Clockworks Cafe & Cultural Center C4 Opening Night

Last day for Clockworks Cafe, December 21, 2012
Tonight was opening night at the Clockworks Cafe & Cultural Center at 241 Commercial Street NE, between Chemeketa & Court). General Manager Melanie Mahoney and Programming Directors Carlee Wright and Ryan Rogers have done a marvelous job of transforming this space into an eclectic and hip gathering spot for those who want to invest in Salem's cultural revitalization.

The crowd was mingling and yet a table was easy to find. The line to order Stumptown coffee drinks and various pastries was about 10 people deep, but moved along briskly. As I was in line, they added a small white dry-erase board behind the register, offering a small selection of soups and sandwiches. I opted for the Honest Ade Pomegranate Blue, a cup of the tomato-basil, and the grilled ham-n-cheese. The whole affair set me back a whopping $8. Service staff were a little green, but very friendly and accommodating as they took my order.

I was given a number to place on my table, and enjoyed some people watching and snapped a few pictures of the various parts of the spacious room while waiting for my food.

The soup came first, and was a bigger portion than I'd expected for just a cup. It was tangy and spicy and had enough body to handle both well. Small flecks of basil could be seen in each spoonful, along with just enough tomato pieces to make the texture interesting. On the side were some grilled and seasoned wedges of what seemed to be some sort of seed-grain flatbread which complemented the soup well. The waitress apologized for not knowing which store the soup came from and told me "We tried so many to find the one we liked best"

My sandwich came next, just a few minutes after the soup. At the counter I'd asked where they get their breads, and was told they used whole-grain breads from Marsee's deli in Portland. It had been grilled on a panini maker, helping the thin-sliced deli-style ham mingle well with the mild havarti.

I munched and continued people-watching as a couple local artists entertained the crowd.

I look forward to coming back to sample some of the Stumptown coffee sometime soon!


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to go! Your photos make this place look awesome! Thank you!

Salem Man said...

Cool! This place looks like a fun comfortable hangout. Much needed in this city. Nice review.

Anonymous said...

Its just another generic coffee shop with little to offer Salem. For a place that is supposed to be artistic and open late it falls short on both marks.

Beka said...

Stopped by Clockworks for the first time yesterday. I was happy to see that the place was 3/4s full in the afterwork hours. I don't know about their late night hours, but I do know they have great (Stumptown) coffee and a nice atmosphere, plus lots of plugs for computers! Yay! I hope they do well and stay open later as they grow.

Anonymous said...

Thank God theres a coffee shop that doesn't close at 8pm for crying out loud. Salem has no night life because too many businesses think the late night crowd wont support it. Clockworks has shown us differently! If you agree, then go to clockworks late! Then tell them you want some entertainment! I bet they'll listen!

Anonymous said...

We have been having our monthly meetings for the Salem Rental Housing Assoc. at the prior business that was located here. Do you still have rooms for rent and if so could you contact me at

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I previously offered my QuickBooks classes at your location in the past and I am interested in continuing to do so. Do you still have the computer media equipment in the rooms available to rent?

Would you contact me at info@rentalaccounting

Clockworks Cafe said...

We are giving things a few weeks of just running before we get our programming schedule up and running (both with music, other performances, and other events)...just making sure our staff feels comfortable.

We will also be expanding our hours a bit down the road. We are currently open 8am to 10pm. We will be open later fairly soon.

Please send inquiries to:

Chuck Bradley said...

Since I had the same sandwich the original reviewer so ably described, there's little to add except, I very much liked it too. I must take exception to the “Just another generic coffee shop” comment. (I should here confess, I am not an imbiber of this, or any other coffee shop’s, raison deter. It all tastes like wet dirt to me!) I think this place has loads of character. It’s reminiscent of the “Beat” espresso houses in the late 50’s and early 60’s. I was fascinated by, no less than 14, mechanical clocks on the walls, only one of which showed the correct time. I just knew there had to be a story here. When I asked Melanie, the counter person (and GM mentioned in the review), she said “I guess it’s because nobody takes the time to wind them.” She then laughed and said. “Maybe I should make up and elaborate story.” I told her I would! The patrons were and interesting cross section of humanity, many of whom where taking advantage of the WiFi hook-up. I had a solitary good time among interesting people. (BTW, the ham was real. I checked.)

Anonymous said...

Two questions:

1. Does Clockworks serve beer? We stopped by on a Weds night and it sure looked like fun - good crowd and some very good acoustic (amplified) music. There was a line at the counter and I saw no evidence of beer so we went for a drink somewhere else. I don't get many nights out on the town, and when I do I want a beer.

2. Have they improved the coffee? I went quite a bit when they first opened and while they clearly have good coffee beans, the actual drinks were very average. I have high expectations for Stumptown considering you can get great ST in Portland.

I would really like to like this place. I do remember they had good bkfst burritos.

KayBee1970 said...

I do not believe they serve any alcohol. I cannot comment on the coffee because I always get a mocha, which I think is pretty good. I think it can still depend on who is making the drink, though.

As for breakfast burritos, they recently got rid of those because apparently the staff were eating more of them than anyone. They now have Umpqua oatmeal, lots of interesting flavors.

Joyce said...

Wonderful Photo's. My Boyfriend and I went their for the first time the other day. We just got some sparkling water becuase of the weather was in the high 90's that day. I love how they have not just tables, but couches and chairs, and a place near the back to play games. And they have a lot of games to choose from.