~Review by Chuck Bradley
Tucked away in the historic Mission Mill Museum this cozy nook is a lunch-only place with lots of charm. A mix of oak captain’s chairs surround spaciously spaced tables. An antique side board and rustic scale (which had utility, no doubt, when the place was a working woolen mill) coupled with the rustic wood floors give it an “out of the past” feeling.
My mood and appetite must be a fit when I come here. A light, high quality and comparatively expensive meal must be the order of the day.
Today, I had their “Dubliner” Sandwich which is excellent Corned Beef, fried Red Onions and Melted Swiss Cheese on Rye Bread with a side of Sour Cream-Horseradish Sauce. As I knew it would be, it was small but wonderful. It came with a Green Salad (Prepackaged, I think, but fresh and good) with their house Honey Mustard dressing. This dressing is unique in my experience. It’s richly delicious and awash with whole mustard seeds. The presentation was pleasing to the eye with large purple grapes and cherry tomatoes bracketing the greens. I also ordered a cup of Vegetable-Beef Soup. This was obviously custom crafted on-premises. It contained Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peas, Carrots, Cabbage and generous chunks of Beef. Just like Mother used to make!
Although I think of it primarily as a soup and sandwich place, they do have daily specials. Today’s were; Lasagna with Garlic Bread and Roast Beef, Potatoes and Gravy. Also fresh made Quiche dishes are available.
My server, Melanie, did an excellent job and fielded my numerous questions graciously. She explained that the owner, Sandy Flicker, has satisfied a lifelong dream of being a restaurateur after a forty year career as a lobbyist at the Capitol.
The meal came to $11.00 before the gratuity and was perfect for a not-real-hungry guy. This is pretty much the limit of my lunch budget, but sometimes the extra quality of the food and the skill of the chef are worth a little extra.
While you’re here, look around the Mission Mill Museum and surrounding grounds. It will be time well spent. There’s a wealth of Salem History here about the Native American people and the earliest non-indigenous settlers. The original Jason Lee House, The John Boon House and The Pleasant Grove Church are all on the grounds. They also have tours, educational activities and lecture series. Check with them, or go online for schedules.
Mission Mill Café
1313 Mill ST SE
Salem, OR 97301
Web site: www.missionmillcafe.com