SKYWAY BAR & GRILL
By Michael P. Jones
During the days of the Oregon Trail when emigrants tried to conquer
the 11,235-foot Mt. Hood as an alternative land route to the Columbia
River, the journey was harsh. They were forced to eat either thin shoe
leather or what was left of the soles of their moccasins, while trying
to dine under a canopy of trees that tended to let in the rain, snow
However, if they could have delayed their trip for 156 years, waiting
for them on the mountain's western flank would be the Skyway Bar &
Situated just off East U.S. Highway 26, between Zig Zag and Rhododendron,
near segments of the Oregon Trail and along a near-forgotten section
of the Old Mt. Hood Loop Highway, the newly-opened Skyway Bar &
Grill is quickly gaining patrons. Housed in the former Salazar's Restaurant,
this is the place for great food and music.
The Skyway Bar & Grill is a new landmark that stands out like
a beacon for travelers. It occupies a stretch of land between the Zig
Zag River and Bear Creek. A mere stone's throw away from where the "prairie
schooners" once traversed the difficult terrain on the mountain's
west side, modern-day folks can enjoy a superb meal in what is a spectacular
atmosphere reminiscent of a museum and an art gallery.
The owners of this new venture are Tom Baker and Tracie Anderson.
They have done what most people consider the impossible; they have purchased
the former Salazar's Restaurant, land, building and a good portion of
its contents. As a result, the Skyway has undergone an interesting
but most appropriate transformation.
Baker and Anderson removed walls, added a stage, remodled the kitchen
and essentially made it their own. The building, owned and operated
by Al Salazar for close to 30 years, boasts much more than a name change.
The Skyway Bar & Grill offers patrons a whole new approach.
On the outside, the establishment is also changed from its brown coloring
to a reddish rust with green trim. The side of the building facing East
U.S. Hwy 26, now has a covered, open-air addition. Since smoking is
not allowed in the interior, this is the smoking area. For the convenience
of their customers, they have even added a propane heater.
Food offered by the Skyway is affordable and excellent; their chef
hails from a lodge in Colorado. With prices mid-range, everything from
steaks and lasagna, to exotic dishes such as wild boar and elk are served.
They even have salmon and chips, proving very popular. They also serve
a host of unique specials on a regular basis.
Baker and Anderson's backgrounds are unique and diverse, which means
the Skyway Bar & Grill is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill music
establishment and watering hole. They bring a fresh approach that is
very apparent in their venture.
Anderson has worked in restaurants and clubs for many years, and is
the only one who has had experience in this industry; she brings her
professionalism to the Skyway. However, Baker is the creative half of
the partnership and has made a living as a artist, an independent filmmaker
and even a commercial painter.
Like the former Salazar's Restaurant that was filled with antiques,
the Skyway has a similar but different feel to it. On the walls is old
artwork, along with creations by Baker himself. In addition, he and
Anderson added their own collectibles, lending a unique quality.
This is the place on the mountain for music; more and more people
are discovering its mixture of great music.
Recently, the Paul deLay Trio, featuring the renowned blues harmonicist
and singer Paul deLay, performed here. According to Baker, deLay and
company will probably return in the future.
Drop by the restaurant, located at 71545 East Hwy 26, between Zig
Zag and Rhododendron. (See Music
on Tap for details.)