Tater's Cafe

~by KandN


The Tater's Cafe in Salem is now closed. :>(

Jonathon happily volunteered to go with me to check out one of the newer dining additions downtown, Tater's Cafe, across Chemekata from the SJ building. I was glad I had double checked the address before heading downtown, having assumed Tater's was closer to Liberty, and since it shares a building with other businesses the cafe is easy to miss.

We were greeted and invited to sit wherever we wanted as soon as we walked in the door. Overall the clean cafe has a cozy, small town feeling with tables, booths and a bar to perch at where you can watch the street while you eat. The two of us picked a booth.
We looked over the menu, even though I had pretty much decided to order the "Western Melt with potato salad", featured on the specials board outside. Right away Jonathon's discerning eye noticed, "Beth's Baconless Burger". A sausage patty replaces the standard slices of bacon. As piqued as his interest was, he chose a bacon cheeseburger instead.

I was surprised at how quickly our orders arrived. The workers downtown must appreciate this service on their lunch hours. My Western Melt was full of thin sliced, tender roast beef, plus thick sliced crispy bacon and slices of tomato. The exterior of the bread was well buttered and toasted so that it offered a nice crunch as I bit into it. Delicious! Their potato salad was obviously made in house. I could taste the well balanced medley of potato, egg, pickle, mustard and mayo. Not at all reminiscent of that stuff scooped out of the plastic tub. I appreciated the attentiveness of our servers and look forward to trying Tater's for breakfast.
Here's Jonathon!~
There are few days in my life in which a cheeseburger and fries don't sound great. I'll even admit that I occasionally succumb to the draw of neon just off of the freeway during my frequent trips up and down I-5. Today was no different when K once again twisted my arm (Ha!) to try Tater's new location. For those of us who sheepishly admit to enjoying a fast-food burger from time to time, my bacon cheeseburger was a satisfying and familiar experience. I know that I'm not supposed to like American cheese (which is true in any other situation) and the clearly under-seasoned and previously frozen patty needed a lot of help from the bacon (which makes everything better), but the burger as a whole was a classic American diner experience that I would definitely try again.At the risk of sounding like a broken record on Eat Salem, I was pretty disappointed by the fries. They were definitely of the frozen and bagged variety and were totally unseasoned. Unfortunately, there was more than one bite of soggy, raw potato. Was I wrong to expect more from a place called Tater's? Maybe, like the guys at Portland Hamburgers do with burgers up north, I should begin a quest for the best fries in Salem (and beyond). So far, the best I've had in town were the frites at La Capitale. Crispy yet tender, salty with sweet sauces, it's one of the world's perfect foods! Anyone have ideas for the best fries in Salem?

Tater's Cafe
635 Chemeketa St. NE
7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday
(503) 588-4324.

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