This year, Salem's restaurant and beverage establishments have matched the ebb and flow of the past. While some owners have retired and others made the difficult decision to fold, we can all look forward to the new exciting ventures scheduled to open in the next few months. Speaking for the EatSalem community, we admire, respect and support all of the small business owners. It takes guts to make a dream a reality--putting your creation out there for all to enjoy and criticize. (Lifts glass) Cheers to all of you! And may you continue to follow your hearts and dreams in the future.
As the year is coming to a close, we would like to take this time to give condolences and thanks to the places we have loved and lost. And we would also like to welcome the new with open arms.
Perhaps some of the most notable changes that came to Salem in 2013 were in the form of food trucks. From their ability to provide good eats at the various taphouses and breweries around town, the possible changes to the city ordinances in the coming year and the collaboration that, in part, resulted from the possible ordinance changes; it's been a big year for Salem's Food Trucks.
This past spring, Salem lost its #1 connoisseur of local food, Chuck Bradley. Chuck was well known throughout our community for his reviews and his love of the local food scene. Rest in peace, Chuck.
We also lost some very special establishments that served delicious food and were great supporters of our community. Here are what some of our reviewers had to say about their favorite places closing or taking a long hiatus.
Casey's Hotdogs, Caruso's, Peach Tree Grill, Church St. Pizza, Broken Bread, Papa di Vino's (temporary closure)
"I will miss going to Church St Pizza with my sister. It was the best pizza in town, with addictive crust, and the most inventive toppings, especially for those who love veggie pizzas. Great place and a great chef!"
"I never got the chance to eat at Peach Tree Grill, but I was so impressed by their humanitarianism when they donated and served their leftover food to the community after they made the decision to close. Salem lost a great community supporter in Peach Tree Grill."
"Please oh please oh please, let someone reopen Casey's Hotdogs! That place is an historic landmark! And a perfect place to take a group of hungry teenage boys to eat."
"I can't imagine downtown without Casey's. It's an institution!"
Looking ForwardOn a happier note, there are many new establishments that opened in 2013 or are planning to open in 2014. Here are the places our reviewers are most excited about:
Rafn's,Taproot Cafe, Archive, ACME Cafe, Coin Jam, Level B Theater Pub, Adobo Republic, Nancy's Burgers' new West location, Taqueria Marco's Place new location inside the Lancaster Mall, The Bureau, SAW Brewing, Orchards Bistro, Maven, Mina's Cafe, Red Apples Juice Bar, Iggy's Cafe, Westside Taphouse, Urban Grange Coffee, Stonefront Tavern with new owners, plus a mention to two places who opened in December 2012--Donatello's, Margot's (Gluten Free) Cafe,
"I am most excited about all the new breweries and tap houses. Not any one in particular. I just know that Salem used to be known for its breweries before prohibition and its time to bring that back. I love micro-brews and the new interest and tourism will be a boost to our economy."
"I am excited about ACME Cafe. Their sourdough pancakes sound delicious, as does the rest of their food."
"Compared to just eight years ago, the energy and spirit of Salem has doubled--easily."
"Urban Grange is a great addition to West Salem. I love that they have a great selection of alternatives to milk and their coffee is wonderful."
"After going to the inspiring dinners at the Rafn's, its so cool to see them put that energy into a store and restaurant dedicated to locally sourced ingredients."
"The Coin Jam is just a blast. Its a fun hangout and the food is amazing."
"Maven's got a great vibe and delicious drinks."
"Westside Taphouse's large number of taps means there's something for everyone. Great place to hang out."
If you have a restaurant or beverage establishment we did not mention that closed this year or opened recently please feel free to add it to the comments below. We would love to hear why your favorite place will be missed or why you are excited about a new place.