Sandy River sunbathers and anyone returning from a Gorge hike have a new go-to pit stop in Troutdale’s Sugarpine Drive In, just up from the riverbank next to Glenn Otto Community Park. Started by a married pair of caterers who are vets of the Beast/Expatriate and Pok Pok scenes, the walk-up or drive-up patio café offers salads small and large, cans of Buoy pilsner and Underwood wine, frosé (frozen rosé slushies), and sandwiches including a waffle grilled cheese.
The marquee attraction, though, is the soft serve, with chocolate, vanilla, coconut, and a rotating seasonal fruit flavor (think peach studded with chip-like bits of fruit) served in sugar or waffle cones, or a generously sized dish with a wooden spoon reminiscent of Dixie cups.
Sugarpine opened on an ominous date, July’s Friday the 13th, but the droves of rivergoers in need of a cool treat on the hottest weekend of the year suggests luck is smiling with every birthday-cake-crumb-topped waffle cone and matcha sundae handed through the window. Anyone who found a parking spot on opening weekend is lucky, too, while others were trapped in a European Vacation–style endless roundabout, praying that each person walking back to a car was leaving and not just fetching extra sunscreen or using their car’s power outlet to inflate a giant yellow duck floatie.
It might just become an essential post-float destination. Dog owners, take note: Sandy River Delta park, aka Thousand Acres, is right across the river. Your dog needs to be exercised, and you need a Larch Mountain sundae, with blondie brownie, blueberry-lavender sauce, and pine nut honeycomb.