French Press Now Open

Update 03/09/09
Customers are reporting a busy first weekend at the new French Press restaurant on Commercial St. Does anyone remember the BBQ restaurant that was at that very location a couple of years ago? We've come a long way. I would have been satisfied if this location turned into a decent chain like Baja Fresh or Jamba Juice but we did even better with a locally owned. We'll post more photos if you have them, send them into

Update 03/08/09
French Press Photos

Thank you very much to everyone who sent in photos including Lisa Anne. We'll post more if you have any.
Also, I saw this blog post online.

Update 03/07/09
Here are some other notes gathered on my peek in.
20 or so employees.
Owner has plans for bakery next door.
Plans for restaurant in the Meridian building with outdoor dining.
French Press on Commercial St. the first of possibly 10 restaurants.
Nice imported dark wood counters tile floors, large kitchen.
Room for dining in but order at the counter.
Readers are asking for photos. If you are headed down there, snaps some pix and email them to
We'll post them right here.

Just peeked into the new cafe on Commercial St. and to sum it up in one word, "wow." The owner of French Press told me that they had to wait for the roaster to arrive before opening to the public. I scanned in a menu that I picked up on my visit. That help wanted banner that hung out front brought in 300 people looking for work. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

This seems promising. It looks like I can have them make me a chocolate crepe like in San Fran but I'll have to bring my own strawberries.

I dunno if I trust Canadian chocolate though.....just teasing!

Vegan's Nightmare said...

I've had crepes on the brain ALL day. Do you think it'd be alright if I went and got in line right now? And I can't wait for a cup (or 3) of the Roaster's Choice.

Doug Gabbard said...

It was worth the wait!

I took my family to French Press for breakfast this morning. For about $8 per person, we all had a crepe and a beverage.

Considering that the format of the place is fast-food-ish, the crepe menu is ambitious. And the cooks deliver! I had the California Special, which included chickin, spinach, peppers, feta, tomato, avocado, and tomato pesto. Delicious! I even tasted the crepe completely by iteslf, and it was very good.

Of course, a placed called "French Press" has to be judged on its coffee. I tried the dark house coffee and was delighted with the quality. The stuff is roasted on site, and I got to see the roaster in action while I was there. I'm sure the Governor's Cup is flattered by the imitation!

The new-age music seemed a little incongruous. The ambiance of the place suggests that I should have heard some jazz or Sinatra. My wife tells me that's because I've spent too much time at Starbucks!

Anonymous said...

I stopped by just now, after a reminder twitter. Thanks, Salem Man! Sorry, I didn't have my camera with me.

I got the Veggie Medley for my SO. He'd just eaten, so I'll have to report on that later. I got the Sour Cream Triple Sec with Tropical Sauce. It was yummy!

There seemed to be a slight problem with the roaster, as the place smelled like scorched coffee. I didn't hear any music, but I ran into 4 people I knew, so I was busy talking. I liked that the crepes were made right in front of you so I got to watch in between conversations. And they were fast!

This late in the day, I don't drink coffee, or I'll be up all night, but one of the people I know said hers was fantastic. Didn't taste non-fat at all.

One gentleman there ordering mentioned to me the lack of seating. The prep area takes up most of the restaurant. I mentioned that it looked like there'd be outdoor seating - with a nice view of Commercial street.

The drive-through seemed to be doing good business, but all of the parking spaces near the restaurant had a C on them - for compact cars only? I didn't wander around the parking lot to see what else was available and how far away.

I look forward to trying their other options, as well as their coffee earlier in the day.

Anonymous said...

O.K. I think this place will be great when they work the kinks out. We stopped by for desert late in the evening. They were out of hazelnut spread and when we got a french press there where a bunch of grounds in it.
I think that after they get going they will have this stuff worked out. The crepe that we got was really good, but would have been better if they would have had the hazelnut spread.
We will try again in a couple of weeks.

Arika said...

