Due to COVID Restrictions Call Us for Current Hours and Dining Options.
The Snaffle Bit Dinner House has been a staple in John Day, OR since it's inception on October 14th 2001. "Seems like yesterday" says owner Brenda. Our dad Larry Osborne came up with the name "Snaffle Bit". For those of you who don't know what a Snafflebit is...it's a mouth piece on the bridle that controls the horse.
The Snaffle Bit Dinner House is located in beautiful John Day, OR where locals gather to talk about their day, fishermen stop in after a long day of fishing the John Day River, hunters gather after trying their luck at the vast array of hunting opportunities and snowmobilers gather after a long day of riding our beautifully manicured trails. Visitors are treated like family, greeted by a smiling face and a warm cozy environment. Our caring and committed staff will ensure you have a fantastic experience with us.
We invite you to take in the western atmosphere while listening to country music. During the dunner months our beautiful patio "the back fourty" is open that boasts a beautiful waterfall.
We have made many friends throughout the years and are so thankful for all who have passed our way.
The Snaffle Bit Family
Our restaurant is available for private events: weddings, business lunches, dinners, cocktail receptions, and more. We also offer off-site catering. We would love to discuss how to be a part of your next event.
John Day is located about 2 miles north of Canyon City in Grant County Oregon, at the intersection of U.S. Routes 26 and 395. The city was named for the nearby John Day River, which had been named for a Virginian member of the 1811 Astor Expedition, The city was incorporated in 1901.
The first homestead staked in Grant County (what was then Wasco County), in 1862 by B. C. Trowbridge, was within the limits of the present city of John Day. The community was not as quick to grow as neighboring Canyon City, which was the county seat and center of the bustling mining industry in the area. Incrementally, local merchants and residents began relocating to John Day primarily each time after severe fires in Canyon City: the Grant County Courthouse burned in 1870, Chinatown burned in 1885, and fires in 1898 and 1937 devastated Canyon City’s downtown.
The first Post Office at John Day City was established in 1865, but was discontinued in 1871. It was reestablished in 1879 with the name John Day. In April 1900, a local committee was elected, and the Oregon Legislature approved an Act incorporating the city of John Day on February 23, 1901.
The largest part of early John Day was composed of the Chinese community, commonly called Tiger Town. In 1882, the Advent Christian Church in John Day boasted 547 members, 382 of whom were Chinese (and a number of Chinese residents were interred in the Seventh Day Adventist Cemetery). By 1887, John Day was home to nearly 1000 Chinese immigrants, who had been attracted to the area by a gold rush twenty years earlier, many of whom were displaced by the 1885 fire in Canyon City.
A trading post built in the area in the 1860s along The Dalles Military Road was purchased in 1887 by two Chinese immigrants, Lung On and Ing Hay. They converted the trading post into a clinic, general store, and social center for the community, which continued to operate until the 1940s. In the 1970s the building, then the property of the city of John Day, was converted into a museum called the Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum. It is now operated in conjunction with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and is one of the premier surviving examples of a 19th-century Chinese apothecary shop. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2005.
The area around John Day contains some of the most important paleontological resources known. From about the time the dinosaurs disappeared right up until the Pleistocene, the region was subjected to significant volcanism and other processes that preserved many fossils. Because the matrix in which the fossils are entombed is datable, the fossils themselves can be dated with excellent precision. This gives paleontologists the ability to study how species changed over time and also how the relationship between ecosystems and climate changed.