Family dining in downtown Walla Walla


Credit: Von Hafften
Credit: von Hafften

Gathering for dinner is an important ritual for many families. Eating together is a time to unwind and reconnect after school or work. For those with overwhelmingly full schedules, family dinner might be the only time each day that everyone can sit down together.

For the newest members of the Whitman community, Family Weekend will be first time most of them have seen their parents or siblings since the semester began.

First-year Kelly Peterson expressed her anticipation.

“I’m really excited my parents are coming this weekend. I miss being able to hear about everyone’s day, family dinner is so important to me . . . We’re all going out to dinner!”

Family Weekend is not only a great time to show off the campus to your family and introduce all of your friends, but also the perfect time to check out some of Walla Walla’s best restaurants to rekindle those intimate family dinners.

If you’re looking for a good place to eat, walk down Main Street, where you will find some fantastic eateries.

Backstage Bistro, located at 230 E. Main St., prides itself on a menu of steak, seafood and pasta in a warm, somewhat romantic setting. It has more options for vegetarians than other restaurants in town. For example, the Fabriano salad, made with a tangy vinaigrette and dappled with a bleu cheese crumble, is vegetarian and other menu items can be prepared without meat. If your family has a mix of omnivores and herbivores, this might be the perfect choice.

Junior Annie Horman reflected on a family dining memory at Backstage Bistro from the beginning of her freshman year.

“Backstage Bistro is a cute little café with soulful live music and yummy food. We ate outside at 10 p.m. and even though we were super rushed, we appreciated the great service and it was just good to sit down and eat with my mom and dad.”

The restaurant often features live jazz music, with the schedule changing on a week-to-week basis. This weekend live music will be performed on Saturday evening.

Another restaurant off of Main Street is T. Maccarone’s, located at 4 N Colville St., which specializes in organic Italian food. Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. offers a wide array of breakfast foods like eggs, crepes and pancakes as well as seasonal soups, salads and sandwiches. If you’re indecisive and have trouble picking from the dinner menu, the T. Mac and Cheese is absolutely to die for.

Junior Taylor Montminy had nothing but praise for T. Maccarone’s.

“It has a really awesome ambiance with a warm atmosphere. My parents love checking out all the new restaurants in town but we always end up back there.”

For the more adventurous food-lover in your family, Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen, located at 125 E. Alder St., has a unique and tasty menu with entrees like duck bolognese, beef tongue gnocchi and leg of lamb.  Like many restaurants in town, Saffron strives to use seasonal, locally grown produce, but its Mediterranean-style cuisine sets it apart. Each dish is not only plated beautifully, but is also bursting with flavor.

“The restaurant is a little cramped because the room is so small but the food is really good. We shared the flatbread, which I definitely recommend,” said junior Kristine Unkrich about her Saffron experience.

All of these restaurants guarantee fantastic dining and a memorable family dinner. Just remember to make your reservations early because these places are sure to fill up fast!

Backstage Bistro: call 509-526-0690 for reservations,

T. Maccarone’s: 509-522-4776,

Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen: 509-525-2112,