I wandered in here on late Saturday afternoon, without the knowledge that it was opening day! We were driving down South Commercial looking for something casual and out of the normal Salem dining "scene". The atmosphere was warm and inviting. I loved decor. My family has been looking for something like this to just sit and drink tea or eat a little something ever since Tudor Rose closed. My mother and I both ordered "Big D's". The smoked salmon was abundant and delicious! The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the crepe (while great on it's own) was a little too sweet for the filling. I imagine that it would be wonderful with fruit.

Anonymous said...

Thank you we appreciate the spread I would like to personally thank the blogging community for coming in and visiting us. All of the founders are native Oregonians and we are an Oregon based company with plans for expansion and that is why im posting this. We need you. That is why we chose Salem for our Flagship store, in the States Capital. We are not trying to compete with anybody, let Starbucks and McDonalds battle with each other for whos nasty oatmeal and egg mc muffins taste better For any of the other local roasters cheer's as we the coffee community are all about the bean and the goodness it produces, im sure Governors cup isn't worried because from what Ive heard they do a good job. Im sorry if anybody had a bad experience as there are im sure are a few people in our first few days who could of possibly had a bad experience( its the first few days) and I personally tried to accommodate. I assure you your bad experience wasnt intentional and had you let me know I would of washed your car to make you happy and thats the way I roll unless you want to spar then id kick your ass. Unfortunately we cannot change the process in which coffee is roasted and I personally take offense to the word scorched in the same sentence as my coffees so lets spar. The 10 year old redheaded little boy who patiently sat behind the glass while I was roasting is the reason I put the roaster where it is at(if you could have seen his face) you'd understand a little scorched coffee smell or not maybe (the kid haters wouldn't care). And after our first night we realized we needed more ventilation and are working on it. After all we roast on site fresh to you the consumer and are deeply saddened of any un-appreciation of fresh roasted coffee. I realize with food TV and everything else syndicated every armchair (cook-restaraunter) quarterback is a food critic as well as an successful entrepreneur. We are providing employment for Salem residents in the middle of a recession. The members of our company have a passion and a track record for trying to improve the communities in which we have all lived in within our wonderful state. I ask all of you to please give us try. in the pursiut of excellence I have risked everything dear to me to bring you what I feel is the ultimat coffee experience .
I would like my two teenage kids memebers of the National Honor Socity to be able to pursue there dreams and are counting on me their roastin daddy. To give you the best coffee I can give.and as for any shit talking Iron chefs go on our website and get in touch with me I would love to have one of my shoemakers teach you how to tie your shoes. Thanks again and for those about to sip we salute u the roastman

Salem Man said...

Friendly competition, that's what this is all about. FP is raising the bar for local and that is a good thing for customers in Salem. Does anyone remember the little BBQ place that was on that spot before FP was built? Salem's come a long way.

Anonymous said...

we went in yesterday as well!..... unfortunately, my husband and i were both stuffed from a big, homemade sunday lunch... so we didnt get food, which i am desperate to try. i have a fond place in my heart for crepes.... my great-grandma taught me to make them when i was a kid. it's something that makes me think of her.... and of crepe shops in b.c.!

anyway, my husband did order an americano and thought it tasted very fresh. i sipped it and agreed.... we're so excited you guys roast your own and offer french press.... i think you will do well here!

Janet said...

Thanks to FP Owner for pointing out that while everyone's a critic, not everyone is sticking out their necks to open during this challenging economic time AND employ local folks. We too have had UNINTENTIONAL snags in opening our second location and have received very mean spirited and personal attacks for it.
We don't expect anyone to walk away from a bad experience feeling grateful for our efforts - but a simple "hey, can you fix this for me" would be a LOT easier to remedy than a nasty email or post online.
Cheers FRENCH PRESS! We'll be by soon to welcome you to the Salem Dining scene! :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm, not sure if I want to go to French Press after reading the owner's comments here. You might try listening to customers rather than getting defensive. It is tough times right now, and if people are offering suggestions you should gratefully accept them. I commented to the owner of Roxxy's about their problems with service and food and was greeted with defensive insults and meanness. Many people support local places but have to spend their money wisely: a bad attitude might mean the difference between someone choosing your place, or taking their business elsewhere.
Also, try finding someone who can spell and doesn't curse to comment on blogs for you: it makes a much better impression on potential customers!

