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.

Big Wave Cafe to help four community groups as part of its annual local giving effort

Chef Brian Williams
Chef Brian Williams

MANZANITA, Ore. – It’s not every north Oregon coast restaurant that has a Social Responsibility Committee.

The Big Wave Cafe in Manzanita does, however, and the group recently selected four community organizations for the restaurant to help over the next three months, said Brian Williams, who owns the business with his wife Carol. Their son, Sam Williams, is the restaurant manager.

The Big Wave makes a practice of supporting the community year-round by employing up to 30 people, all local residents, and sourcing as many of its food items as possible from Tillamook County, said Williams. “It costs more to buy from our local farmers, ranchers and fisherman, but it provides a better product and keeps money in our county.”

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.

It’s in the spirit of continuing to support the local economy and community that the Big Wave is donating a $25 gift certificate to every U.S. Coast Guard Station Tillamook Bay Guardsman and Guardswoman for the unit’s annual holiday party.

“The Coast Guard’s nearly 40 local active personnel keep our commercial fishing fleets and sports fishermen safe year-round,” said Williams, who enjoys sports fishing himself. “This is a way for us to say ‘thank you.’”

On Thursday, Dec 10, the Big Wave will host a holiday meal “with all the trimmings” for the Nehalem Bay Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10644. “The VFW supports our veterans in so many ways, we felt it was our honor to support the organization itself,” said Williams.

While the VFW dinner will be private, the public is invited to purchase tickets for the Tuesday, Jan. 26, Library Lovers’ Spaghetti Dinner, a fundraiser for the North Tillamook Library Friends to be hosted by the Big Wave Cafe. 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.

While last year’s Big Wave Library Lovers’ Dinner raised funds to help replace gutters and install a new drainage system at the Manzanita Library, this year’s will serve as a fundraising kick-off to replace worn furniture in the reading lounge. New furniture will complement an interior redesign. “Our library is so special, and we are very fortunate to have such a resource in our small town, but it is in need of some financial assistance,” said Gail Young, a member of the North Tillamook Library Friends Board of Directors.

“We are lucky to have such a fine library in our small community,” said Williams. “The North Tillamook Library Friends do a wonderful job maintaining the building, making it something we are all proud of and love to use.”

The Library Lovers’ menu will include spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and dessert. Tickets to the dinner, which is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m., cost $20 each and are tax-deductible. Contact Young at or 503-368-5248 to reserve your seat.

The Big Wave chose the North Tillamook County Food Bank as its fourth organization. The restaurant will host another spaghetti feed fundraiser for that nonprofit organization on Monday, Feb. 22. Look for more information about that event, including how to purchase tickets, as it approaches. Call Imie Camelli, North Tillamook County Food Bank president, at 503-368-7848 for more information now.

“The Williams family feels so lucky and blessed to be part of such a special place in our world and we feel it is our responsibility to give back whenever possible,” said Williams. “Please join us in supporting these great local organizations that play a role in making this the best place in the world to call home.”

The Big Wave Cafe is located at 822 Laneda Avenue, in Manzanita.

Big Wave Café’s ‘Springtime on the Oregon Coast’ dinner to feature internationally renowned celebrity chef

Chef Roland Henin.
Chef Roland Henin.

MANZANITA, Ore. –  It isn’t every day that a Certified Master Chef prepares dinner in north Tillamook County.

However, Tuesday, May 6 is that day. At 6 p.m. that evening, internationally renowned celebrity Chef Roland Henin will prepare a Springtime on the Oregon Coast Dinner made with local ingredients, with proceeds benefitting the Rinehart Clinic.

“This is a rare opportunity for lovers of fine food to experience a multi-course meal prepared by a culinary virtuoso,” said Brian Williams, who, with wife Carol Williams, owns the Big Wave Café, in Manzanita. “I met Roland in 1987 when I was a student in culinary school in Portland. He was an advisor.”

Today, Henin is one of only 66 Certified Master Chefs in the United States. The title, issued by the American Culinary Federation following successful completion of a rigorous series of tests, is the highest level of certification a chef can receive.

