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Shhhhhh! A Tasty Bit of History 

Palmer's Cafe is still Bend's best kept secret

It is understood that all opinions are basically relative. I mean, for example, I am not a huge fan of eggplant, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a dish with eggplant in it is atrocious. (But, let's say it together: Yuck!)

That said, all opinions aside, there are two absolutes when it comes to the Bend food scene: the best tacos and burritos in Bend are at Tortilleria Reyes, and the best breakfast is at Palmer's Café.

Palmer's is still one of Bend's best-kept secrets (it even says so on their business cards). The breakfast and lunch spot is unassumingly nestled into a tiny motel on Greenwood Avenue, right next door to Rockin' Dave's. Whenever I mention the place, there seems to only be two reactions:

One: "Huh, never heard of it."

Or, two: "That place is amazing! Best breakfast in town!"

Whenever the reaction is No. 1, I get to take a friend to a new breakfast place. And when it is No. 2, we drool and go to breakfast there the next day.

Either way, everything is coming up Jared!

Palmer's central dining area was built in 1922 by a man named Palmer Discus, who built the cafe as his home, initially. In the 1950s, when Greenwood and 7th was considered the edge of town, this was a venue for dances and potlucks. Over the course of time, the motel was constructed one room at a time, with some of the rooms shipped in whole from other towns. About 30 years ago, Palmer's opened as a cafe and changed hands every five years until Karen Kau, Harold Johnson and Steve Glaizer purchased it 13 years ago; they have been feeding Bend ever since.

Palmer's menu dips satisfyingly deep into the "comfort food" spectrum without acquiring the sometimes negative connotations of being a "greasy spoon." At first, the food might seem simple; if so, it is deceptively so. The Todd Lake Omelet is a plate-sized beauty filled to explosion with lightly grilled chicken, chunks of flawlessly prepared bacon, mushrooms, cream cheese and delectably fresh avocado and topped with green onions and more jack cheese than I thought humanly possible. Selections like this, the sinfully delicious Blueberry Banana Nut French Toast, the massively mouth watering breakfast burrito and the best damn chicken fried steak in town, makes Palmer's a destination breakfast spot.

Equally as special as the food is the dedicated wait staff run by Kau, who greeted me the first time I ever came to Palmer's with a loud: "Welcome! Sit wherever makes you happy!" The coffee cups are never empty, the staff is attentive without ever being intrusive, and they know the names and orders of most of their regulars.

It is this attention to detail that keeps Palmer's feeling like a secret meant for Bend's true locals, although some days you might wait for a table as long as 10 minutes on their lovely front porch with a cup of coffee and a newspaper. If the word gets out about Palmer's, and it deserves to, then the wait might get longer; but it is a good problem to have.

Palmer's Cafe

645 NE Greenwood

Mon.-Sun. 7 am-2 pm


About The Author

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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