Who owns Garibaldi Portside Bistro? That’s Dennis & Amanda Cavitt of Garibaldi, Oregon. They live behind us, or we live to their side, or something like that.

The Cavitts were the one who purchased the building that housed The Troller Restaurant & Lounge, and that’s where quite a few of us spent much of the last 16 months, preparing that old historic haunt for the Bistro to have as its forever home.


A couple weeks ago our dear sweet neighbor, Marian, was in from Salem to check on the roofing & gutter work performed on her house. Her husband was born in that house. He planted the tree in the front yard as a child, and it’s how we get any afternoon shade. While at the house, she read the local paper. Once she finished, she texted me to congratulate Katie & I on the success of the opening of the Bistro.

Before the planning commission meeting on Monday, among the topics discussed with fellow citizens was the renovation work down on The Bistro this summer.

“So, you’re a part of that?”

When The Troller was purchased in Fall of 2018, we couldn’t fill up a tank of gas without being asked if we bought the building. It was crazy for a stretch.

Such situations are slowing in frequency. Over the last 16 months, they’ve been common. Probably because the gossip works faster than the Internet here on the coast. Possibly because Garibaldi Portside Bistro co-owner Dennis Cavitt & I are both about 6’2″, long haired, light-eyed, and have an affinity for basketball, loud music, and black t-shirts. Most likely because Katie, my mother-in-law, and I have spent quite a bit of time doing what our limited construction and blossoming restaurant skills could do to lend a hand – including getting food handlers permits & liquor licenses. Definitely because all of us, to this day, are new in town.

My responses to these situations, now seemingly pat, go something like this:

“Nope. Just neighbors. We don’t own The Bistro. We don’t have an investment in the Bistro. We aren’t employed by The Bistro. ‘Just neighbors.”

Neighbors lend hands here on Tillamook Bay. Many, many hands.

Just about an hour ago, I helped my next-door neighbor slide a new headboard up the stairs to his bedroom. This weekend, the same neighbor is coming over to help us install hurricane tie-downs on our garage roof beams. A couple months ago, we walked the neighborhood, first up the mountain to old Sundance Trading Company owner’s house, then back down to our neighbor’s machine shop down the cross street in search of the right part to drill our TV support into the fireplace limestone.

That machine shop was built by the same group of neighbors. We’ll be using that machine shop’s car lift to hoist up my Mustang GT and have some fun, after we’ve replaced the PCV, Serpentine belt, and window seals on the dually. That beautiful shop is where I took the dually to diagnose the taillight issue. It had everything to test, diagnose, and clean out the Oregon Coast saltwater-induced corrosion, and get the light working again.

When they hear the drills coming out of our garage, they’ll come by and see what’s going on, and we do the same.

If we had need, we’d do a barn raising.

They also helped at the Bistro when we were in jams.

We called in our next-door neighbor to figure out what were doing wrong to flush up the ceiling lights & vents in the women’s bathroom. He helped with a few things that got in the way.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We’re still working on chronicling all the family, friends, neighbors, and loyal customers who helped brought the life back into The Troller building. The effort even lead to some county awards.

Best of all, tonight, we’ll share a table tonight as we celebrate the officially-official Garibaldi Portside Bistro Grand Opening.

It’s literally the biggest thing to happen to Tillamook Bay since they last opened a fishing season early, and no one can remember when that last happened.

I’ll try not to feel guilty while my wife & mother-in-law are expediting orders, but who am I kidding? I’ll turn around and start bussing tables while I wait for my food.

It’s how things work ’round here.

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