BANDON — Have you ever walked into a restaurant and just knew right off the bat that you had found something special.

I got that feeling the other day walking into the new Bandon Brewing Co. at 395 2nd St SE, right under the "Welcome to Old Town Bandon" sign right off U.S. Highway 101.

Sports editor John Gunther and I were combining two of my favorite activities last week when we headed for Bandon — dining out and golf.

After visiting the Cranberry Festival the previous weekend, I knew that Bandon Brewing Co. would be the perfect place for us to try out for lunch. During the festival, it was absolutely packed. Folks were having a great time, they had a grill going in front, turning out oysters and inside they were cranking out wood-fired pizzas.

They did a soft opening recently and held their grand opening during Cranberry Festival weekend.

I couldn't wait to get back to Bandon to try it.

While they have wings, sliders and nachos on the menu, John and I were looking forward to the pizza.

We took a sneak peak at the menu the day before, to get an idea of what we wanted. They have 11 pizzas on the menu, four of which I'm really looking forward to trying.

John and I tried the BBC Combo, which comes with pepperoni, Italian sausage, black olives, green peppers, mushrooms and onions. John's not a mushroom fan, so I got the mushrooms just on half the pizza.

The others I'm looking forward to trying are the Chicken Bacon Alfredo, which has chicken, bacon, mushrooms and onions. It's topped with mixed greens and tomatoes; the Kickin Chicken featuring a chipotle ranch sauce, brick oven roasted chicken, red onion and cheddar cheese; and the Sausage with Italian sausage, red onion, roasted fennel and herbed Ricotta chesse.

We chatted with Cole Handrich, who was hand tossing the pizza dough. He says it takes 18 minutes for a pizza from start to finish. Six minutes to toss the dough into a crust and put on the toppings and 12 minutes in the nearly-600 degree pizza oven.

The crust is nice and thin and has a little bit of crunch to it, and the toppings, while plentiful are not overpowering. I'm already a huge fan of this pizza.

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Despite eating half a pizza each, neither John nor I felt weighed down as we headed for Bandon Crossings to start our 6-mile walk.

"It's not a real heavy pizza," John said.

In the coming months, Handrich said the menu will expand to include pastas, lasagne, fish and chips and a variety of sandwiches as the brewery enhances its kitchen. 

We enjoyed our time there enough at lunch, that when we passed back through town on our way back to Coos Bay, that we stopped in for a pint.

They are making their own beer on the premises, and had two selections on the board, along with one from 7 Devils, one from Defeat Brewery in Reedsport and a selection from Ninkasi and the cranberry cider from Bandon Rain.

Go to their website (www.bandonbrewingco.com), check out the menu and see if that doesn't sound like a place you'd want to spend a Friday or Saturday evening. Their hours are currently daily 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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