Based in Seattle, Henin serves as corporate chef for Delaware North Companies, a global food service and hospitality corporation with headquarters in Buffalo, N.Y. In that role, he directs culinary operations for all of the company’s venues, from resorts to sporting facilities and serves as a mentor to all company culinary teams.

In 1992, he served as the coach of the gold medal U.S. Olympic Culinary Team, helping the American chefs bring home the World Cup from Luxembourg. The following year, he received the first National Chef Professionalism Award ever granted by the American Culinary Federation.

Henin continues to mentor famous chefs, including Thomas Keller, of the Napa Valley’s French Laundry, and Timothy Hollingsworth, who represented the United States at the Bocuse d’Or World Final in 2009.

“Brian is an old friend of mine and I was so happy when he decided a couple of years ago to settle down on the Oregon coast,” said Henin. “Is there a better place? When he asked if I would consider helping out with his fundraising dinner for the local medical clinic, it was difficult to say no, so here I am. Chefs, as a rule, are givers by their very nature.”

Rinehart Clinic staff, board and volunteers are no strangers to giving themselves. The nonprofit clinic, which has served north Tillamook County for more than 100 years, serves anyone who needs medical care, regardless of that individual’s ability to pay.

“We are so grateful to Brian and Carol for hosting this benefit dinner,” said Ellen Boggs, Rinehart Clinic CEO. “They give so much to the community, and with this dinner, they’ve outdone themselves.”

Chef Brian Williams
Chef Brian Williams

While Henin and Williams have yet to finalize the menu, tentative plans include poached darne of Columbia River spring chinook with an Oregon white wine veloute served with a jardinière of local vegetables and oven-roasted Yukon gold potatoes for the main course. The salad will consist of Oregon dandelion greens tossed with sliced Hood River Granny Smith apples, Point Reyes bleu cheese, toasted walnuts and mache lettuce. For an appetizer, they will serve fresh Oregon bay shrimp with plum tomatoes and green onion served on French baguette toast. Dessert will be a roasted rhubarb clafouti, which is Carol Williams’ special inspiration.

A complimentary glass of wine is included with the price of dinner. Additional wine, as well as beer and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages, will be available for purchase.

The Williams, who have owned the Big Wave since 2011, have hosted many benefit dinners for local nonprofit organizations over the last few years. Brian is former senior vice president at Career Education Corporation for Le Cordon Bleu, while Carol, who makes the Big Wave’s desserts, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Portland. She also studied with renowned French pastry chef, Pascal Tisseur at Petite Provence, an upscale French bakery in Portland.

As for the upcoming Springtime on the Oregon Coast dinner, Henin said, “We’ll give it the best shot we have, hoping that some others chefs in the future will joins us, so that we’ll eventually make this event the place that anyone who’s anyone on the Coast will want attend. Watch it happen.”

Tickets, which cost $50 per person, are available at Manzanita Lumber, Ticor Title in Manzanita or the Rinehart Clinic. For more information, contact Leila Salmon at 503-368-6132.

Join Us in Celebrating the Fourth of July in Manzanita

Photo by Rocky Intertidal CoCreative
Photo by Rocky Intertidal CoCreative

Tomorrow Manzanita will bustle with visitors and locals alike as the town celebrates the 2013 Fourth of July in its characteristic American beach town fashion.

Start your morning with a pancake breakfast from 8  to 11 a.m. at the Manzanita Fire Hall, located on 5th Street, next to the basketball court. Proceeds will benefit Neahkahnie High School’s athletic programs.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay will host a barbecue fundraiser, serving hamburgers and hotdogs in the Kamali Sotheby’s parking lot at 5th and Laneda.

The annual Manzanita Fourth of July Parade will kick off at 1 p.m. and wind along Laneda Avenue toward the beach. Look for floats, marching bands and other entrants in this colorful procession. This year’s theme is “Peace on Earth.” If you would like to enter this year’s parade, fill out an application and register at the parade staging area at Underhill Plaza, across from Manzanita Fresh Foods IGA.

At dusk, usually around 10 p.m., people will flock to the beach for the annual Manzanita Fireworks event. Licensed pyrotechnicians from Western Display Fireworks in Canby will launch the show in what is always an entertaining way to cap off the holiday.


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.