We Review 2 Loons Cafe

2 Loons Cafe in Bandon, Oregon

Two Loons Café is a quaint, unpretentious place in old-town Bandon to warm up, greet friends old and new, and enjoy a light breakfast or lunch. I was first drawn to this little café by the name. I hoped that the loon (Gavia immer), was a frequent flyer to these parts. The barista didn’t know the significance of the name, but knew they can be seen in the Bandon National Wildlife Refuge located off of River Drive on the West side of Bandon. Many loons are frequently seen in the Coquille River and rarer species have been sighted on the Oregon Coast. I digress.

It was a very wet and blustery day when I instructed my boyfriend that if he wanted lunch, he would have to brave the weather and head to old town. As fate would have it, I got a parking spot pretty close to the café. I felt bad that my guy would have to brave the wind and rain, as I knew he had no umbrella in the car and is really fussy about getting soaked. It must have been kismet, because just as he was pulling up, a pickup pulled out directly in front of the café! I was the one who received the brunt of the gale.

Two Loons is a modest sized eatery that serves breakfast and lunch. I may have to return once again to assess the breakfasts that I have heard are excellent fare. The lunch menu consists of a selection of sandwiches, soups, plates (quiche, eggplant, hot crostini) and salads. The menu was inviting and we both found it difficult to choose. Most of the lunch plates are $7.50, with a couple offerings a little more. Soups and salads are about $4.00.

We resolved that we needed to warm ourselves before making such an important decision. We began with coffee. Two Loons Café serves Sol Coffee, a slow-roasted Costa Rican blend from California. Ever the risk-taker, I tried a cappuccino (I’m a cuppa joe with two shots kinda girl), because I heard from a reliable source that Two Loons makes the best cappuccino on the coast. My source led me to a very rewarding experience with the treat. It was flavorful and the presentation lent me an air of sophistication I don’t usually display. My boyfriend, however, had the coffee as is, and was not overly impressed. He drinks his coffee black because he loves the flavor of coffee, and found the brew that day to be too weak for his taste. The coffees were hot and warm us they did. (Note from Mongo: "I rejoice that the black coffee has always been perfectly wonderful on the many occasions I have had it.")

I ordered a spinach-Romano quiche with a house salad and a cup of split pea soup. The boyfriend ordered a hot meatloaf sandwich with their signature Carolina Cole-Slaw that is marinated in a vinaigrette overnight. To top off his lunch he ordered the house minestrone soup. Our meals were very tasty. I don’t remember the last time I had such a wonderful quiche! It was a treat having a nice salad (with gorgonzola dressing!) and marinated slaw with our meals instead of French fries. The boyfriend loved his sandwich and commented on the quality of the bread.

The slaw was described by my beau as a pleasant surprise, this from a guy who generally avoids the more traditional mayo-based variety. It was a complex blend of flavors, neither too sweet nor vinegary. He paid it the ultimate compliment: On his next visit he wants to try the BBQ pork sandwich topped with this tasty treat.

2 Loons Cafe in Bandon, Oregon

For those who are still not tempted by the slaw, Two Loons also offers a pasta or New York Potato Salad with each sandwich. I declined trying any of the assorted pastries or cookies because I’m not really sure what comes after size 'tent'. (Note from Mongo: "Krab is required to order dessert, even if she has to take it home and eat it later. She has been severely reprimanded for failing to do so. If she had eaten one of their 'looney brownies' or apricot bars, or cream cheese bars, she would still be in heaven screaming 'My life has been blessed forever'.")

The downside to our experience was the pea soup. It was a little watery and not very hot. The minestrone was well flavored, hot and hearty. All in all, it was a great way to warm up, body and soul! The waitress was very friendly and helpful. Although many of the patrons appeared to be regulars, we felt like part of the Two Loons family.

I left the coffee shop yearning to know more about the naming of the little café on the south end of old-town. I did some digging and discovered an 1884 mention of an Algonquin myth that ascribed the Two Loons as the ‘tale bearers’ who passed on the verbal tradition of a New England indigenous people*. Perhaps Bandon’s Two Loons is the site of local tale-bearers as described by the Ducque in her “Crossroads” column:

“Where else in the world do ex-hippies and ex-loggers congregate at the same coffee shop with cranberry growers and realtors?
Although we disagree we are passionate about our coastal lifestyle.
It’s an excellent place for a crossroads”.

I like to think that Two Loons Café is a genuine meeting place where local folks congregate for many different reasons. Individually, their chance meetings may appear to be unconnected, but collectively their union creates the local lore that is Bandon-by-the-Sea.

Meal for two, coffee and 20% gratuity $27.00. A chance to rediscover Loons, priceless! Four happy MongoThumbs.

Four Happy MongoThumbs

Note from Mongo: Krab failed to mention three wonderful things about the 2 Loons Cafe. The interior is adorned with unique, original artwork by local artist Victoria Tierney. In the back is a lush, 'magical' courtyard available for dining on warm sunny days. Don't miss the secret passageway into the Masonic Temple which can be seen by looking out the restroom window.)

*The Algonquin Legends of New England; or Myths and Folklore of the Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Tribes by Charles Leland. Houghton, Miflin and Co. (1884) From “The Literary World” A Fortnightly Review Of Current Literature Vol. XV January-December. Boston. E.H Hames and Co. 1884.

Reviewed January 2008