Owners of the Sea Star Bistro in Old Town Bandon, Degan and Lori Parker grew up in small towns in Oregon and California. Having vacationed at the southern Oregon coast, Lori always loved Bandon and was excited to move there with her husband and son. They chose Bandon for its beauty, proximity to the conveniences of Coos Bay, and the quality schools.
Degan and Lori express the wonder and amusement shared by many who live on the southern Oregon coast when asked what they do for fun. Where does one vacation when one already lives in the most beautiful place around? For a change of scenery, they will sometimes spend time at a neighboring beach town, but they spend much of their free time here in Bandon. They take their young sons Logan and Evan to the beach as often as possible as well as to the fish hatchery on the north end of town to feed the fish, and they sometimes drive up to the Bandon Dunes golf resort to walk on the many trails and to explore the labyrinth there.
As busy parents, the Parkers didn’t get to know others in Bandon very quickly, until, that is, they opened the Sea Star Bistro in April, 2013. “If you want to meet people,” Degan said, “open a restaurant!” They enjoy the visitors to Bandon who find their little spot in the warmer months, but they love that they are able to provide a hangout for loyal locals year-round while other restaurants in Old Town close during the winter. Their island themed bistro features bright colors and natural light, so even in the darker, sleepier months, it feels cheerful and awake. Their outdoor dining area is equally bright and light with its lush greens and beautiful flowers.
The Parkers work hard to make everyone who comes to join them for a meal feel comfortable, even their young guests. Being parents themselves, they understand that sometimes kids to get food and entertainment right away, and they quickly provide coloring books and fruit to satisfy those immediate needs.
Degan and Lori are committed to providing quality service and fresh, tasty food to their patrons both new and loyal. They hand-pick the food they purchase and serve to ensure the best quality possible, and they are careful to prepare foods in such a way as to preserve their flavors. They make all their marinades and dressings on site with few and simple ingredients to enhance, rather than drown out, tastes, and for these same reasons, they don’t own a fryer.
When the Parkers first started thinking about starting their own restaurant, they agreed that they wanted to provide consistently fresh and delicious clam chowder and are proud of what they have created. They make it themselves, and their customers can tell the difference. One customer review puts it simply and well, “They have the best clam chowder I think I have ever had.”
The clam chowder is accompanied by a number of other varied and delicious items on the menu. There are a variety of tapas, tacos and salads, many of which or or can be vegetarian or gluten-free friendly, and Degan and Lori, along with their two employees, are happy to accommodate those needs. Their long list of sandwiches offer something for just about everyone, and even the kids’ menu has enough variety to please finicky eaters. Diners can finish off their meals with one of the delicious homemade desserts. There are typically a few different kinds of pie to choose from, and the Parkers also take requests for customers’ favorites.
The Parkers also offer a variety of beverages to quench everyone’s thirst. Soft drinks and sodas are available as well as wine and beer by the bottle. They are always looking for microbrew beers and hard ciders from off the beaten path to please beer connoisseurs, and they always have gluten free varieties. With their eyes open for the interesting, it’s not uncommon to find beers from all corners of the country in their cooler
The Sea Star Bistro is newly open for breakfast from 8-11, starting Fall, 2014. On the breakfast menu, you’ll find pancakes, waffles, and egg dishes with the same fresh ingredients you’ll find in their lunch and dinner items.
The next time you’re in Old Town, be sure to stop by the Sea Star Bistro. Introduce yourself to Degan and Lori, and be sure to fist-bump Logan and Evan if they’re there after school. Stay for a sandwich and some chowder, and experience the fresh tastes and local hospitality for yourself.
Sea Star Bistro
Open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (Closed Sunday and Monday)
230 2nd St. SE in Old Town Bandon
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