By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Along the Street: Downtown Mac’s Morning Thunder reopening Feb. 25

Morning Thunder, the popular downtown breakfast and lunch spot, will reopen Friday, Feb. 25.

Hours will be about 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays at 619 N.E. Third St.

Morning Thunder has been closed since early September, when gregarious chef Richie Chavez died suddenly. His wife, Desiree Chavez, said reopening will “honor his spirit.”

It will serve the same type of food that it always did: hearty breakfasts and lunches, Desiree Chavez said. Avocado toast, biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash and chicken fried steak have always been big sellers, along with a basic breakfast of eggs, toast and sausage or bacon.

She said she plans to add more vegetarian and vegan, plant-based options to the menu, as well. Customers can always ask for vegan egg substitute or vegan cheese, as well.

Desiree Chavez said her husband’s death left her reeling, but she was comforted by the community’s response. “I never felt so much love,” she said,

remembering a celebration of Richie’s life that took place on Third Street. “So many people reached out to me. It was like one huge hug; it still is.”

Her community at Spirit Mountain Casino, where she has worked in marketing for 17 years, also provided love and support, she said.

Reopening Morning Thunder was always in her plans, she said. She also wants to continue supporting the community, like her husband did with supporting organizations such as Juliette’s House, Henderson House, the YCAP food bank and the Relay for Life.

“The Relay was Richie’s favorite,” she said. Shortly after his death, she and a crew from the restaurant kept his commitment to the event by preparing hush puppies for the relay.

Morning Thunder will share the space with Hawaii Five-O-Three, which will serve island-inspired dishes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, according to Hawaii Five-O-Three’s Thursday Facebook post.

Ice cream, figurines

People of all ages come to Serendipity Ice Cream for a cone, a scoop or a sundae. Soon Serendipity will bring ice cream to at events, as well.

Becky Simpson, who owns the Third Street shop with her husband, Kevin, said Serendipity is converting a former horse trailer into a mobile ice cream wagon. They plan to pull it to small events, such as weddings or corporate parties.

“People have been asking” for ice cream catering, she said.

The Simpsons bought Serendipity in 2020 from MV Advancements. They also own Simpson Electrical Company and This Girl Friday, a bookkeeping business.
They said they are working on their business plan for the ice cream wagon. They’re hoping to get it on the road in spring.

Currently, Serendipity is featuring a display of miniature figures and whimsical items in its front window at Third and Evans streets. It will remain up through February.

Simpson said she started collecting tiny ice cream cones, candies, cupcakes and other food-related items. “They were just cute,” she said.

Then she added figurines such as the Incredibles, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, unicorns, a dinosaur, Nemo, the stars of Monsters Inc., Kermit and Miss Piggy and others.

Next came trucks, including ice cream trucks, along with camp trailers. She found enough for a beach scene and a fairy garden, too.

Beside the display, she hung Serendipity T-shirts with slogans such as “I make ice cream disappear. What’s your superpower?” and “Ice cream is always an option.” The walls also are sprinkled with plaques with sayings such as “All you need is love and ice cream” and “I love you as much as I love ice cream, and I really love ice cream.”

She rearranges the figures in a window display from time to time. She first set it up during the coronavirus pandemic, when customers couldn’t enter the store but could look through the window.

“If we can do a little something to brighten someone’s day, we will,” she said.

Serendipity is open noon to 8 p.m. daily, stretching to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 503-474-9189.

‘Classic’ coming

More than 70 wineries, breweries, distilleries, food vendors and artists are getting ready for the McMinnville Food and Wine Classic, which will be held March 11 to 13.

This will mark a return to the in-person event, which has been drawing thousands of guests from all over the Northwest since it started in the early 1990s. The 2020 event was canceled just before it was scheduled to open because of coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

The 2022 Classic, which will be held in the Evergreen Space Museum, will benefit St. James Catholic School.

Hours and ticket prices are: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 11, $25; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 12, $30; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 13, $20.

Tickets include admission and two tasting vouchers for those 21 and older; additional tasting tokens are $2 each. Wineglasses will be given out to the first 1,000 entrants Friday, 1,500 Saturday and 500 Sunday.

Food and art, jewelry, craft and other purchases are extra.

Parking costs $5 on the museum property. The entire parking lot will be available, providing plenty of room for vehicles, organizers said.

For more information, go to the event website,

Oak owners

The Oak, a bar and gathering spot in downtown McMinnville, has new owners.

David Mahn, Andrew Anderson, Corey Rich and Chris MacLaren are partnering in the business, which offers events such as a trivia night in addition to food and beverages.

The Oak is closed Mondays, opening at 2 p.m. other days of the week.

Look for more about The Oak in an upcoming edition of the News-Register.

Famous fork

Fairview Food Court in Fairview, a Multnomah County city east of Portland, just installed a giant fork to attract attention to its eateries.

The 40-foot fork was made by Solid Form Fabrication, the McMinnville company owned by Deven and Keath Paolo. Its four tines go three-and-a-half feet deep.
The fork is the landmark for the new Fairview Food Plaza, a city-backed food truck hub at Northeast Halsey Street and 223rd Avenue. According to The Oregonian, the city hopes to have it certified as the world’s tallest fork sculpture, surpassing one in Missouri.

Solid Form is known for its support of internships, scholarships and school tech programs, in addition to products it fabricates for business and industry. Now it’s also famous for its giant silverware.


Arts communities

The Oregon Arts Commission distributed $221,535 to projects around the state through it Arts Build Communities grants program.

The McMinnville Short Film Festival received $3,000 to support its hybrid event, which featured both in-person and virtual screenings.

The Arts Build Communities program aims to support broad geographic impact and arts access for underserved audiences in Oregon.

“Local citizens employ creative thinking and collective response to identify a local need and provide an arts-based solution,” said Harlen Springer, vice chair of the Oregon Arts Commission.

Tavern for sale

The Carlton & Coast Tavern, 325 W. Main St. in downtown Carlton, is for sale.

Owner Shannon Thorson said the business and building are being offered for $775,000.

Phil Higgins of Pacific Crest Realty is the real estate agent. For more information, call him at 503-793-9039.

Carlton & Coast opened in October 2017 after Thorson and her partner restored the venerable building.

The food and drink establishment remains open from 2 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The phone number is 503-852-3525.

Send business news to Starla Pointer at


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