New Owners at Big Wave Café: Opening Sunday March 21st – SAME Great Menu Featuring Fresh Ingredients from Local Farms, Fishers and Yes, Carol’s Desserts

“Why mess with a good thing?” That’s exactly the philosophy of David and Jennifer Cleary, the new owners of the Big Wave Café in Manzanita. The local community is anticipating the popular North Coast restaurant reopening on Sunday, March 21st. The same great menu and specials will continue to feature the best ingredients, locally sourced, and served in ways that showcase the flavors of the foods. And, Carol Williams’ desserts (she’s sharing her recipes with the new owners) will continue to be featured.

The Clearys moved to the Oregon coast about 15 years ago. They took over the Local Grill & Scoop in Cannon Beach at that time. “We have already learned a great deal from Brian, Carol and Sam and we plan to continue what they started and hopefully we will do it justice,” said David. “We’re excited to be in Manzanita, we love this town,” enthused Jennifer. “The people we have met so far have been super friendly.”

The Clearys’ plan to provide their customers with the same attention to ingredients, preparation and atmosphere cultivated by the Williams family. As Chef Brian Williams said, “The food at the Big Wave Café is fresh, simple and prepared with respect. For me, food is about family, feelings and emotions, and so is the Big Wave Café … it is not just a restaurant. The Big Wave isn’t a place to get away – it’s a place to get together.” Added David, “That’s exactly how we feel about this, too, and we are excited to continue to provide great food and enjoyable experiences.”

The Big Wave Café Mission will continue: Food at the Oregon Coast is not only a necessity, but also a culture. For this reason, our food is not prepared in advance but instead in the moment that you order. We strive to use only fresh ingredients, and therefore it may take longer for us to serve your meal.

Looking for a delicious meal at a local restaurant that has options for everyone is easy at Big Wave Café with many gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options. Opening Sunday March 21, 2021, join them for lunch or dinner 11 am to 8 pm, Friday through Tuesday (closed Wednesdays and Thursdays) at the entrance to Manzanita, just off Highway 101 at 822 Laneda Avenue.

Spaghetti fundraiser to benefit North County Food Bank

This article originally appeared in several local news publications, including the North Coast Citizen, Tillamook County Pioneer and Daily Astorian.

MANZANITA – For the second time in less than a month, the Big Wave Café will host a fundraising dinner for a local nonprofit organization.

On the heels of its Library Lovers Dinner, a benefit for the North Tillamook County Library Friends, the Big Wave will host a spaghetti dinner with proceeds benefitting the North County Food Bank on Feb. 17.

Imie Camelli (Photo courtesy of the Tillamook County Futures Council)
Imie Camelli (Photo courtesy of the Tillamook County Futures Council)

“We do our best to make sure no one goes hungry,” said Imie Camelli, president of the food bank, which is located in the Nehalem Bay Health District building in Wheeler.

“Even though the recession is officially over, there are a lot of people at risk of going hungry in the community,” said Brian Williams, who, with his wife Carol, owns the Big Wave Café. “The food bank fills a crucial gap, and we are honored to help its volunteers continue their mission.”

In recent years, the Big Wave has hosted dinners on behalf of a number of local nonprofit organizations, including the Pine Grove Community Club, Rinehart Clinic and Manzanita Business Alliance.

The North County Food Bank serves much of north Tillamook County, including the Nehalem Bay area. “The closest food pantry to them is in Garibaldi, at God’s Lighthouse, so they serve quite a large part of north county,” said Melissa Carlson-Swanson, Tillamook County Oregon Food Bank branch services manager.

Brian Williams
Brian Williams

The food bank plans to use the proceeds to purchase more food to give to the local hungry. The operation is entirely volunteer-run.

Part of the Oregon Food Bank system, the North County Food Bank receives food from both the Oregon Food Bank and local donors. However, “We have to buy an awful lot of our food these days,” said Camelli.

As for Williams’ generosity, Camelli said, “He’s doing it again. He’s wonderful. He’s a big asset to the community.”

The dinner is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17 at the Big Wave Cafe. Tickets, which will be available at the door, will cost $15 each. In addition to all-you-can-eat spaghetti, the dinner will feature garlic bread, salad and dessert.

