Owners of restaurant in John Day adapt old West concept to Hines lodge
By Lauren Brown
Owners Bill and Janet Robertson and Matt and Kim Randleas already have a successful business in the Outpost in downtown John Day. Kim said they had been thinking about setting up a restaurant in Burns, and they saw an opportunity in the Big Bear Lodge. “As soon as we walked in, we knew it fit us,” Kim said.
Officially called the Outpost at Big Bear Lodge, Kim said the rustic log cabin feel of the lodge perfectly emulates the Outpost’s themes, which are geared toward the outdoors, wildlife and the old West. Diners can peruse a menu filled with a variety of outdoor-themed food and drinks including Mountain Man steaks, the West’s Best Burgers and Big Foot Margaritas. Pasta, fajitas, salads, sandwiches and fish and shrimp entrees round out the menu.
“The atmosphere here is just incredible,” Kim said of the lodge, which opens each day at 11 a.m. for lunch and dinner. While there is plenty of seating in the dining room and bar areas, outdoor seating will be added so patrons can sit outside and take in the view. Kim said they also hope to continue the lodge’s tradition of hosting horseshoe tournaments.
The Robertsons and the Randleas have been running the Outpost in John Day since 1998. The restaurant there grew from being a pizza joint to a full-service restaurant. It grew so much, it had to move to another location where it can presently be found in downtown John Day. The building has three levels, which includes the restaurant, arcade, offices and an apartment.
Kim said they are really pleased to have further expanded their business to Burns/Hines. “I’m really happy that we could come here and employ 20 people,” Kim said. New staff went and trained at the John Day Outpost, some for as long as six weeks prior to the June 30 opening in Hines.
Some of the Outpost’s signature dishes include the Alice chicken with chopped bacon, mushrooms, cheese and a honey mustard sauce as well as the burgundy peppercorn steak, which is a tender tri-tip. “It’s really tasty. It’s one of my favorite dishes,” Kim said.
While the Outpost is open for lunch and dinner every day, Kim said they would like to add a Sunday brunch at some point.
She hopes that locals will see the Outpost at Big Bear as a viable option for a night on the town. “Instead of going to Bend and spending money out of town, they can get their entertainment here,” she said. “I believe that a new venture like this can help the community, and it’s a benefit to everyone.”
While the restaurant officially opened on June 30, the staff held a trial run on June 28 from 5 to 8 p.m. The $1,200 made off those meals was donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Harney County, which underscores the Robertsons’ and the Randleas’ dedication to the community.
“We want to support the local businesses as much as we can,” Kim said. She noted that the people of Harney County have been very welcoming. “I already feel like part of the community,” she said.