Just about every time I’ve taken a seat to enjoy the “steakhouse salad” at Eats & Treats, the popular gluten-free eatery on Main Street here in Philomath, co-owner Sandy McHenry has stopped by to shoot the breeze.
I know a lot of folks can say the same thing — Sandy loves to chat with the customers.
Last week, co-owner Lynda McHenry posted news on the restaurant’s Facebook page that Eats & Treats is up for sale. Lynda shared some info about her family, including their young grandchildren that they want to get to know a whole lot better.
“Sandy and I are working on transitioning to the next phase of our lives,” she wrote. “Bottom line, we’re getting old and we want to have more time to play with our grandchildren.”
I have a little bit of a history with Eats & Treats — my wife and I used to eat there occasionally when the restaurant was located in the Eastgate Center off the highway near Corvallis. And you really had to want to eat there because taking a left turn out of the parking lot to get back on the highway could be a harrowing experience.
Anyway, I remember getting our free cookies on the first visit and enjoying the food.
Lynda shared some history of how Eats & Treats came to be, including those early years at Eastgate.
“Our journey with gluten intolerance first started over 17 years ago, when undiagnosed celiac disease resulted in a variety of serious medical conditions manifesting in one of our daughters,” Lynda wrote. “Turned out, our whole family had some form of gluten intolerance and medical symptoms resulting from it. We all changed course to a gluten-free lifestyle, with amazing results and reversal of past medical issues.”
It was around 13 years ago that Sandy established Big River Grains — “a dedicated gluten-free flour and grain mill, operating out of the barn on our homeplace,” Lynda said. “It soon became apparent that the next step was to develop gluten-free baking mixes. To accomplish that goal, a dedicated gluten-free commercial kitchen was required.”
That’s when the Eastgate Center entered the picture.
“Original plan was to be open just six months for research and development, using the cafe to not only develop recipes, but beta test as well,” Lynda wrote.
Eventually, the test kitchen turned into an actual cafe and the McHenrys’ business outgrew the space. So, they purchased their current building in Philomath with the relocation occurring in 2013.
I remember my first visit after the move. When the server asked if this was my first time at Eats & Treats, I told them, no, I had been to the Eastgate location several times. They gave me a free cookie anyway.
Lynda said they had actually started planning about their exit plan from the business three years ago when their first grandson was born. However, soon after, COVID hit and the business needed to navigate through the pandemic.
With the world pretty much back to normal, the exit plan has resumed. Both the restaurant and the accompanying mill are up for sale.
“Please know, we are not closing,” McHenry said. “Rather, the entire enterprise is for sale as part of a well-planned exit strategy.”
Lynda said that she and Sandy are looking for the right buyer to carry on the mission that they had established.
Good luck to Sandy and Lynda with how the transaction unfolds and I’m sure folks hope that the restaurant will stick around. But beyond that on a personal level, enjoy those grandkids.
(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at News@PhilomathNews.com).