The North County Food Bank is open 1-3 p.m., Tuesdays. Donations can be dropped off noon-2:30 p.m., Tuesdays. For more information, call (503) 358-7724.

Big Wave Café to help raise money for Manzanita Branch Library building maintenance

This article ran in several local news publications, including the Daily Astorian, Tillamook County Pioneer and North Coast Citizen, prior to the event:

MANZANITA – In its continued tradition of giving back to the community by hosting periodic fundraising dinners, the Big Wave Café will offer an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner with proceeds benefiting the North Tillamook Library Friends.

The Library Lovers Dinner, scheduled for Jan. 28, will feature spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and dessert.

“The local library group makes it possible for Nehalem Bay area residents, and anyone who visits the area, for that matter, to be the well-read, literary group of people we are,”said Brian Williams, who owns the Big Wave with his wife Carol Williams. “When we considered which organizations to host benefit dinners for this year, they definitely came to mind immediately.”

In past years, the Big Wave café has hosted dinners on behalf of a number of local nonprofit organizations, including the Pine Grove Community Club, Rinehart Clinic and Manzanita Business Alliance.

The Big Wave is planning another benefit dinner for the North County Food Bank on Feb. 17.

Williams volunteered to host a fundraiser, said North Tillamook Library Board member Gail Young, who, with Bev Luce, is co-chair of the Friends Communications Committee.

“He’s doing this to support his community’s library. He approached me – we didn’t even asked him. That’s the amazing thing.”

The North Tillamook Library Friends work with the Tillamook County Library System to operate the Manzanita Branch library. The nonprofit Friends group owns the land, building and furnishings, and pays for the cost of utilities and maintenance, while the county library system provides books, periodicals, computers and staff. The Friends raise money to support their part of the arrangement through magazine and book sales.

“There is a unique relationship between the Tillamook County Library and the Manzanita Library,”said Young. “We’re in a public-private relationship.”

“Without them, we wouldn’t have a branch in Manzanita,” said Sara Charlton, director of the Tillamook County Library System.

The Friends formed in 1985 when a number of north Tillamook County residents banded together in hopes of establishing a library branch in their community. The group morphed into the Friends, creating a board of directors, incorporating as a nonprofit organization, holding fundraising events and obtaining matching grants to purchase land and build the library, which was designed by Neahkahnie architect Tom Bender. The building was dedicated in 1987.

“The building is in its 26th year, so we’re seeing some pretty big expenses coming up in the next couple of years,” said Young. “Funds raised from the dinner will help offset costs of replacing gutters and installing a new drainage system in 2014.”

The benefit is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at the Big Wave Café. Dinner will be served buffet style. Wine will be available at a no-host bar.

Tickets are $20 per person, with $10 of each ticket tax-deductible. Reservations are required. To make your reservation, contact Young at 503-368-5248 or

The Friends are always seeking donations as well as volunteers. Learn more here.

The Williams have owned the Big Wave Café since 2011. Prior to that, Brian was senior vice president at Career Education Corporation for Le Cordon Bleu. Carol, who makes the Big Wave´s desserts, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Portland and studied with renowned French pastry chef, Pascal Tisseur at Petite Provence, an upscale French bakery in Portland.

Big Wave - Brian II.jpg

Our Suppliers Offer the Best of the North Oregon Coast

Darus Peake
Darus Peake of Tillamook Bay Boathouse (Photo courtesy of 1859 Magazine)

When you dine at the Big Wave Café you experience the bounty of the north Oregon coast.

We proudly serve as much regional food as possible. Fortunately, there are many local food producers offering everything from vegetables to free-range chicken.

Here are some of our local suppliers:

Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters – We serve coffee brewed in Cannon Beach, which is just 12 miles north of Manzanita off U.S. Highway 101. Owners Jane and Victor Harding started what evolved into Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters in 1989 when they began selling coffee in the Seattle area from a cart Victor built himself. Three years later they opened a bonafide coffee house in Redmond, Wash., where they thrilled at the coffee-centric community that sprang up in their sit-down establishment. Over the years they cultivated their knowledge of coffee beans. When they moved to the north Oregon coast, Jane and Victor built a coffee roastery by hand, just as they did their original coffee cart. Today they roast fresh, organic fair trade coffee at the Cannon Beach location, which also features a tasting room.