Anonymous said...

I agree about the owner's post. Threatening to spar with people who don't share his views?

It would have been much better to have read the feedback and not lashed out negatively.

It's too bad, minor problems happen...I wasn't expecting bad attitude online on top of it. Opening day jitters can be overcome, but an online post will be around for a long time.

Anonymous said...

My husband just brought me a lunch crepe from French Press, so excited was I to try them. My berry crepe was good but the fruit topping seemed to have globs of tapioca or cornstarch in it, presumably used as a thickening agent.

A few gaffes he noticed: The owner grumbled about a to-go order, saying he hadn't wanted to offer to-go orders (um, the place has a drive-thru?).

They were out of cup lids (Cash N' Carry? Anyone?) No one provided forks, knives or napkins. The woman at the counter was not helpful in answering questions or providing clarity during the ordering process.

I may visit again after there's been some time for the kinks to be worked out, rather than condemn it from one visit.

However, I have to agree with the previous poster who said the defensive vitriol from the owner above makes me unlikely to spend valuable dining-out dollars at French Press.

KandN said...

Hmmm, I dunno, but I felt like he was trying to have fun with his comment. He just didn't strike me as being a vitriolic type of person.
It's pretty tough to gauge someone's tone in the written word.

Vegan's Nightmare said...

I chatted with the owner for a few minutes the other day and I can tell you this from my first impression -- there's no shortage of passion for his business. He genuinely cares about providing the finest product and the finest customer experience.

To me, the post above reflects that.

And with that, Mr. French Press owner, should I experience a s**rched (no need to offend) cup of coffee upon my first visit, I will indeed take you up on your offer to spar -- and my weapon of choice is a slab of bacon. En guarde!

Anonymous said...

First and foremost we would like to thank everyone that has come in to the shop. We have been overwhelmed by the demand for crepes in the past three days and we are continually working to improve our offering, and steam line our process. At certain points in the rush we were not able to make crepes fast enough to accommodate to go orders, we apologize and are working to change this.

Please do not let Mike's comment above detour anyone from coming in to give us a try. As our roast master he has a great passion for what he does. Opening week has also been quite strenuous on the man, with opening the shop at 6am and working long hours to ensure that there is fresh roasted coffee to last the day, it is hard work. I assure you though, however crude his comments may have come off, they were without a doubt light hearted in nature. We have sparred on many occasion, and believe me, he is a push over :)

In any event, our staff loves to hear suggestions, comments, or any feedback you may have. If something needs to change, let us know, and we will see what we can do. We are all ears.
All the Best,
French Press Crew.

Anonymous said...

Lighten up Francis I will buy you a drink. Sorry for the swearing and missspelng i am public egdeukated and grew up in the back of the house and didnt have any of my smart people around to proof my p;post thanks again to all of you for your support and bring it Vegans Nightmare Ive got the lettuce and the tomatoes ahh ;yeah touche'

Salem Man said...

I think that was the first time anyone has quoted from the movie "Stripes." We'll let you off the hook for the first comment. You guys are doing great. There's a lot of coffee competition in this town and being the new kids on the block you will definitely be on everyone's radar screens. I try not to formulate opinions about restaurants on the opening weeks, there's too many potential problems and unexpected bugs that happen everywhere. That's the facts Jack.

Anonymous said...

If you can make me a chocolate strawberry crepe then I'll be one happy camper. A sweet crepe with MILK CHOCOLATE chunks added while it's still on the griddle thingy so the chocolate gets all melty and then folded up and covered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

come on..... be a pal, be a pal, be a pal!

Rossella said...

