Originally Bob Moore moved back to his home state of Oregon to retire.
While retirement for some means time on the golf course, or fishing the Oregon rivers for salmon, Bob decided to keep doing what he loves.
Create some of the best baking products on the planet. Bob’s Red Mill should be a destination for anyone who loves whole grain baking.
Saturdays the bright red building, along Oregon Highway 224 near Milwaukie, is packed to capacity with people ordering breakfast and lunch, enjoying some of the best pancakes, biscuits, bread and oatmeal you can get this side of the Mississippi.
“It does get pretty crazy around here on Saturdays,” says Jerry Myrick, director of retail operations sitting in the warehouse. “We really have four businesses, the store, the restaurant, the bakery and the Web site.”
When you visit Bob’s Whole Grain Store and Visitor’s Center it’s about the products, how they are made and the delicious treats they produce.
The mill produces more than 400 products, including a full line of gluten free products and certified organic products, as well. From flours to hot cereals to baking mixes and grains, Myrick said that they have something for just about everyone.
“This is the only place to get all 400 products,” he said. “We are at local retailers, but they don’t carry everything. This is the only place to go if you want to get the full selection.”
When you visit you can tour the main mill, which is a mile away from the retail store and restaurant. At the main store, there is also a test kitchen where you can see how to use the different products.
“We do offer some classes, and people can sign up for those on our Web site,” Myrick says. “They are once a week and we post them about two months ahead. So if people are coming from out of town they can check the Web site for the availability.”
But where the retail store really shines is the restaurant.
“The grains we use in the restaurant are less than a day old,” Myrick says. “It brings a new definition to being fresh.”
The retail store is filled to capacity, both upstairs and downstairs and parking is an issue at times, but the meals are worth it.
There is nothing quite like sitting down for an early morning breakfast and realizing that the whole grain pancakes are so filling you can only get through one.
“By far our eggs and flapjacks are the most popular,” Myrick says. “If you come on Saturdays -- we are closed on Sundays -- make sure you either come early, or come late, because it gets busy.”
Breakfast is served until 3 p.m., and they also serve lunch.
“During the weekdays the lunch hours is the busiest,” he said.
And don’t be surprised if you look over and see Bob and his wife Charlee sitting down at a table next to you enjoying a breakfast or a lunch – the 81-year-old and his wife are trying to retire for a second time but he is still involved with the business.
“Any of the products you try at the restaurant you can buy at the store, and if you find something you really like, but don’t live in Oregon, we ship to anywhere in the U.S.” Myrick says.
Now, if you will excuse me, there is a whole grain chocolate chip cookie with my name on it.
About the Bob’s Red Mill: Bob’s Red Mill is the nation’s leader in stone milling and offers the widest diversity of whole grains found anywhere. We are dedicated to producing natural foods in the natural way. Try our outstanding products today and we guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
What to bring: Your appetite if you visit the restaurant. Tours of the main mill take about an hour, and are offered daily, so bring some comfortable shoes and a camera if you want to take advantage of seeing how the stone-milling process works.
Season: The mill and restaurant are open year-round.
Getting there: When travelling down Interstate 205, take the 82nd Avenue exit and then take the ramp to Milwaukie on Highway 224. The retail store is located at 5000 SE International Way right off the highway.
Tips: If you have the time make a half-day trip of it and visit the mill first, then travel down to the Whole Grain Store and Visitor Center for a late breakfast or lunch and browse the store shelves for specialty flours, cookbooks and finished baked goods.
By Patrick Johnson