Court Street Dairy Lunch

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Reviewed by mama2dylan 5/14/08
I’ve been going to Court Street Dairy Lunch for sometime now. I’ve never had a bad meal or bad service there. Amber, a long-standing server there is very friendly and efficient. Marleen the current owner has been involved with the restaurant since 1994. Previously she was the cook, then the partner before becoming the sole owner. And prior to that she cooked at White’s restaurant here in Salem.

Coined as Salem’s oldest (continuously operating) restaurant, Court Street Dairy Lunch has changed very little over the years. Notably they have been recognized in the National Register’s who’s who in executives & professionals for 2004 & 2005.
Dairyman Glen Morris who provided the public with quality dairy products founded it in 1929 at the start of the depression. He then expanded upon the dairy to include sandwiches and soups. hence came the name “Dairy Lunch”.
As you sit down in a booth or at the counter for breakfast or lunch, you may feel like you’ve traveled back in time. It is the quintessential home-style classic dinner. The food is made from scratch, daily proof that you can serve food quickly without sacrificing quality and service.
The walls are adorned with a photographic look back at nostalgic Oregon with historic photos of the City of Salem such as the Oregon State Capitol when it was destroyed by fire.
I almost always have breakfast there. On this visit I had the ½ order of the vegetarian omelet @ $6.25 one choice out of 9 other omelets. It contained a nice mixture of tomatoes; onions, peppers, mushrooms and swiss cheddar mix of cheese. Served with a side of salsa and sour cream (on request). It was a very delicious and perfectly cooked omelet. The eggs were soft and silky, not dry, over cooked and rubbery. There was just the right amount of veggies inside and the homemade salsa (consisting of fresh tomatoes, onions and green bell peppers) I added to the top really completed the deal. The omelets are served with pancakes or the best fresh homemade cottage fried potatoes & toast. Add $1.00 to smother your spuds in country sausage gravy (as I always do). Well worth the extra dollar. You may also substitute eggbeaters for eggs. They also serve a full omelet for only a dollar more. However, I suggest you stick w/ the ½ order, served w potatoes and toast it’s plenty satisfying!
My son ordered the 3 mini pancakes @ $3.50 from the 12 & under or over 55 menu. Mini they are not, more like small to medium served arranged on the plate to resemble Mickey mouse w/ ears. He really enjoyed them. We both had a large order of bacon @ $3.75 for 4 strips. They also have a small order for $2.25 for 2 strips. Their bacon is excellent and always perfectly cooked.
In addition to the usual breakfast fare the menu consists of homemade soups and chili, salads, standard and special sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and fish, chicken or clam strips. They also have a 12 & under or over 55 lunch menu.
So, if you haven’t been to Court Street Dairy Lunch yet what are you waiting for? It’s a wonderful little gem, and Salem’s best kept secret. Shhh…..don’t tell then I told you so!

Reviewed by Salem Man 11/4/07
Decorated with historic photos of Salem, Court Street Dairy Lunch has been in business here since 1929. Located on Court Street downtown, this historic restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. Eat Salem readers say that they have the best hamburgers in town so I've been meaning to get in there for awhile. I finally got the chance this week to eat there on my lunch break and I was not disappointed. A restaurant that has been in business for almost seventy years doesn't need my endorsement, but I'll give it one anyway. They have great cheeseburgers and french fries. The huge pile of crispy fries was almost more than I could eat and the cheeseburger was fresh and juicy. I was very happy with the quality of my lunch and the speed of the service. You could probably get in and out of this restaurant if you parked in one of those thirty minute spaces on the corners. If you wanted to take your time, there are plenty of historic photos of Salem adorning the walls. It would be fun to eat there with a local historian and here the stories behind the pictures. The menu also has a nice selection of reasonably priced sandwiches and breakfast. This place will be tops on my list, next time I meet my family downtown for lunch. Be a part of Salem history and get a quick meal at the Court Street Dairy Lunch.

347 Court Street
Salem, Oregon
(503) 363-6433
Hours M-F 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Breakfast until 11:00 a.m. followed by lunch


Anonymous said...

This place is great, we have been going there for years...and have never had one bad meal.

The people who work there are great, friendly, and hard working.

I'm so glad you finally got to it! If I weren't going out of town today, I be there for lunch!

Unknown said...

Not the best burger in town (tends to be on the boring side), but the fried chicken sandwich is something to behold. I also love their fries.

Miriam said...

I love their tater tots. I'm not usually a big greasy-food lover, but those crispy little puppies are awesome.

Another great and fattening thing there is the shakes, which you can share between two and still not be able to finish.

The gardenburger is good- not dry or cooked into flavorlessness, I think they know to put a little veggie broth on it as it cooks.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I hear they might open for breakfast only on Sundays. Can't wait

Anonymous said...

This truly is one of the best places to eat in Salem. I love their hot turkey sandwiches on Thursday's.Wish they would hurry up and open on Sunday's.I realy like their ranchburgers and frenchfries.

Pam said...

Mmmmm, Court St Dairy Lunch french fries.....

Are they hand cut from fresh potatoes? Whatever I order there, I always have to get it with fries.

Anonymous said...

I used to go here as a child with my mom and dad to meet my aunt for lunch. I remember always sitting at the front table nearest the door and eating french fries and patty melt to my little hearts content. Sometimes I'd even get a milkshake. It is great to see the place has not changed since my childhood and I wonder if it ever has! I moved to Portland a few years ago and have found NOTHING all over town quite like this place. I have a trip slated to Salem to visit with my aunt and by my request we will be going there. I am now 23 and expecting my own little one in June.

PS: to Pam - yes they do hand-cut those yummy fries from fresh potatoes every day! :o)

Anonymous said...

Yes Dairy Lunch is one of the better places downtown to have breakfast or lunch.Everything is so good.The burgers fries and shakes are the best.Thursday they have open face hot turkey sandwiches that are yummy, turkey is cooked there and real mashed potatoes and home made gravy, so many good thins there to eat. They even addded a new breakfast item called Brians mess, have to try it is all I can say

Anonymous said...

I hear they are going to be open June 20th on a sat. for their 80th birthday. Having a special menu with lower prices on it

Anonymous said...

I love this place, the staff is great the food is wonderful. I will enjoy eating here for many years to come. "Even if I never get my very own smiley face coffee mug at breakfast!"