Last Days at Broken Bread

Broken Bread is now closed.
Here's a copy and paste from the Broken Bread Facebook 
(update June 27th, 2013)

"It's our last 3 nights so come on in and have an awesome dinner prepared by Adam and served to you by the friendliest staff in Salem!

 We are going to be running some very good drink specials the next 3 nights on our remaining inventory of wine, beer on tap, bottled beer, ciders and other refreshing beverages.

 I'm thinking $5 Red Wine, $4 White Wine, $3 Pints and $2 Non-Alchoholic drink specials WHEN purchased with an entree."


Here's a copy and paste from the Broken Bread Facebook 
(update May 29th, 2013)

The latest news as of June 18, 2013: Broken Bread will close June 29.

Change of Hours, again.

 Starting next week, Broken Bread will be closing dinner service on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. We will remain open Thursday and Friday nights, from 5-9pm, and Saturday, from 2-9pm, while the business is for sale

New Hours

Effective April 9, 2013 we will be open for dinner Tuesday – Friday 5-9 and all day dining on Saturday, 2-9.

We will no longer be open for lunch Tuesday – Friday.

This is a difficult decision and one that we haven’t taken lightly as it has a big impact on our staff and our vendors.

The simple truth is that we have not had enough consistent business to allow us to keep serving lunch.

Two years ago when Adam and I started the process of opening Broken Bread we did so knowing it would be an uphill battle to get Salem to embrace a new way of dining. But we both have a passion for what we do. And as most of our vendors who have this same passion can tell you it often impacts your decisions.

It would be easy for us to embrace the model that many restaurants use. Pick one large food distributor, sit at a desk and thumb through a catalog, have everything loaded off the back of a truck, packed into freezers waiting to be warmed up and served. This model certainly offers huge cost savings, but it is not what our mission is at Broken Bread.

Fine Dining in a relaxed atmosphere, Broken Bread brings the Farm-To-Table dining experience to Salem, we are, Fresh | Changing | Responsible

It’s not that I have anything against the person driving the Sysco truck, it’s just not the person I want to see coming through our back door.

I want to see Sloan dropping off produce that was just picked from the ground. It’s obvious when I see her that see works the earth and she wears that as a badge of honor. I want to see Eric dropping of lamb, after he’s already worked a full day of his 9-5 job. I want to see Paul delivering fresh mushrooms and I love it that hangs out in the kitchen and talks to Adam about nothing in particular. I want to see Stephen delivering our daily bread, in a hurry because he just left the bakery and needs to get back to doing what he has a passion for. I want to see Craig bringing us new wines to sample, a man who cares so much about our success that he comes in and teaches our staff about wines so we can make the customer experience even better. I want to see a staff that enjoys what they are doing so much they are willing to make sacrifices so we can keep doing what we love.

But most of all I want to see customers in the dining room enjoying a meal and sharing good conversation with friends and leaving with a smile on their face.

So if you share the desire for these same things please come join us for a meal and help us to keep doing the things we have a passion for.

Lunch will still be served today and Friday. If Broken Bread has turned into your favorite lunch spot please join us.



Anonymous said...

We ate at their West Salem location once. It was great. Service was top notch. We were able to make the dinner vegetarian, but it wasn't easy. I'd like to see more veg friendly offerings - especially when the summer approaches.

Last, don't make the mistake of blaming the town. I may be wrong, but it sounded like you were heading towards that direction. It's bad form and a cop out. Again, excuse me if I'm wrong on this matter.

I wish you much success.

lavachickie said...

The truth is good, and I respect you for sharing that in your letter. But... you are a business. Marketing is vital. You've told the world so much about YOU in this missive. But you don't gain many customers that way; you certainly will pick up a few who strongly feel the resonance of your ideals. But you need everyone, not just the die hards just like you.

So start talking about how you can enrich the lives of your customers; not how they can enrich yours.

I wish you luck.

Anonymous said...

Bravo lavachickie! Don't get me wrong. I like Broken Bread. But that letter came across as condescending. And if I read one more restaurateur babble about their "passion", I think I'm gonna throw up.

Anonymous said...

For anyone here that's attempted to or actually opened a restaurant or even a food truck in Salem...The issue IS the town. Regulations alone have put several out of business very quickly. Also, offering fresh, farm to table food is not cheap. It's a's not elitist. I don't think most Cherry City folks get that, which is just sad. They certainly do embrace this lifestyle in California. I hope people wake up before we don't have any quality restaurants here in Salem

Anonymous said...

Anon,Your point is well taken about Salem (government) being the most obstructive and least business friendly imaginable. Hindrance is the rule. Help is the exception. Your apparent rebuttal re: "farm to table" would seem to be to a unstated position. Not sure I get that. Please do not hold up California as a shining exemplar for anything. That state has screwed up just about everything it's touched for decades!

Anonymous said...

True, unfortunately, Salem's demographics aren't the best for this type of cuisine. I just don't think people here appreciate the farm to table idea.

