A Friendly Lunch at The Ram Brewery

During a fast and furious back and forth bout of emailing with a work bud, I was reminded that we hadn't enjoyed our annual summer lunch yet. Last year we went to the Flight Deck and enjoyed eating on their second story deck. The first place that popped into my head for this July was The Ram Brewery .
I was determined we eat outside and refused to be deterred by the kindly warning from the hostess, as she wiped the raindrops from the table, "it's been raining this morning. Are you sure you want to sit out here?" I'm an Oregonian, for goodness sake, a little rain doesn't matter to me in July! I was glad the rain didn't fall during our lunch, though. I didn't want my NW bravado tested. Both work buddies had worn jackets, so it was easy to convince them to join me.

Two of us chose the "Blue Breeze Margarita", in all it's eye catching glory on the specials menu. The third chose a Big Horn Blonde. The margaritas hit the spot, but reminded all 3 of us of Otter Pops. Maybe I'll stick with a gin and tonic next time. No one could ever mistake that drink for an Otter Pop.

I ordered the Almond Chicken Salad, L ordered the "Mix and Match" with 1/2 a sandwich and 1/2 a cobb salad, and D ordered a Big Horn Salad with grilled chicken. My Almond Chicken Salad, was comprised of a nice foundation of green leaf lettuce, intermingled with slices of red pepper, rice noodles, sliced almonds, julienne carrots and topped with a tender, flavorful portion of diced chicken. The light ginger dressing and crunchy, seasoned bread stick joined it together nicely. It was a good salad, but a few more pinches of carrot slivers and maybe the addition of cabbage and cucumber would've made it even better. If I'm paying $10 for a salad, I like it to be a bit more interesting.
L said, "It was great seeing you and having such a good lunch made it even better. (You know how much I love to eat!) I had the 1/2 Cobb salad with honey mustard dressing on the side and 1/2 a grilled turkey and Havarti sandwich. Both were excellent and I would order them again."

And D said, "I too enjoyed our afternoon visiting on the deck overlooking the water!! I had the Big Horn Salad with fresh greens topped with sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, egg wedge and feta cheese. Topped off with a white balsamic vinaigrette, almonds and croutons. It sells for 9.99, and I added grilled chicken for an extra 2.99. I love the sun-dried tomatoes and the artichoke hearts! The wedge of bread that accompanies it, while supposed to be hard, was nearly brick like and I was afraid that I was going to break a tooth eating it, so I did not!! LOL!! I had the blonde beer, which was delicious. "

It was nice sitting outside by Mill Creek. We can be a noisy group, so I feel like we're less likely to bother people when we're outdoors.
I hope. I don't think we were much competition with the occasional siren and loud motorcycle, though.
It was good to laugh and chat with friends for a couple of hours without feeling like we were in the way. Plus, we were the lucky recipients of a waitress who was fun with a great sense of humor.


Scott said...

I just found your blog and I love it! I find Salem a hard nut to crack as far as local businesses go. I'm posting a comment here because The Ram is one of my favorite places in Salem, mainly due to good local beer which Salem deserves more of! (Besides McMenamins, the only other good beer places I know of in Salem are Brown's Towne Lounge and Venti's)

I am also posting to make a small correction, I believe that the waterway passing by the Ram deck is actually Shelton Ditch. Keeps posting I love it!

KandN said...

Thanks for the correction, Scott :>) I should've known I was taking a chance by trying to ID that stream.
Since I began participating on this blog I've learned a bit more about local eateries and I'm enjoying the new discoveries.

Scott said...

The way the Mill stream runs it's hard to say what is and what is not part of it! I think Shelton Ditch is actually fed from the Mill Stream so you weren't really that far off!

Anonymous said...

I hope Scott realizes that The Ram is not a local establishment and the liklihood of the beer that you are drinking was made at that location is very slim. Each location has a brewery, but they don't necessarily make all the beer for that location. So, if you feel like you are going there to support a "local" brewery, you are actually supporting a multi-state chain restaurant with about 20 locations.
I liked the RAM - loved to go there for happy hour - the deals were fantastic! But lately, their service hasn't been too great, so I've switched to someplace else for my happy hour business. But you cannot beat their happy hour deals.

KandN said...

Anonymous above me,
You made me curious about the history of The Ram, so I've left the url above if anyone else is interested. Not a complete history of course, but still interesting to read how they began.

Scott said...

While the Ram itself isn't local, the beer is brewed there on site by brewers that live here in Salem. I know both the current brewers there Mike and Kyle, and the former head brew that brews at a Ram in Portland, Jeremy. While the majority of what they brew is dictated by the company, many of their seasonal recipes are written in house. If you look in the windows on the west side you can see the fermentation tanks and the brewery. The silo on the back side holds the grain.

I would love it if Salem had a place that was totally local to Salem like Ninkasi is to Eugene, or Root's is to Portland, but so far we don't. It seems that the ones that have tried haven't succeed for one reason or another.

It's too bad that the Rams customer service has faltered for you. I have found that service can be hit or miss at times, but that the management has been very responsive in finding solutions to problems that I have had.

KandN said...

Being the curious person I am, I emailed the contact email at the Ram's website regarding their history. I also signed up for their MVP club and have already received a coupon for a free famous burger or chicken sandwich with purchase.
Here's the info I was sent:
The Ram in Lakewood, WA-Villa Plaza was the first restaurant to open in 1971. Soon afterwards we have opened upwards of 25+ restaurants all across the nation as far east as Indiana. Our newest restaurant will be opening in Puyallup, WA in the Sunrise Village shopping center in late 2008.
Hope this is helpful.
Mary Wawrin
Ram International
Ph: 253-588-1788

KariGemPuy said...

any idea when the ram will open at Sunrise village in puyallup? Saw the sign out front the other day- looking forward to the opening!

KandN said...

The following was all the info sent to me in Mary Wawrin's email: "Our newest restaurant will be opening in Puyallup, WA in the Sunrise Village shopping center in late 2008."