Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Springfield’ Category


Did I love it? More now than ever, though I wouldn't sway from the breakfast menu.

Elmer’s is yet another Northwest chain that has jumped on the seasonal/local bandwagon. In my day they were like a regional Denny’s. Really, they still are but now tout Dungeness crab, Walla Walla onions and the like. But being for regular Joes they serve Boyd’s coffee not Stumptown.

Boyd’s is the brand of coffee they might provide in your office break room. I went to school with a Boyd’s heir, which is nothing like being a Hilton. This kid was kind of geeky and had a bowl cut well beyond the age and era where that was acceptable or in style.

I was looking forward to a big Elmer’s breakfast because I rarely have the opportunity to eat that meal properly with the whole shebang: eggs, potatoes, smoked meat, toast and maybe more. In my normal life, I just eat oatmeal or granola bars in the morning, on weekends I’m vehemently opposed to brunch and on vacation I can never get out the door before noon. I thought the beauty of Elmer’s was that breakfast was available all day, so I was saddened to be presented with a lunch menu at 12:30pm on Labor Day while en route to Mount Hood. Bah.

Elmer's grilled cheese

I consoled myself with a grilled cheese (Tillamook, of course) with bacon and tomato. Or at least tried to, but the generous mayonnaise layer got in the way of my enjoyment. Warm mayo is scary like treading water in a murky sea and being brushed against by a plesiosaurus. Horrifying…and well, more common.

A group seated next to us asked for breakfast menus. D’oh. I don’t know why I just didn’t ask.

I had better luck a few days later in Springfield when I visited another Elmer’s and got the breakfast I had been dreaming of. There’s always an internal debate over sweet or savory at places like this. Eggs usually win but they do have a tempting Dutch baby pancake.

Elmer's omelet

This is Mr. Elmer’s omelet with swiss, tomatoes, mushrooms and honey ham. I’m not even sure that there is a Mr. Elmer but that’s ok. I was swayed by the hollandaise topping. Either go caloric or go home. I love that you get a biscuit instead of boring ol’ toast ,and best of all, a choice of three styles of hashbrowns: plain, with onions and peppers or interspersed with Tillamook cheddar cheese. Cheese for me.

Elmer’s * 1590 NW Burnside, Gresham, OR; 3350 Gateway, Springfield, OR (and various locations)

TGI Friday’s Springfield

I'd been drawn to this Route 22 Friday's because of its funky '60s-style sign and lack of their usual red and white barber pole stripes and yellow lettering. But what's not noticeable on stress-filled drive bys (James and I always get into a fight on Rt. 22, it's the lamest traffic pattern ever with weird u turns, no traffic lights and relentlessly speeding cars. I'm always afraid we're going to get killed and we always end up pissed off at each other) is that they aren't original signs but crafted to look old. The whole restaurant is weird, stylistically different and very '90s with distressed metal, though all the same crappy memorabilia glued to the walls. Sizzling platters may sound like a good idea in corporate test kitchens, but they're not so great in practice. I'm always fascinated by the propensity to cheese smother every thing at chain restaurants. I'm so not a seasonal, market menu purist, but a few unadorned items wouldn't kill anyone. Nevertheless, I went for the bruschetta shrimp and parmesan potato wedges adorned with "Mexican cheese" (at least it wasn't nacho topping). The so-called Mexican cheese was out of control, not merely pleasantly bubbling, but popping and burning on the bottom. I know some people intentionally create cheese crisps and call them frico, but this is Fridays' not a classy Italian joint (like the Olive Garden down the highway). I tried to stir the white lake of cheese that was becoming a cracker but I only half preserved the cheese's original integrity. And yet strangely, the entree was still more appetizing than the Yoda puppet glued on the wall above our booth.

TGI Friday's * 40 Route 22 W., Springfield, NJ