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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Progress... One more step towards Wine Country and for more step away from the way it "used to be." -And the way I like it...

The word is that Ashes Cafe is out of business. Sometimes the word is not always accurate. I have been a bit preoccupied and have not checked myself. I suppose I could pick up the phone and call.
Ashes Cafe is/was anachronism. A traditional meat and potatoes American style cafe in a modern world.  The place where the milkshake comes with the metal cup.
The problem with Ashes was in it's basic premise. It was not the style of food or the fact that it was completely out of date in the modern world of food.
Ashes Cafe was a labor of love by the owner.
She bought the Cafe from a rather unpleasant fellow who knew she wanted the business badly and who used that knowledge to totally stick it to her on first the rent and then the purchase price.
I have lived in Amity for a few years now. I've seen the Cafe go through a few transitions. I saw Templeton come out and walk across the floor when the infamous drunk owned it and I saw him stiff his successor with high rent. She was gone in a year.
Ashes Cafe got off to a grand start. Sharon had a vision. Good old style cafe food. Hot dinner sandwiches with real roast beef, homemade pies, reasonable prices, and lots of coffee.
The real roast beef was the first casualty.
Here is the bottom line, and I know it is the bottom line because I am an old style farmer who is continually about to go broke...
Under-capitalization, high overhead, dependance on a business plan that was upset by the whims of government and a failed economy.
The one area that I don't think got a lot of notice was the breakfast crowd. Sharon would open at 4 a.m. to get the trucker and logger crowd. She did a huge business before 8 a.m. and no one noticed. She had a clever scheme, there are no good restaurants open before dark. And there was truck parking across the street.
Then the economy crashed. When I was making money I ate there three or four times a week in the winter. I really liked the hot dinner sandwiches and they were cheap. A good turkey sandwich with gravy and dressing was under $7 and there was usually a meatloaf special with gravy for closer to $5.
Hamburgers started out in the $5 range as well.
When winter hay sales stopped my pocket money dried up as well and I soon found I couldn't afford to buy lunch for myself and an employee.
Then she went to deli roast beef and the sort of hamburger patties that I really dislike.
I switched to French dips which were really quite good and if you hit the right day she made them from the prime rib left over from the night before.
The pie quality and milkshake quality was always good.
Then Amity hit the Federal Cash cow "revitalize" the downtown. Of course with that money came regulations. The first to go was the truck parking. ODOT does not want trucks parked along 99W. So they first eliminated the across the street parking and now the parking in front of the restaurant is gone. Those idiotic little pedestrian islands with the flower pots which take up parking and give you no where to go except straight down the middle of the road with wide equipment.
At this point there is no where for a trucker to pull off and have breakfast along 99W from Junction City to Newberg, thanks to the clever engineering department at ODOT and their accomplices in the local small-town bureaucracy.
This was most likely the last straw for Ashes as her fixed operating costs were so high that there was no margin.
And now, I have to go to a wedding. Perhaps I will opine more on this subject after the wedding. It does appear that we will not be stopping at Ashes for Sunday brunch today. I am going to miss the all you can eat bacon bar.


  1. Dang! Pine Tree Patio and now Ashes. If you ain't got a derailleur and spandex, you gots nowhere to go.

  2. Bureaucrats can kill ANY business, if given enough time.

  3. "At this point there is no where for a trucker to pull off and have breakfast along 99W from Junction City to Newberg"

    Isn't Farrol's (Rickreall) still in business? And there's always RFP store, north of Monroe. They do a really good Philly cheese steak sandwich.

    Hate to see the good old greasy spoon cafe's dropping one by one.

    1. Orin, Yes I got a little carried away. I think Farrol's is actually back in business. They were closed for a while.
      I will miss Ashes, I really have had my fill of heat lamp chicken strips and Jo-Jo's.


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