Tillamook Bay Boathouse – Our seafood comes from throughout the Pacific Northwest. We often hand-pick the catch of the day from local suppliers. One of those, Tillamook Bay Boathouse, is 17 miles south of Manzanita in Garibaldi. Tillamook Bay Boathouse offers Dungeness crab (live and cooked), Willapa Bay steamer clams, Netarts Bay oysters, fresh rockfish and troll-caught salmon. From July to September proprietors Darus Peake and Cam Holtz also offer fresh albacore tuna caught off the local coast.

Reed & Hertig Packing Co. – Much of our beef, pork and poultry comes from longtime north Oregon coast meat purveyors Reed & Hertig, of Warrenton. The company has offered USDA-inspected meat to local dining establishments for more than 45 years. Carl Hertig, who co-founded the company with Bob Reed in 1959, was born in Garibaldi and raised in Seaside. He operated a meat market in the local Piggly Wiggly on the corner of Broadway and Holladay before going into business with Reed. Today Kevin Hertig owns and operates the company.

As you can see, it doesn’t get much more local than that.

The next time you’re in Manzanita, stop by the Big Wave Café for a taste of something local prepared by people who love food.

The Big Wave Café Earns a TripAdvisor 2013 Certificate of Excellence



MANZANITA, Ore. – May 31, 2013 The Big Wave Café today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

“We are honored to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Brian Williams, who, with wife Carol Williams, owns the Big Wave Café. Their son, Sam Williams, serves as the restaurant’s general manager. “We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience, and this award is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive reviews on TripAdvisor.”

For TripAdvisor, the feeling is mutual. “TripAdvisor is delighted to celebrate the success of businesses around the globe, from Sydney to Chicago, Sao Paulo to Rome, which are consistently offering TripAdvisor travelers a great customer experience,” said Alison Copus, TripAdvisor for Business vice president of marketing. “The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.”

About the Big Wave Café:

Brian and Carol Williams purchased the Big Wave Café in 2011 after moving back to Oregon from Chicago, where Brian served as senior vice president at Career Education Corp. for Le Cordon Bleu. An accomplished chef, Brian presides over the Big Wave kitchen. Carol, meanwhile, is responsible for the restaurant´s much-loved desserts. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Portland and studied with French chef Pascal Tisseur at Petite Provence, a Portland bakery.


About TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 200 million unique monthly visitors**, and over 100 million reviews and opinions. The sites operate in 30 countries worldwide, including China under TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.

Big Wave Cafe to host benefit dinners

MANZANITA — Following the success of last year’s dinner that raised several thousand dollars for a local handicapped access ramp, Brian and Carol Williams plan to use their Big Wave Café, 822 Laneda Ave. in Manzanita, to drum up more support for the Pine Grove Community House, the Rinehart Clinic and the Manzanita Business Alliance.

The first fundraiser, scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, is an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner that will benefit the Pine Grove Community House. The cost is $10 per plate. Those who attend are invited to bring a dessert to share.

Last year, the Williams hosted a benefit for the local nonprofit organization, raising $2,400 toward the $15,000 needed to build a new handicapped access ramp at the downtown Manzanita venue.

At 6 p.m. Feb. 4, the Big Wave Café will host a low-cholesterol, low-sodium, low-fat meal in conjunction with American Heart Month, with proceeds benefitting the Rinehart Clinic in Wheeler. Tickets will cost $20 each, and will be good for a complete heart-healthy, multi-course served dinner with pre-dinner heart-healthy appetizers and post-dinner heart-healthy desserts.

Tickets will be available at Manzanita Lumber and the Rinehart Clinic. There will be 70 tickets available for one seating.

“Brian and his family at the Big Wave exemplify the community spirit which makes the area so special in supporting the time-honored medical care provided to North County for the past 100 years,” said clinic CEO Ellen Boggs.

The Williams will round out their series of fundraising events with the Manzanita Business Alliance March Open House, at a future date.

The Williams moved to North Tillamook County from Chicago to purchase the Big Wave Café in September 2011. Brian Williams left his job as senior vice president at Career Education Corp. for Le Cordon Bleu to return to Oregon, where the couple grew up. Carol Williams, who makes desserts, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Portland and studied with French chef Pascal Tisseur at Petite Provence, a bakery in Portland.