A former cannery in Astoria now houses hip restaurants and shops.
The Union Fisherman’s Co-operative Packing Company put up the Red Building in Astoria, Ore., in 1896 to house its repair shop. But with declining salmon runs in the mid-1900s, the cannery closed and the Red Building deteriorated into a tottering pile of timber in the shadow of the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Some six years ago, a pair of local developers saw the possibilities in these fine old bones and renovated the structure, restoring its original old-growth fir and hardwood floors.
In September the Bridgewater Bistro opened its high-ceilinged dining room with views of the Columbia River. Restaurateurs Ann and Tony Kischner, veterans of Shoalwater in nearby Seaview, Wash., have created a menu that combines fresh local ingredients, old favorites, and hip whimsy. You can bring the kids and enjoy fish-and-chips on the deck or in the downstairs bistro. Or opt for a romantic dinner on the mezzanine where menu items include fresh, organic salads and oven-poached wild king salmon.
The Loft, a banquet and concert space, occupies the building’s second floor, and the Flying Dutchman Winery, Columbia Chocolates, and a shop specializing in local crafts are opening at street level. For restaurant reservations, call (503) 325-6777 or visit www.bridgewaterbistro.com.
Photography by Don Frank
This article was first published in March 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.