A ‘food desert’ no more: Neskowin’s delicious market hub

Three years ago, when Kim and Mike Herbel bought the two-story building in the heart of Neskowin, the area was so lacking in food services the Oregon Department of Agriculture dubbed it a “food desert.”

There was no place to dine or shop for food within a 10-mile radius, Kim recalls. The need for something as simple as milk or bread meant a 20-minute drive to Lincoln City. But Kim and Mike had a vision for the two-story wood structure, formerly a store specializing mainly in chips and beer.

“We kept thinking how it could really be so much more for the community,” Kim says. And so they went to work, remodeling and updating the space. A year later, they opened the Neskowin Trading Company, specializing in gourmet food, with a deli, wine section and growler station, plus plenty of staples, like milk and bread.

“For the first three years, people would come in and say, ‘Wow, what did you do?’ We got that a lot.”

But they weren’t finished.

Last fall, they opened the Beach Club Bistro, a chic little lounge featuring a variety of offerings including coast favorites (salmon cakes and chowder, anyone?), Asian fusion dishes, Mexican specials and a selection of dinner entrees ranging from a grilled New York steak to crab and parmesan ravioli.

“The response to Bistro has been great,” says Kim, an artist and avid chef herself. “I have gotten so many 5-star reviews. I’ve been getting great feedback.”

Her recipe for success?

“Food is a lot like art,” she says. “Getting flavors that go together is similar to painting to me. And I just always thought as long as the atmosphere is good, people will come back.”

Lori Tobias

Lori Tobias is a journalist of more than 25 years, most recently as a staff writer for The Oregonian for which she covered the Oregon Coast for a decade. She currently writes a regular column for Oregon Coast Today and freelances for numerous other local, state and national publications. Her novel “Wander” is due out from Red Hen Press in 2016.

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