Patty's Off Center Cafe

Remember when Off Center Cafe was a popular, funky, neighborhood joint? "Want to meet at Off Center?", was an invitation I heard often when we moved here in the 90's.

Loyal customers ignored the cracks in the plaster, the rips in the booth upholstery and having to pay with cash only, because where else could you enjoy tasty fried oysters, orange date bread or "Bibble and Squib" for breakfast. Somewhere along the way, family changes caused lack of cleanliness and poor service to be a problem. A daughter took over and applied some elbow grease, but (for whatever reasons) couldn't bring enough regulars back to keep it going. 

A few other owners came and went. Each one applying some paint and sweat equity to make the space in the old building more appealing. Of course, it takes more than paint and cleaning to bring people back to a restaurant they associate with a negative experience. It takes a steady focus on the product, regular hours, warm welcomes and excellent service--ALL of the time. 

If my experience this morning is any indication, Off Center's latest rebirth is a good one. The menu is well thought out and brief, the cozy interior sparkles, the welcome is warm and our coffee cups never empty. 

Corned Beef Hash
The Corned Beef Hash was my breakfast. The hot potatoes were moist, nicely seasoned and had those crispy, delicious, bits of fond from the grill. The corned beef was amazingly tender and each bite melted in my mouth. I opted for the herbed biscuit. It arrived pre-halved and buttered--and packed with herby flavors. My friend had only praise for her order of Patty's Scramble. 

Patty's Scramble
I didn't visit Off Center during the last two owners (though other contributors did and opted not to share their disappointing experiences). so I don't know whether the wainscoting and flooring is brand new. But I can tell you that the holes in the walls, the ripped upholstery and generally patched together appearance are all gone.

Salemites, it's time to shake off those negative memories and give the new folks a try. Let us know how your experience was--especially if you try "Big Al's Reuben". Won't be hard to talk N into trying that sandwich!

Patty's Off Center Cafe
(link above to FB page, menu available in photos)
1741 Center St NE,
Salem, Oregon
(503) 399-5522
8 am - 3 pm Sundays
Closed Mondays
Tuesdays-Saturday 6 am - 2 pm


Nate Rafn said...

Nice review. I appreciate that you provided some context to this restaurant, past and present.

KandN said...

Thanks, Nate! It helped that I've heard some reminiscing on Twitter from other Salemites.
Btw, I hear your house-made chicken broth is a big hit.

Patty'sOffCenterCafe said...

Thank you very much for the kind words. We strive to make all of our guests happy with delicious food, warm smiles and place that you can call yours. Patty's Off Center Cafe :)

KandN said...

Judging by my experience, you all hit a home run. Best wishes to you!

Nate Rafn said...

I just think it's great that someone has brought new life to the cafe. I hope it's a success! We'll be in for breakfast sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

One of the highlights of the original Off Center was a focus on local ingredients and a good amount of vegan/vegetarian options. Any idea on whether Patty's uses high-quality ingredients and has veg options? Most Salem breakfast places use flavorless factory-raised eggs, so we have stopped eating out for breakfast, with a few exceptions.

KandN said...

Hi Anonymous, Judging from my experience, Patty's Off Center uses high quality ingredients and I remember seeing a Curry Tofu Scramble as a special. Other than that, I'd suggest sending them a message on Facebook. They do a good job of responding.

Unknown said...

Your review/article has convinced me to try them again... it's been more than a decade since I've been there.

I'm assuming/hoping this is a current review since... at the very top of the blog it says "Spring 2016"... no dates by the article itself.

KandN said...

Let us know how it goes. I've had several good experiences.

Anonymous said...

I've been there many times and the food has been excellent. It is easy to tell that they use quality ingredients, and the service is always good. I eat there again anytime!

Anonymous said...

This is a great spot. Only been there for breakfast, but food was good and service was very attentive. Got a table quickly and food quick on a Saturday mornings. Biscuits and gravy were a stand out.

The coffee at the old Off Center was really really good, strong Beanery beans. The coffee they serve now is just standard diner coffee. Serviceable but not great like it used to be.

Overall, highly recommended.