Chef Profile: Julie Barker, Buttercup Skip to content

Tillamook Coast Life Blog

Chef Profile: Julie Barker, Buttercup

“I was looking for something different, something our area didn’t have.”

Julie Barker has been a pillar of the Tillamook Coast dining scene for over 30 years.

She’s owned and been the chef at such local staples as Blue Sky Cafe, Bread & Ocean, and currently Buttercup Homemade Ice Creams & Chowders.

Julie Barker is an icon of the Tillamook Coast dining scene Manzanita Vacation Rentals
Julie Barker is an icon of the Tillamook Coast dining scene

And what’s made her successful is her knack for creativity, understanding the coastal food scene, and listening to her customers.

“When we bought Blue Sky we had staff, but just by attrition I needed to go into the kitchen and I really enjoyed it,” she said with a laugh. “Eventually I got on a roll and didn’t want anyone cooking but me.”

When it came to deciding on her next endeavor after selling Bread & Ocean, she thought about the repeated questions she’d get from customers: Where’s the best chowder? Where’s the best ice cream?

Then in 2015, Barker discovered Buttercup Homemade Ice Creams & Chowders was the place she’d always dreamed of running.

A look at her menu showcases Barker’s creativity: Italian frozen mousse, Thai red curry chowder, Bananas Foster on a cinnamon cone, Brazilian fish chowder.

Whenever Julie Barker is cooking happy diners are found Buttercup
Whenever Julie Barker is cooking, happy diners are found.

“Those things are synonymous with the coast,” she said. “No one was doing either thing as a focus so I just decided the two went together. Our locals have always been my biggest supporters, and also my guinea pigs.”

Barker takes pride in using as many local ingredients as possible for her chowders and ice creams, including milk from Bennett Family Farms. She feels that comes through in the quality and taste of the end product.

“I like rustic, the best quality ingredients, the easiest procedures. I put a lot of love into everything.”

Visit Barker at Buttercup in downtown Nehalem.

A Picture of Dan Haag
Dan Haag
Born and raised in the great white north of Minnesota, Dan Haag felt the pull of the north Oregon Coast in the early 90s. Finding that rain never needed to be shoveled, he married an Oregon girl and settled in Manzanita, where he works as director of the Manzanita Visitors Center. He is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of state and national publications. He spends his free time wandering the area’s many trails, supporting the Oregon wine and beer industry, perusing coastal bookstores, and chasing his black Labrador, Lilo, along the beach.