I should know by now, that when a restaurant's parking lot is empty during the rush hour, try somewhere else. Being in a hurry and interested in trying something new, I went ahead and made the dining mistake of the year. Caesar's Garlic Wars is an Italian restaurant that's been in business now about six years. They're located in an industrial area on Turner Rd. just south of Kuebeler. This place was completely off my radar screens until I saw it while doing business in the area. As soon as I opened the door of the restaurant, the smell of some sort of floor cleaner or brass polisher almost knocked me over. There was a shirtless man working underneath a table in the corner with a towel and a bucket full of whatever that stinky chemical was. Not the most appetizing scene but being far from any other restaurant I forged ahead. The gal at the counter took my order and apologized for the smell. She was friendly and I almost felt bad when I left the tip portion on the credit card receipt blank. I know this sounds awful and cheap, but I hate it when restaurants ask for a tip when it's an "order at the counter situation." For more, refer to this earlier post leftovers of two. So with more than three strikes against it, I made another huge mistake. I asked where the bathroom was. The gal said, "around back" and handed me the key. To my horror, the key was attached by shoelace to a toilet plunger. I was in a state of disbelief and almost walked out the door when I started to think that it was my duty as the Eat Salem blog guy to expose this place. How could a restaurant have such a disgusting and unsanitary practice in this day and age. Fortunately the bathroom was stocked with paper towels and I used them like gloves to return the plunger back to the kitchen. My appetite was almost completely gone when they called out my order. I got the Sockaroni Marinara for $8.50. It was surprisingly good. The sauce was made with spicy red and green bell peppers and it was a very large portion of pasta. Taking a closer look at the pasta itself, I noticed that it was a mix of spaghetti and linguine. It was as if they used two different boxes to save a few cents. Even though it was good, the smell of the room and the thought of the chef using the plunger, stopped me about half way through my meal. It was more than I could take and I left hungry. I've never said on this blog, that you shouldn't eat at a particular restaurant, but this place is so bad, I would strongly advise not eating here. It's places like Caesar's Garlic Wars that have lowered the bar for dining in Salem and opened the door for chain restaurants to take a foothold in our community.
4964 Turner Rd. SE
Salem, OR 97317