Thompson Brewery and Public House

After running some errands, my mom, gram and I decided on some dinner. I recommended Thompson's because of their great happy hour, but I was tentative. Thompson's has had the reputation for having very slow service for as long as I can remember. We usually only eat there when we want to eat outside, not minding the slow service as much when we can enjoy the nice weather. But, this is Oregon and it was raining so inside was our only option. We decided to give it a whirl and boy were we surprised!

Upon arriving, we were immediately greeted by a friendly server. He showed us upstairs, to one of the tiny rooms with just one table. As we sat, we immediately began joking that we would never see a server again. Almost immediately, the gentleman who sat us was back to take our drink order. He chatted and joked with us as he gave us some recommendations. A couple of cocktails were ordered (the Hemingway Revised and the Signature Coffee Nudge) and a water for the designated driver. The server returned promptly with our beverages and took our food order.

At my recommendation, my gram order the Hammerhead Garden Burger off of the happy hour menu with a cup of the tomato soup, which she could not stop raving about. My mom ordered her usual McMenamin standby, the gyro with a cup of the mushroom barley soup. I, being a huge mushroom lover, ordered a bowl of the mushroom barley soup and an order of the happy hour tater tots for us all to share.That mushroom barley soup was so delicious, thick and hearty, full of flavor. I begged the server to tell me the day they regularly serve it, but he just smiled and said there was no regular soup schedule, that they mixed it up. I guess I should put their number in speed dial so I can start calling daily about that soup!

We were so pleasantly surprised by this experience at Thompson's. I hope this is a permanent adjustment to their service. We enjoyed the food (which we usually do) and had a wonderful waiter who was attentive and funny. I'm looking forward to spending some evenings, hanging out at Thompson's, enjoying the company, the food and the service!

Thompson Brewery and Public House
3575 Liberty Rd. S
Salem, OR 97302

Monday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Tuesday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–12 midnight
Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.–1 a.m.
Sunday, 12 noon–10 p.m.


Chuck Bradley said...

Great review Amber! thanks to you, I am putting Thompson's back on my list of "Try it agains".

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, I have been there twice in the past 3 months and have waited FOREVER for service. My boyfriend works at another McMenamin's (not Boon's) and is absolutely appalled by Thompson House. Every time we go, he makes a list of things they aren't doing by corporate standards. We have decided not to go back. Now, Boon's on the other hand - great atmosphere and service!

Amber said...


That has always been my experience to, until this time. I really hope that it's an overall change for the entire restaurant and not just one exceptional server who really cares about his job. Time will tell. I'll be interested to hear other people's recent experiences.

Anonymous said...

Thompson's has historically really really bad service. We stopped going there when we had kids because you simply cannot sit for 90 mins for food with toddlers.

That said, we've been there twice in the last three months and the service was really good. The food was prompt as well.

The food is decent pub fare. Not great, but decent.

The beer is very good.

The atmosphere is excellent. Love sitting outside or in the bar (sans kids).

I wish building code/ADA would allow people to convert more cool old buildings to public house/restaurants! Alas, those days are gone.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Thompson's you've lost our business.
Let me clarify why .. it's been about a year since we've visited the place .. always enjoyed the outdoor seating and great beer but that's it.
Today we decided to give them another try (after reading above that maybe their service was getting better).
Upon entering, three different staff greeted us (nice start). After selecting a couple pints of brew, we walked outside to have a seat .. a very friendly and attractive female server took our order .. and I only comment on that because it seems common place for Thompson's to hire tattoo laden or rather large servers that don't wear appropriate clothing.
Onward, we order a gyro and salad; the gyro is something we look forward too as not many places serve it and we've had it many times here before .. grilled lamb in a pita with taziki (sp?), cucumber, red onion .. if you've had a good gyro, you know what I'm talking about .. yum.
25 minutes later .. not kidding! ..and the place was dead (like 5 cars in the lot), we asked where our food was. Very apologetic, our server says there is only one cook working and it should be up any moment. Interestingly enough, we watched as another table that ordered AFTER us, get served their food first. (I'm pretty certain they had complained also as another server .. who happened to be the manager was all apologetic to them). Now what is interesting is that when we entered, my hubby recalls the manager telling a server to go home since it was so slow. How about going and telling him to help the COOK!
So 35 minutes later, we get our food and that sunk the ship. The gyro meat was so bland... it looked and tasted like someone had taken ground beef; made a patty and grilled it. Absolutely no seasoning at all.
Of course, we told the server who is again, all apologetic and would tell the manager. She was clearly uncomfortable that we were not happy.
Upon getting our tab, we had hoped that something would've been adjusted ... $10.95 for an awful meal. Nope.
So my hubby decides to talk to the manager (she was the other server)... he explained how absolutely flavorless the 'lamb' was and that we've had it many times, etc .. being very courteous.
Her response was dumbfounding .."Really? We get so many compliments on the gyro .. one of our biggest sellers. We marinate the lamb ourselves, maybe the marinade was too weak."
And that was that .. she did offer to get us something else (yeah right and sit another 1/2 hour waiting!?)
Wake up .. if you want to keep a customer coming back, you make sure they leave HAPPY!!
Comping the meal or giving a free brew would have been nice.

sorry for the long rant but hopefully this manager gets with it.