“Grub on the go” is what it sounds like: something to eat when you’re on the go. Most big chain “fast food” places tend to leave you feeling like you’ve been played for a fool, sold something that isn’t really food. These locally-owned venues can offer you something better.
Coffee Culture • $
There are four Coffee Cultures in Corvallis, on Kings, Ninth, Jefferson and Timberhill Place. Each is different in layout and atmosphere and has its own menu, but all lean toward baked goods to go with their coffee (surprise), which will run you $2-3 each. You can also get freshly-made sandwiches at the big shops for $5-10, though not at the drive-through.
La Rockita • $
La Rockita provides Mexican food at two locations in Corvallis and one in Philomath. People who have actually been to Mexico say their tacos, burritos and tortas are real Mexican food—all I can say for sure is, they’re well-liked and run $2-9. The downtown “cantina” has a full bar if you’re not that much on the run.
Roxy Dawgs • $
1425 SW Monroe Ave, Ste G, Corvallis
This one is a franchise location, but of a small Salem-based chain, definitely not a drab nationwide kind of place. They sell the hot dog of your childhood, with the condiments of your choice–mustard, jalapenos, sauerkraut, and house sauce.
Little Lunch Box • $
136 SW 2nd St, Corvallis
When you approach the front to order food, it’s hard not to think of the cartoons which show a vending machine with a cook inside. It seems barely bigger than a lunchbox, but somehow the staff manage to produce from its tiny kitchen an impressive array of dishes (vegetarian and meat-bearing), including hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, and soup, which will satisfy you for $3-8.
Rivas • $
360 NW 5th St, Corvallis
It’s a Mexican restaurant, with the usual suspects (tacos, burritos, enchiladas) available, with some surprises along the way—a bacon breakfast burrito, fish tacos, tacos under so much fresh-veggie salsa that they look like a salad, and a steak-and-shrimp burrito. If you’re literally on the run, you’ll want a taco or burrito, between $3-6. A sit-down meal will be more.
Oregon Coffee & Tea • $
215 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis
Although they mainly sell tea leaves, coffee beans and brewing accessories, this is also a place where you can get a fresh hot cuppa, and on Saturday mornings a danish (look for anything that has the almond-based topping), for between $2-5.
DIY Tea and Beyond • $$
1849 NW 9th St, Corvallis
A cup of hot tea or a tumbler of cold tea doesn’t sound very filling as “food on the go,” but when you add in options like cream and jelly bubbles, you’re starting to talk about real food value for your $5. Plus, they offer “snack” portions of solid foods like french fries and cuttlefish balls (yes, really): $5-7. Not your ordinary tea shop, in other words
The Show • $$
1915 NW 9th St, Corvallis
I don’t know why it’s called that, but I do know why their sign says “True Chinese Food.” It’s because that’s what Grandpa Chen and his family cook, preparing all of their soups, stir-fries and other dishes from scratch. You can get food from $6 appetizers to $15 entrees to go, or have them delivered.
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By John M. Burt