I was driving down I-84 returning from a business trip, and hit that Oregon city with the goofy name around lunchtime. I originally planned to eat at the local Burgerville, a local chain with pretty good food, but the place was jammed full of high school students. I had noted a billboard coming in to the city, advertising "The Historic Baldwin Saloon", which was located close by...and any place with "historic" attached is usually worth checking out in my book! I was not disappointed. The Baldwin Saloon, built in 1876, is on a side street off the main drag, offered ample on-street, free parking. I entered through the side door after reading the plaque on the wall, outlining the establishment's venerable history. A very friendly server greeted me, and took me to a window booth bathed in sunshine, which was a most welcome appetizer after a week of rain and snow. The menu was extensive without being overwhelming. I selected a prime rib dip sandwich, "served on our own freshly-baked baguette" no less, and picked potato salad from the decent array of included sides. Even though the place was busy, my lunch arrived quickly, and both sandwich and potato salad were outstanding! The prime rib was tender, piled high on the perfect platform of just the right firmness. As for the potato salad, it's rare to find really good stuff served in a restaurant...usually it tastes like what you get in a hospital cafeteria or Army mess hall. Not so for the Baldwin Tavern's offering...it contained lots of tender potato chunks, with a nice mix of mayo and mustard, and was just the right temperature. (Okay, I just realized how much I dread eating close-to-frozen potato salad...)
Lunch was $13, including a soda, which was pretty reasonable considering the quality and quantity of my meal.
As for the historical ambience, the place has been restored and maintained very well. It has an authentic, non-Disney feel to it, closer to what a customer might have experienced in 1876, though with different menu items!
The Baldwin Tavern definitely rates a return visit next time I stop in The Dalles, Oregon.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.