Solstice Cafe opens Friday on waterfront

AARON BAUMHACKL, owner of Solstice Wood Fire Café, does a test run of the wood-fired pizza oven at the restaurant’s new location on Portway Avenue down by the Hood River waterfront. The restau-rant move was made possible in part by a Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

Photo by Ben Mitchell.
AARON BAUMHACKL, owner of Solstice Wood Fire Café, does a test run of the wood-fired pizza oven at the restaurant’s new location on Portway Avenue down by the Hood River waterfront. The restau-rant move was made possible in part by a Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

After months of anticipation, the pizza purveyors at Solstice Wood Fire Café will officially open their doors for a grand opening this Friday at their new location at the Hood River waterfront.

The much-lauded and loved restaurant moved this fall from Bingen to Hood River after owners Suzanne and Aaron Baumhackl were able to raise over $57,000 for their new digs via Kickstarter — an online crowdsourced funding website. Over 450 donors contributed to the successful fundraising campaign, whose names are now enshrined on Solstice’s “Kickstarter Wall of Love” that is prominently displayed in the restaurant at 501 Portway Ave.

Solstice will continue to feature the same gourmet wood-fired pizzas topped with fresh, local ingredients that made the restaurant famous throughout the Gorge and the Northwest, but Aaron promises new pizza styles that will “push the envelope” of his customers’ palates.

When and Where

Hours: Wednesday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Tuesday

Address: 501 Portway Ave., Hood River

Phone: 541-436-0800

Reservations recommended for parties of six or more.

In addition to the pizzas, Solstice will offer significantly expanded food options (you can now order hamburgers, for example) as well as a full bar used to mix their new menu of signature cocktails. A kids play area graces one of the corners of the restaurant, awash in natural light from a wall of north-facing windows that look out onto the Columbia River and the Hood River waterfront.

Aaron, who has run the restaurant with his wife, Suzanne since 2006, said the new location could not have happened without the generous support of the community.

“We’d like to say thank you and we’re super excited,” Aaron said of the Friday opening. “We really feel like we’re sharing the space that everybody created. We’re kind of in denial about it all and I think it’s all gonna erupt this weekend.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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