Mashita Teriyaki in Stayton, OR

My husband and I get around. No, not that way, I mean geographically! Weekends are often spent just road tripping through areas we've not explored before. About 2 years ago we found ourselves in Stayton, and in search of some lunch.

Yeah, we were kinda scared, too.

We didn't have much hope, but amidst a few chains and local watering holes, we found a local teriyaki joint: Mashita Teriyaki. (No hatin' meant to Stayton; it's just a small town without the population and diversity to support a thriving local dining scene... just like thousands of other towns like it.)

We've gone a handful of times in the past few years; we even have road tripped there specifically for their grub when a craving arose for some pavement and some lunch. The locale is quirky -- it used to be a petrol/service station.

Stepping inside there's a reasonably cute and clean place with a bright order counter, menu board and a view into the kitchen where you can watch as veggies are chopped and stored for the day's use.

There are a lot of rough edges, such as a derelict stop and shop fridge unit along the back wall, and a bathroom that was clearly cobbled together from leftover pieces and parts. But you gotta appreciate a "do it yourself" aesthetic sometimes.

What kept us going back to Mashita was the mounds of great food for cheap. Rice, teriyaki chicken, vegetables, gyoza, all the usual goodies you'd expect. We'd tried some of their variations, and always found heaps of yummy food, served with a smile by staff that are efficient and pleasant (but not exactly friendly, a bit stand offish).

I admit, though, at this last visit that things had taken a turn. What was cute and quirky is showing its age through wear and tear. Things were clean enough, but more attention needs to be paid to upkeep (there's a broken window, for instance). The serving sizes were a bit smaller, but still a good value. But the teriyaki chicken I had was tough and over-marinated. Scot's hot and spicy tofu was pretty good, but the chicken was really disappointing -- especially considering before it had always been plump, flavorful and fresh.

They continue to do a brisk business so they're doing something right. If we are through that way we'll drop by again.

My favorite area teriyaki remains Toki Teriyaki in Albany. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuum. More on that, later!


KandN said...

I didn't even know this place existed! Thanks for the fun review! :>)

Anonymous said...

Somebody obviously knows nothing about Stayton. Shockingly, we actually have several diverse restaurants out here. I've eaten at just about every Mexican restaurant in Salem and our favorite hands down is still Ixtapa out here. We also have several Chinese restaurants and locally owned pizza parlors as well as The Lovin' Oven (which rumor has it bakes the cakes for a popular restaurant in Salem).

Anonymous said...

There is also a Mashita's in Tualatin. I would assume the same owners? Great food!!!!

jeff said...

I think I did a list of around 25 places to eat or buy ready-to-eat food here in the Stayton/Sublimity (maybe with Aumsville added in) area once.

We've actually got a pretty good selection, at least at lunch.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I love Mashita! Ever since we bought a piece of investment property in Stayton we've been eating a lot of meals there, and one delicious entree from Mashita serves as both lunch and dinner. But this is not why we love Mashita, it is when you take a step back and imagine capturing it through a camera lens.

The fact of the matter is that Mashita is not just a place for lunch, it is a surreal meal experience. The kind you would expect to see in a John Water's film, playing the part of the quirky small-town fixture: Yes, it is in a converted service station and there are some interesting design elements in how it was converted to a restaurant. I've talked to the owner about this, and a lot of the work was done by her husband and they lease the place so they didn't want to put a lot of money into making it a restaurant. Especially since it seems the majority of their business is take-out.

The owner is a devout Christian and they always play the same Christian music on a constant loop. The stereo sits centrally in a sort of Eurasian altar with Christian images and Hummel figurines. This is tucked on a side wall next to the counter, but the decor is an otherwise good attempt at Japanese modern pop style: bright colors and geometric shapes.

The owner is very friendly and when she isn't helping customers, she is singing along with her Christian music! (The agnostic in me loves this for some reason I have yet to identify.) In the front corner there is an old coin operated-style Atari countertop console. I've only seen it plugged in once, and I'm not actually sure if it even works. The view looks out onto one of the busiest intersections in Stayton, 1st and Washington. It is a cobbled melange of markets and strip-malls and Hispanic shops and and tanning salons and a pet store that will advertise jumping beans and a giant crepe-paper doughnut.

If I wanted to make a Willamette Valley centric version of "Coffee and Cigarettes" this is a venue I would use as a backdrop. Think Voodoo Doughnuts on NE Davis in PDX, but not so Portlandee. Mashita isn't trying to be off-beat, it is just a happy accident.

So surreal, so small-town, such an experience!

Chuck Bradley said...

My second visit for lunch was today. I had Teriyaki Chicken with Yakisoba Noodles. (I had their Spicy Chicken lunch last time.) I’ve been completely dazzled both times. The food runs a close second to Love Love on Liberty ST SE in Salem. Their lunch specials are $5.99 including a refillable soft drink, so they’ve scooped Love Love on their prices. I think their regular priced lunches top out at $6.75, drink included. If you love good Teriyaki, it’s worth the drive from Salem to try this place!

Les said...

Had lunch there, on Tuesday.. Went for the Chicken Yakisoba for $6.50.. Veges were crisp and chicken was nice and tender.. Noodles had a lot of good flavor.. Will be sure to go back.. I got my order "to go", so was only in there for 5 or 10 minutes, but only about 4 or 5 others eating.. So kind of slow for a lunch time..

Les said...

Stopped in for another lunch, to go, last Friday.. This time tried the Beef Rib Eye for $7.95. Served over Steamed Rice, this dish had good flavor and the meat was very tender and tasty.. They were a little busier, on this visit, than the last one..

Anonymous said...

I Love this place!! I would rather eat here than anywhere even anywhere in Salem.Best food in the world!!

Anonymous said...

RE: "Somebody knows nothing about Stayton." My, aren't we touchy. Chinese + Mexican + pizza is a pretty low standard for "diverse."