No man is an island, but Mazzi's proves that an island can be a man's muse. Since 1970, founder Frank Ernandes has looked to his father's former home?Favignana, an island off of western Sicily?for culinary inspiration. His menu prioritizes authenticity in both flavor and preparation, relying on locally sourced ingredients and homestyle cooking methods to give entrees their rustic edge. Before being crushed into the house pesto sauce or edible confetti, basil leaves arrive from the restaurant's own farm. Tomatoes and vegetables reach the kitchen from other nearby harvests. And the bread, fettuccine, and sausage are all housemade.
Mazzi's design also recalls its pastoral island roots. Around a villa-like exterior, blossoms cascade from hanging flowerpots and water burbles down the stone steps of a fountain. Stained-glass depictions of vines and grapes spiral on the windows, looking in on the dining room and its two fireplaces?glowing fixtures that helped Mazzi's earn a spot on Yahoo! Voices' list of Eugene's most romantic restaurants. The venue is no stranger to awards for its food, either. In 2011, it won second place in the Register-Guard's Italian category and took the same spot in Eugene Weekly's The Best of Eugene 2012?2013.
When brothers Omer and Dave Orian moved to America after spending some of their childhood in Belgium, they started to dream about opening a shop that served the Liège-style waffles. Today the curly-haired duo—dubbed “Eugene’s Waffle Imperialists” by the Eugene Daily News—prepares their yeasted waffles across two Eugene locations.
To make Liège waffles, the brothers fold Belgium-imported pearl sugar into a brioche-like yeasted dough, caramelizing the batter in a cast-iron waffle maker before it’s crowned with sweet and savory toppings, like the goat cheese, avocado, and eggs of the shop’s Goat in Headlights waffle. The menu also includes sweet waffles, such as The Ol’ Banana Split. For the adventurous eater, try an “In-between” waffle like The Sweet Funk Machine, with pear, gorgonzola, cinnamon, and wildflower honey. Omelets, salads, and organic coffee round out the menu.
“Every sort of person populating these parts can be seen at the cozy Glenwood Restaurant,” the New York Times says, nodding to the eatery’s popular menu of hearty breakfasts, sandwiches, and other American food. The chili verde brunch burrito—lauded by Sports Illustrated as “worth getting out of bed early for”—greets the day along with fruit waffles and denver omelets, and lunchtime brings tomato-cheese soup and paninis. Tempeh stir-fries with peanut sauce and brown rice join pasta genovese and steak and mushrooms at dinnertime, complemented by glasses and microglasses of wine and microbrews.
Hawaiian, Polynesian, and Asian flavors share table space at Ron's Island Grill, a Eugene eatery known for specialties such as Kalua pulled pork and Huli Huli teriyaki chicken. They've also recently expanded their menu to include crisp salads and juicy burgers crafted from Oregon Natural Meats beef. Diners can sample the tropical cuisine at three locations, pairing their meals with beer at two of the three. Even the to-go containers incorporate tropical ingredients—they're made from biodegradable sugar-cane pulp.
The classic all-beef frank is the centerpiece of the menu at Diggity Dog, but the chefs here get creative with their encased meats?you can also try the decadent, double-smoked British pub sausages, which come decked out with cheddar and bacon. Top off any dog with a variety of condiments that includes six types of mustard and three types of relish. Cascade Glacier milkshakes and ice cream are also available as cappers to your meal.
In the early morning, when many sandwich joints are still shuttered tight, Big Town Hero's bakers are hard at work. Hand-crafting each loaf of bread in-store every morning, they lay the foundation for the day's delicious sandwiches. Out of the oven and sliced in two, the bready canvasses support towering piles of delicious deli meat and fresh veggies, sourced locally whenever possible. A selection of veggie heroes delights vegetarians while gluten-free rolls offer sandwich options for those with dietary restrictions or those who've taken a binding kindergarten oath never to eat anything that starts with "glu."