My 19 month old son and I dropped in yesterday morning for coffee and a breakfast crepe. I asked if they had high-chairs or booster seats, the really nice lady told me that unfortunately didn't, I asked if they were going to get some, she turned around and asked the owner who was cooking behind the counter and he shook his head no with disregard and total lack of care for the subject. One would think that the owner of a starting business would at least acknowledge that as a possibility for the future. So if you take your kids there know that are probably not be very welcomed.
The breakfast crepe was good, but not much different than the ones I make at home. The dough is on the sweet side, they could use better quality sausages. The coffee was good I thought.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the posts, we appreciate that you all take the time to let us know how you feel. We are now offering strawberry sweet crepes (while supplies last), and we will investigate our sausage to see if we should make a change. Rosella, We apologize we did not have booster seats. Children are very welcome at French Press, and we have ordered booster seats. They should be here by the end of the week. If any readers have any other requests, comments, or complaints, we would love to hear from you.

All the best,
French Press Crew.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't find a Facebook page for French Press. Is that in the works? The coffee is great!

Anonymous said...

Looks like we'll get more crepes in this town soon: I saw a sign in the windows of Napolean's on Court Street downtown - it said they will open April 1! The place is supposed to have crepes and gelato. I heard that they purchased all their ice-cream making equipment from Cafe Gelato, which, sadly, closed last year.

Anonymous said...

Sam I AM- I just saw that sign today too and am very excited. I don't know, the attitude of the owner of French Press just doesn't gel with me so I like that there is going to be another option!

Anonymous said...

I hear a German fast food sausage restaurant is moving in next door to you. Better put in some high speed bumps to keep the Panzers out! Papers please! You are banned from Best Choice Videos!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, cheese eating surrender monkeys! Better put up some tall speed bumps, I am opening a German sausage restaurant next door and my panzers will be over to accept your surrender. And we don't need no stinkin' badges!
Actually, me and the family will be by tonight for some dessert, yummmm!

Rossella said...

I'm glad you ordered the booster seats, however it's the attitude of the person with the red chef coat behind the counter (I suppose he's the owner) that really bugged me on that occasion; I felt like I was back in Europe for a moment, in fact my thought was 'wow, just like in France', we know in America people can give a better customer service than that! but at least hey, it's authentic!

Anonymous said...

i am in love with their lattes. very good coffee. And the blended coffee is a delicious treat! Service can be a bit slow, but it is new and I am sure they will work out the kinks.
I do wish they would have their strawberry crepes everyday!

Dsperin said...

My friend and I finally stopped in Monday of this week, and we were so impressed with the crepes and coffee. I had a latte and fell in love. He had a banana crepe, and I the berry. Delicious!

Yesterday we both had veggie crepes. They were good, although I thought they could use some cream cheese.

Today we ordered 6 crepes total to go, two each for us and 2 for a two other people. I had the chicken club which impressed me. I was hesitant to eat a crepe with meat in it, but I'll do it again and again. I also had another berry crepe and my friend had the veggie and banana again.

At first we were both aware of the owner having an attitude, but today he was very pleasant to us (possibly because we've stuffed ourselves in the past four days on them, and also work next door) and the waitress we had the first time remembered us.

I just hope this place stays in business, as I will be frequenting the place!

Anonymous said...

I'm making my 2nd visit today for lunch w/a dear friend. My 1st visit was yummo (had the BLT). Today I want to try a dessert crepe. I had the dark choc. mocha which was also wonderful. Glad to hear you roast on-site - my hubby will like that and I'll bring him in soon! Good luck - as a born in Salem - want to stay in Salem girl - love all the great changes Salem is making. Would love a French Press near the new Salem Cinema Broadway theater on Broadway! Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Just heard that the French Press team will be opening a family-run made-all-from-scratch French bakery here in Salem! Possibly in the new building there behind French Press. Sounds fantastic, can't wait!

