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Saturday, December 18, 2010

We try the new restaurant in town and are amused

I like to see people follow their dreams and so I am reluctant to say the name of the restaurant as I don't want the owners to find it in an internet search and get discouraged. Of course if they did they would probably write me off as just a provincial philistine and be right.
There is a new restaurant in town.
It is kind of funny as Amity is really trying to be upscale. They have renovated part of downtown and they really, really, do have a plan for parking. Of course it won't really work right at the city council members are clueless and have no idea, but they do try.
But I digress.
Click here for a link to new restaurant which has the words "Blue" and "Goat" and "The" in the name.
The website touts their traditional wood-fired cooking and local wines and really the place is pretty neat. They have a bar counter which is made from slabs of tree trunks and bar stools made from the seats of old school desks. They have old oak doors and the booths are made from recycled counters.
The centerpiece is the huge clay oven which is made from (I think) local clay and my donated wheat straw. Donated, because I didn't feel like loading the pickup and I felt a little guilty about baiting the long hair fellow who came after the straw. He turned out to be a really nice guy and gave me a book on making the ovens, but I just had him figured out the moment he drove into the yard. (I was nice to him, but got a bit of a laugh at his expense to begin with)
But, again, I digress.
My wife and I have wanted to try the place out for a long time. The problem is that they never seem to be open and we are afraid that the folks from the Amity Cafe will be mad at us for being unfaithful to them.
Tonight we decided to try it out. Our daughter wanted to stay home by herself and watch "Despicable Me," to prove she was all grown up, and so we called some friends to meet us there. They were a bit skeptical as they had been there the week before and paid $11 for a glass of wine, but they agreed to meet us for dinner.
I said we had to have pizza as the oven was the centerpiece and the gourmet pizza had to be the best that they had. We skipped the daily special because it had Bleu Cheese and that sounds disgusting. Instead three of us had a sausage and cheese 10" pizza's for $9 and my friend's wife (who is also our friend) opted for the pork chop with grits. That was actually quite good.
The pizza was a little different. I like the thin crispy crust. It has green olives which provided salt and were better than anchovies. They were $9.
You can look up the menu on their website. They try to use fresh local items and are all about the whole modern BS of sustainabiltiy and wine and recycling and natural fiber clothing and that is all great for atmosphere-I guess.
But, a restaurant should really be more about the food.
The pizza was kind of bland for the buck. It was kind of a rectangle and looked somewhat hand-tossed or rather rolled. Good crust and not too much tomato sauce but gourmet pizza is pretentious. It should have been a little bigger and a little better selection of toppings. I know they could have done it better.
The waiter was nice but pretty inexperienced for a Saturday evening shift. Not as quick and as good as he should have been.
They claimed to have the widest selection of beer in town but that meant nothing. There is a Mexican restaurant that sells Dos Equis and Bud Lite and Dad's Market sells beer by the case but I don't think that counts.
Of the six beers on the menu, the were out of two, one had something wrong with it at the keg, and they had Bud Lite and Bud. If I am going to risk my church-going reputation on a pint of bitter's then it sure is not going Bud Lite.
I had a stout that was properly thick and coffee-like and my friend had something Scottish that appeared to be tasty. It was $3.50 a pint which was actually not that bad a deal.
For desert my wife and I split something with caramel and chocolate cake that sort of tasted like a rice crispy treat around the edges. It was not that great.
Here's the deal.
The owners are so sincere and they worked so hard on the place and I don't want them to fail. But come on guys, this is Amity. This is not Portland or Lake Oswego  or Eugene.
Give us a good meal with competent help and not to bad a pricing and I think we would come back. I just don't know. I was not that impressed. Especially since we have waited since summer to actually try the place.


  1. I had a pizza once at some restaurant chain that featured brick ovens. It tasted like creosote so it didn't really matter what they used as toppings. I think they either used pine, or the else the wood (maybe oak) was green. None the less, We'll give the goat place a try! Maybe Amity will become the next McMinnville!

  2. Hey, at least you have choices. Here in the Monroe area, we have RFP which is pretty good, The Long Branch tavern which goes in phases, The Sweet Spot which could better be called The Bland Spot, and the Alpine Tavern which makes a great cheeseburger....if you like the bun second-hand smoke flavored. We had a good little taco stand for a while (made trips to Wilbur-Ellis for fertilizer a little more appealing) but it folded.

  3. "But, a restaurant should really be more about the food."

    You're right, Budd. Philosophy belongs in a book, not on a plate.

  4. Muddy, just enjoy the view of the very nice oven and drink the beer and it will be fine.
    Orin, but you can make the trek to Corvallis and do an all you can eat at the Mongoloid Grill or that little BBQ place over there by where GoodWill used to be.
    Gorges, not in wine country. It is all about the look. And after after a few glasses of wine I guess it all looks fine.


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