KandN said...

I disagree. That's a cop out. Though Salem is small enough that a restaurant cannot simply say, "this is what our menu is". The restaurant needs to ask, "what would you like to see on our menu". Then listen AND watch as the plates come back from the tables. Both @kidcapitale and Venti's have done an excellent job of this.

Anonymous said...

Well stated, lavachickie, you're absolutely right. I have eaten there, and enjoyed it, but this letter really made me feel like we're a bunch of backwards people they're having trouble "converting" into conscientious eaters. I am not here to "serve" their passions, they exist to impassion me with their inspired cuisine.

Anonymous said...

And I just read the blog that they're up for sale, so I guess this discussion is moot.

Anonymous said...

Unless you apply it to every applicable restaurant situation.

Anonymous said...

Bad location. This restaurant would have been more successful in west Salem (not edge water where they were before) or south Salem. Downtown is a dead zone evenings and Sundays.

The only thing that could do well in that location is coffee and lunch.

Mark my words that someone else will try and fail in that location.

That said the two times we ate three the food was decent but not great. The ambiance was average as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm shaking my head and wondering when you last spent time downtown in the evening. It's more of a hopping place than I can remember from over 10 years ago. But if you mean that particular area can be quieter than the rest of town, I would agree.
Food for thought: remember when everyone thought Gamberetti's was nuts for going into such a bad location?

Amber said...

Anon, I've got to disagree with you. The Arbor was extremely successful in that location for years and years. I think they really had the magic combo with counter lunches and "fancier" dinners. They made a killing at lunch with the business crowds, with lines out the door. And even if you weren't eating dinner, their desserts were the best in town and drew people in. RIP Arbor.

Anonymous said...

Amber and other commenter:

With all due respect, do you know how well the Arbor did there?

I think they did well, but only for coffee/scones in the am, and they built a nice lunch business.

Ask all the restaurants downtown how well they do for dinner on a regular basis. Sure Fridays and events they do well, but outside of that they all struggle. Every single one. I'm close with all the restaurantuers. Quite a few of the popular ones are barely making it.

That's an awful location for evening business. Ask around.

I'm downtown everyday. Downtown will never take off until there is much larger volume of housing in/near downtown.

Anonymous said...

Gambrettis is doing half the business they'd be doing in a better location.

And I think their food is average.

Anonymous said...

Are you a Salemite? Just curious, you sound like a commuting PDXer.
Which restaurants out of the downtown area are not barely making it? Minus national chains and fast food.
-Salemite Sam

Anonymous said...

Evening business for restaurants in the downtown core. Hmm. The question is, which ones are not struggling. Venti's does very well, but they are more of a quasi bar/restaurant. There have to be others. I just am drawing a blank. Divinci's probably does well, supported by the theater and Willamette. There are a couple of bars that do pretty well, but not consistently.

There are two high profile restaurants that I know of personally that are about to close or radically re-configure. I bet they will surprise most people. There are at least three that I know that are literally breaking even. Two of those only stay open because they have long term lease obligations. One of them the owner is independently wealthy and doesn't need a paycheck so it's more of a break even hobby.

Downtown is a fine environment for coffee shops, lunch business, and bars. That's pretty much it.

I have lived in Salem for 25 years, worked downtown the entire time. I think you'd be surprised if you saw the finances of a lot of these places.

I've always wanted to open a restaurant in downtown Salem, so I've always been interested in how places do. One thing is certain is that evenings ARE better than they were 15 years ago. But that's not saying much.

But back to the topic of Broken Bread, that is just a very difficult location to make evening business work. Very little downtown housing. You have a out of sightline storefront, you are a long way away from the population base(s) that will support you. It was a very generic interior, with generic lighting and decor.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, guess I wasn't clear enough--
"Which restaurants out of the downtown area are not barely making it? Minus national chains and fast food"
You mention that restaurants would do better in the south and west of Salem.
Salemite Sam

Anonymous said...

I was purposely not clear. Not good form to share information that you know from friends. Wouldnt be fair.

Very few do well in the evenings, especially mid week and Sundays. Just a very small handful.

-25 year Salemite

Anonymous said...

If Broken Bread was in a visible location near a population base, I think they would have done a very good dinner business.


Look at La Hacienda in West Salem. Very average american mexican food. Very busy in the evening. You put that where Broken Bread was downtown and they'd serve 8-9 tables on a Tuesday night.

Amber said...

Actually, Anon, I do. I used to work there during dinner service and it wasn't often that I didn't have a full section. :-) If I remember correctly (which is a stretch for sure), the owners retired on a high note. Of course, they were one of the few nicer dinner options in town at the time. We do have a lot more options now which means restaurants have to work a little harder to earn customer loyalty.

In my humble opinion, lunch is crucial for a downtown restaurant. Unfortunately, lunchtime business has been effected by several government agencies moving out of downtown.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you've leaked/eeked too much already? Cannot speak for all, but I can make guesses about which businesses you're referring to.