Most restaurants closed on Thanksgiving; Starlite Café and Hog Rock Café open

Mal’s Diner in Vale will be closed all Thanksgiving week. Photo: Pat Caldwell/The Enterprise.

ONTARIO – The Enterprise called more than a dozen restaurants in Malheur County and found only two, Starlite Café in Vale and Hog Rock Café in Ontario, that will be open on Thanksgiving.

Restaurant owners concurred that they were closing this Thursday more out of respect to the holiday than for reasons related to Covid. Those interviewed all said that their decision had little to do with the pandemic, even as the state of Oregon’s two-week pause has made life difficult in other ways for their businesses.

Jason Jungling, the owner of Plaza Inn Restaurant in Ontario, said that only about 5 of his usual 20 employees are still on staff due to the recent two-week pause. The rest have been laid off.

Still, his decision to close on Thanksgiving had more to do with promises he made to give time off on certain federal holidays than anything else, he said.

Hog Rock Café will be open for business as usual—as usual as things can be during Covid.

A representative said that the café is typically open on Thanksgiving, but that this year will be different since there will be takeout only.

Starlite Café in Vale will be serving Thanksgiving dinner for free from noon till 2 p.m. Those who plan on stopping by are encouraged to call ahead to place an order sometime between 10 a.m. and noon, but there will be food for everyone, said owner Sharon Bannon.

Other local dining establishments that will be open on Thanksgiving should write to the Enterprise, and this article will be updated to include an actualized list.

News tip? Contact reporter Liliana Frankel at [email protected] or 267-981-5577.