There was a time in this country when the landscape was littered with great local restaurants like the Big River Grill and everyone always had a wonderful place to stop and become part of more than just a meal. For locals, it was the community center, for the traveler, the welcomed roadhouse with sustenance to move on to the next destination. I confess, I love that places like the Big River still exist. What’s more exciting, is they have come to embrace the notion that there’s nothing wrong with being local on this shrinking planet. We stopped in for lunch and pleasantly surprised by a couple of things right off the bat. The space exudes locale. From the giant sturgeon painting in the back to the artifacts of the surrounding culture covering the walls, it was cheeky yet cozy, inviting. The fare was pretty traditional, with burgers, fries, soups and salads, but everything had a bit of a twist, which I thought was gutsy for a little hangout in Stevenson, Wash. Their veggie burger was astounding, and I’ve had the best of the best. The fries are prepared in a way that makes them really crispy but not hard. And the soup was one of their specials, an African corn curry affair that would be impressive served in one of Portland’s finer eateries. Staff were quick and friendly. The crowd was a mix of locals and folks passing through. The Big River Grill is worthy of a detour when rolling along the mighty Columbia.