Davidson's Casual Dining in Tigard, Oregon, is one of the most impressive Roadfood places I have found. Everything is made from scratch, including the mashed potatoes, halibut, and pies. They emphasize using local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. Since they opened in 1972, the beverage of choice has been their root beer, brewed in the restaurant and giving that taste that no canned or bottled root beer can ever hope to duplicate. Served in a cold mug, the taste of the herbs and roots are not overpowered by the slight sweetness. The carbonation is just enough to give a zing. This is easily one of the best root beers you can drink.
Davidson's is located on Pacific Highway, running from California to Washington. You can't ask for a better Roadfood location than that. The restaurant itself has a friendly look, maybe 20 tables or so, a counter, and several booths. The sign, with its neon moving arrows pointing in, also shows the daily specials, which include their beef stew. A nice-sized bowl with a roll on the side, large chunks of tender beef and a delicious sauce, this special seems to attract a lot of people. Comments I heard included one from a friend who makes an excellent beef stew. She said now that she had eaten Davidson's beef stew, she was done making her own. To her, it's that good.
Daily specials also include beef Stroganoff, Swedish meatballs, and a Sunday roast beef dinner. There are homemade soups and chowders including cream of cauliflower, turkey noodle, navy bean, and split pea. Since the daily specials are on the same day each week, it is easy to plan your visit for a favorite item.
The halibut is lightly fried, fresh, and served with a variety of sides. It is one of the specialties and an extremely popular item. Hamburgers and sandwiches, including a French dip, are on the menu, which also includes Mexican specialties. There's also a full breakfast menu. One of the popular items for breakfast is a huge house-baked cinnamon roll, a meal in itself.
Dinner started with a bowl of turkey noodle soup, one of the daily soups. This is a hearty broth, filled with chunks of turkey and thick noodles that you could tell were made in the restaurant. An excellent start to the meal. Chicken fried steak has always been my benchmark for a good Roadfood place. It is a nice thick piece of steak, hand-battered and served with chunky mashed potatoes, a nice cream gravy, and a side of cornbread or a roll. The steak itself is tender-chewy in the way a great CFS should be.
One of the most impressive things, however, are the vegetables it comes with. I was pleasantly surprised to see fresh steamed vegetables: onions, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and celery, cooked to a perfect tender-crisp. The whole serving was huge, but so delicious I finished it all, concluding with the fresh cornbread topped with whipped butter and honey.
Homemade desserts include seasonal delights such as Oregon marionberry pie, sourced with local ingredients. P-Nut Butter Pie, deep-dish apple pie, and Creme Caramel are also on the menu. The owner circulates, greeting the customers, and from what I overheard, they have a lot of regulars. I talked to him a bit, seeing the passion he has for providing quality food. Within a week, I ate there twice. To me, that's a sign of a great Roadfood place. Tigard, Oregon is lucky to have such a nice homey place with delicious food. And fantastic root beer!