners at the Oregon State Fair and beyond. Visitors converse on the winery's patio over glasses of pinot noir and mélange blanc, surveying the scenic Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge and its droves of migratory waterfowl. An onsite outdoor, wood-burning pizza oven allows for wines to balance with the flavors of melted cheese on weekends during the summer months, which will have to suffice until cheese agrees to be bottled.
Second-generation wine cultivators, the VanVolkinburg family wring award-winning rieslings and pinot noirs from the picturesque Vitae Springs Vineyard. Grown on 25 acres of the estate's lush vines, the pinot noir swirls with berry notes produced by the vines’ brief but intense infatuation with a neighboring strawberry patch, and 2.5 acres produce a dry, Alsatian-style riesling. Friday happy hours (5–8 p.m.) and scheduled 30-minute tastings throughout the week let customers can sip through a small flight before selecting a favorite for a full glass. Each taster leaves with a Riedel wineglass that bears the vineyard’s initials and the unique fingerprints of several of its most outstanding grapes, imbuing at-home imbibing with extra elegance.