Cafe 22 West

It felt like N and I had taken a magical step into the past. Not because of the old metal advertising signs displayed on the inside and outside of Cafe 22's rustic building, but because of the overall feeling of a small town community. Customers were greeting each other and stopping at tables to catch up on the latest before they took their full bellies home. The regulars were noticeable as they were warmly greeted upon entering. More than one table was visited by Clyde, the cook (and owner?). One of the regulars did a mock bow at Clyde's feet in appreciation of the coconut cream pie (a recipe handed down from Clyde's mother).
We were greeted as we entered the small dining area. They have an additional dining area down a hall, and we were told to sit wherever we wanted. We took a table for two near the entrance to the kitchen and away from the rush of cold air whenever a patron opened the front door. We ordered iced tea to sip as we looked over the menu and watched the plates of food go by to get an idea of what to expect. The portions looked large and the deep fried entrées looked popular. Picture truck-stop style: large oval plates, piled high with tots and fries beside the main course.

Alongside Cafe 22's main sign along Highway 22, is a smaller addition with, "Barbecue" was advertised. Which meant N would find it his duty to investigate this claim. Ordering took a little while, but it was our fault for missing "the sweet spot" with our waitress. Two times she stopped by and we still weren't ready. And then the dining room became a bit busier. I ordered "The Flat Iron Chicken--Chicken Quarter, seasoned and served with green beans and choice of baked potato or baby red potatoes", with the baby reds. A small dinner salad was included for $12.50. N ordered, "Baby Back Ribs--Baby back ribs dry rubbed with our own blend of seasoning, slow roasted, then flame broiled and basted with sweet onion sauce. Served with potato salad and baked beans." His meal also came with a small dinner salad for a total of $15.95.

Except for two minor details, I enjoyed my dinner. I was hoping for steamed or roasted baby red potatoes, maybe tossed in olive oil and herbs. The upside is that they were good pan-fried, just not what I had my tastebuds ready for. The second was finding that the drumstick bone was broken in my chicken quarter as I took my last few bites. It must have been a fairly fresh break, as my meat didn't have that tell-tale off flavor. Like I said, minor--my dinner was not ruined. N realized from the menu's description that these barbecue ribs weren't going to be smoked. But they were flavorful and nearly fall-off-the-bone tender with a nice crust on top.

After all the oooing and ahing about the coconut cream pie from the customers around us, we decided to share a slice. Seemed funny to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a cream pie, but who cares. The light, fluffy pie AND the light crust was delicious!

Next time, I'd like to give one of their burgers a go. Maybe I can talk them into trading the tots/fries for a slice of pie. :)

Open everyday from 7:30am to 3:00pm
*Now Serving Dinner on Friday,Saturday & Sunday nights 4:00pm to 8:00pm
5172 Salem-Dallas hwy
Salem, Oregon 97304
(503) 363-4643

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