N and I were ready for a relaxing burger and brew, so that's where we found ourselves Monday evening. I was a little concerned about the temperature being warm enough to enjoy outdoor dining in our shirtsleeves, but it was just right - even with the sun going down. We settled on one of the picnic benches outside, not far from the fire pit. The waiter had to bring us the menus, since they had removed everything from the tables to protect it from the showers. If we closed our eyes we could almost imagine we were at the beach with the wood smoke and the smell of another diner's seafood.
N ordered his favorite Communication Breakdown Burger with tater tots - gotta have those grilled mushrooms & onions with the barbecue sauce. Instead of the Dante Chicken sandwich (it's been a bit too hot for me the past two times), I ordered the third of a pound Franklin's Burger, with a side salad. The waiter kept apologizing about the wait, but we were doing fine with our porter and chatter. It's a good thing we weren't starving, the wait was long. Our food arrived, looking fresh and hot, but N's tot portion looked as if they were running low. My side salad looked a little smaller than usual, too, but maybe that's because I was ready to eat once the food arrived. The quality of the burgers was good and the lettuce, tomato and onion was fresh. Despite the wait, they hadn't been sitting under a hot light.
Since we wanted to stay and enjoy the evening, we splurged and ordered a Marionberry Crisp ala mode to share. Delicious and relaxing! A great way to catch up on each other's days.
Review by Salem Man 2007
Slow down, have a cold micro brew and enjoy the late sunset of a warm summer night. Thompson Brewery on Liberty Rd. and Madrona South, has the best outdoor dining in all of Salem. Shaded by trees, diners relax on dozens of picnic tables in the back of the house built in 1905. Inside, tables spread throughout the two story house. One room upstairs has just a single table for customers seeking a private dinner. But before you get started with dinner, order from the list of McMenamin's Ales at $2 a pint. Not a big micro brew fan, I think the "Hammerhead" is pretty good. It isn't too heavy and goes down smooth. The menu includes a number of burgers and sandwiches served with soup, salad or fries. For $7.25 the turkey sandwich and green salad is the perfect, light and healthy, compliment to the comfortable outdoor atmosphere. The whole grain bread is stuffed with a generous portion of turkey and just enough cranberry relish to remind you of Thanksgiving leftovers. They do allow smoking outside, it's noticeable, but only a minor nuisance.