When world-traveler and founder Steven Neufeld opened River House Restaurant in Pacific City on the Oregon Coast, word spread quickly that his house-made blue cheese dressing was out-of-this-world. Legend has it that people would show up with mason jars wanting to buy it by the bottle. Steven quickly realized he had something special on his hands, and began producing the dressing for retail. He started a production facility in the tiny coastal village of Oretown, Oregon inside a historic building that once housed one of Tillamook County’s original creameries.
In the beginning there was River House Dressing - and their number one retail customer, The Blue Heron. Established over 40 years ago, The Blue Heron immediately became an attraction in Tillamook County for anyone who had an appetite for specialty cheeses. Housed in one of the last-remaining, original Dutch-style barns, The Blue Heron was the brainchild of Denny Pastega. Denny wanted to open a high-end tasting room in Tillamook that offered house-made brie and other hard-to-find cheeses. Over time, they offered other artisan-made products in their tasting room including a wine bar.
“We were ahead of our time,” Denny Pastega recalled. “We knew the secret that if we could find a high-quality product and hand out samples, once people tasted it they were going to want to buy it.”
When Denny discovered River House Dressing being produced just south of Tillamook, he immediately jumped on the opportunity to offer tastings and sell the one-of-a-kind product at The Blue Heron. It wasn’t unusual to sell up to 10 cases of dressing in a single day. “We were by far their best customer,” Denny said.
Denny told River House Dressing founder Steven Neufeld if he ever wanted to sell the business, The Blue Heron would be interested in purchasing it. Fifteen years after the original offer was made, they solidified their partnership when Steven sold the line of dressings to the Pastega family in 2013.
Steven had made it his mission to source only the highest-quality ingredients for his small-batch crafted dressings, and the Pastegas have continued to honor that tradition. You will still find the same great taste that has come to make River House Dressing a legend for the last four decades.