Anonymous said...

so far I have only tried the coffee. It was good, but I think my expectations were a little too high :) I am waiting for an opportunity to head back in for a crepe. I had the most WONDERFUL chicken and mushroom crepe at a little restaurant in Seattle called "Cabaret De Paris" and I have dreamed of it ever since :) Hoping to find a local place that can serve up a crepe that tasty!!

Beth Schalock said...

I think they are AWESOME!!! My son and I were at the Bite of Salem and their food was really great! Thanks guys keep up the great work.

Ann Rogers said...

A bakery! Fresh, homemade, possibly sourdough french bread made from a real mother...NO yeast!! Thats the way it should be! In Salem?! Awesome. Let's hope for the best!

Anonymous said...

We had the breakfast crepes and then couldn't resist a dessert crepe to go with our coffee. Can't say enough about how great the meal was and how pleasant the servers were. As to the comment regarding the cook in the red jacket. How hard do you think it is to work out kinks and keep up with a boom of customers and keep your attitude up? Be a little empathetic and supportive. Remember they are employing people who might otherwise not have the opportunity to work in today's adverse conditions. Support our local businesses!!

Anonymous said...

A beautiful building, very attractive, lovely interior, friendly people behind the counter. Coffee very strong and good.
However, we ordered lunch, and had to wait for a table. Two women behind us in line, snagged a table before us. Rather rude, but "oh well."
Waiting, for a table, I noticed a young lady "bussing" a table (like an employee would do), but she then set down, opened up her laptop, and picked up her coffee mug. I asked her if she was leaving, she said "no" - a minute later the manager walked over and asked her if she could give up the table and go outside. It was a beautiful day.
I could not believe what just happened!
The manager said, "we like our employees to feel comfortable here, enjoying the place just as our patrons do."
Do I understand this?
You open a restaurant so the public will come, enjoy the food and service, hopefully have a place to sit and eat, feel welcome, and want to return, and perhaps tell their friends what a nice experience it was. BUT, the public person doesn't have a place to sit and eat because the EMPLOYEE (who perhaps is drinking free coffee), and sitting at a table with laptop, etc. is enjoying herself. Did I feel welcome? No. Did I feel like my business was appreciated? No. Will I want to return? No.
What has happened to service and taking care of customers first? At the French Press, I think they have it all confused with taking care of employees at the expense of the customer.
If the place wasn't packed, and it was 12 noon, it might have been more accepted. But, people were coming in looking for a place to sit, wanting to order, and it was the lunch hour.
Really a disappointing experience.
As a customer, I felt like I was an inconvience! I wonder if the Owner is aware of the policy I witnessed? Do they even care?

Anonymous said...

The guy running the bakery is mean.

Anonymous said...

Our first visit to French Press was during the first couple weeks they were open. The owner was making the crepes. He asked my daughter (9) if she liked crepes and she said she did. We then found a table, went up to order our crepes and before we even got there to do that the owner came over to the table with a crepe folded and covered with maple syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar. My daughters eyes lit up! He gave it to her. He asked if she liked crepes that way and she responded with a wide eyed yes nod. It was free of charge! He did it because he was being nice and he could, since he owned the place. First impressions are so important. He did impress us as did the yummy crepes and coffee! I LOVE the Jay Brulee and OMG I just tried one with coconut and chocolate a couple weeks ago. That one was to die for!!

I've also been back several times with my good friend since we meet once a week for breakfast. We have always received great food, good service and yummy coffee and house hot chocolate!

Thanks French Press! You are doing a great job!

Anonymous said...

I love your restaurant I just wish we had one were we live. love it! love it! One thing you need more tables to set on not bar chairs are to high for older people. Thanks for the good food!

Anonymous said...

Stopped by today for the 1st time. I liked my late very much. It was warm and inviting inside, the dark colored wood and fireplace add to the look. I like the set up and you can watch the crepes being prepared as you wait. The desserts in the case looked wonderful. I saw some people eating crepes, they looked very appetizing. I will have to return for some in the future.