Update: for a more recent post on Court St. Dairy Lunch click here
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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
Hours M-F 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Breakfast until 11:00 a.m. followed by lunch