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A cocktail bar setting at Archive in Salem, Oregon, where diners sit at tables drinking cocktails and coffee drinks.
Archive Coffee & Bar, a cafe by day, bar by night in downtown Salem. Archive is just one of the many Salem-area restaurants and bars making a compelling argument for Portlanders to spend more time down south.
Archive [Official photo]

17 Destination Restaurants, Food Carts, and Bars in Salem, Oregon

Where to eat tacos al pastor, drink ritzy cocktails, and inhale hibiscus-glazed doughnuts in Oregon’s capital

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Archive Coffee & Bar, a cafe by day, bar by night in downtown Salem. Archive is just one of the many Salem-area restaurants and bars making a compelling argument for Portlanders to spend more time down south.
| Archive [Official photo]

There was a time when Salem’s downtown dining scene was pretty stifled, catering almost entirely to the needs of state workers on hurried lunch breaks, a ghost town once dusk began to fall. In recent years, however, that’s changed, in the city center and extending out into Salem’s farthest corners: Wander through downtown Salem and nearly every block is full of dining options. Breweries that once outsourced food service now offer menus of their own designed to accompany their beers. A robust food truck scene incubates new businesses. And Salem overall — and specifically the thoroughfares of Portland Road and Lancaster Drive Northeast — is an absolute destination for Mexican cuisine. Haven’t been to Salem in a minute? Here’s where to eat when you go.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries serious risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Roger That BBQ

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1492 Brush College Rd NW
Salem, OR 97304
(503) 363-6716
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Follow the “BBQ Here” signs to visit this understated neighborhood spot in West Salem, just a short drive from the wineries in the Eola-Amity Hills. Owner Roger Schneider started smoking meats as a hobby, but now the barbecue business is so popular people literally line up for it, a phenomenon otherwise nearly unheard of in Salem. Schneider’s brisket has an impressively rosy smoke ring and bark the color of pitch, which, along with the other meats, can be had by the pound or in tacos or sandwiches such as a pulled pork Cubano. Though not strictly a barbecue staple, a cult favorite is Roger That’s take on the smash burger. Labeled Wimpy Burgers, they drip with processed cheese (in a good way), they’re only $2 each, and people sometimes order them in double digits.  

2. Spanglish Food Taqueria #2

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2620 Lancaster Dr NE
Salem, OR 97305

Compared to the Mexican culinary pockets throughout California, the sight of a trompo, a vertical spit that supports a hulking tower of pork for tacos al pastor, is a rarity. Those craving the real deal should get to Spanglish, a Lancaster food cart that serves sopes, huaraches, and tacos piled high with shaved pieces of marinated pork. The juices from the pineapple at the top of the spit trickle down through the meat, adding a nice, sweet acidity that also keeps the final product tender.

A pile of tacos with whole grilled onions from Spanglish in Salem, Oregon.
Tacos from Spanglish.
Matt T. / Yelp

3. El Ranchero Market

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2615 Lancaster Dr NE
Salem, OR 97305
(971) 600-3466
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Salem is home to so many excellent Mexican places, it feels unfair to single out just one. Want tacos stuffed with crisp, juicy meat? Prepare to line-up for weekends-only El Ta’comelon. Are you a salsa fiend? Try Tacos El Pelon’s excellent ones. Craving birria de res like mom’s? Go eat at Rancho Miramar. At Diego and Itzel Sagastume’s El Ranchero Market, a grocery and attached cafe, you can get a little bit of everything: taco Tuesday deals, homey bowls of pozole, trendy quesabirria, and family meal deals on mesquite grilled chicken, plus tortillas and house-made chorizo for tomorrow’s breakfast.

4. Dough Hook Bake Shop

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1970 Lancaster Dr NE #105
Salem, OR 97305
(503) 990-6251
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At her Northeast Salem bakery, Dough Hook, pastry chef ​​Guadalupe Alvarez Aguilar fuses French culinary technique with the Mexican flavors of her heritage. The results are head-turners: vanilla bean conchas, hibiscus- and horchata-glazed brioche doughnuts, tall sugar-dusted “cruffins” (croissant muffins), and Salem’s best croissants. Monthly doughnut specials are popular, with flavors like mango lassi or tres leches cake with berries; be sure to place a pre-order if you’re driving from Portland, as they sell out pretty consistently.

5. Xicha Brewing Co.

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576 Patterson St NW Suite 140
Salem, OR 97304
(503) 990-8292
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Tucked into an industrial pocket in West Salem you’ll find Xicha, a Latinx brewery and colorful bar space with garage doors for walls and picnic tables aplenty. The brewery’s beers tend towards the light and easy drinking; Playa Pilsner, mango pale ale, and a guava sour, a Deschutes collaboration, pour from the taps, along with seasonal specials. Chef and co-owner Ricardo Antúnez’s polished menu is ideal for snacking: Order a spread of guava chipotle barbecued spareribs; chorizo and cheese croquetas; empanadas stuffed with jackfruit tinga; and tacos of grilled cod, beef barbacoa, or crispy pork belly to share among a table for four. While beer might be the focus, the bar’s seasonal fruit margaritas are a wonderful way to start an evening. 

6. Noble Wave | Brewery & Louisiana Kitchen

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189 Liberty St NE Suite #112
Salem, OR 97301
(971) 304-7974
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Three Louisiana transplants opened Noble Wave in 2019, an aqua pool of a retro-futuristic restaurant, now a brewpub, in downtown Salem. It became an instant favorite for Cajun flavors—catfish (or cauliflower) po’ boys, fried chicken beignet sliders, gumbo-smothered Louisiana poutine, and maple butter chicken and bread pudding waffles at Sunday brunch. The Hot Bird sandwich, the restaurant’s take on Nashville hot chicken, has inspired the most loyalty: Crystal hot sauce-drenched fried chicken lands on a sweet bun with pickles and coleslaw. The weekday-only, in-house burger pop-up, Bit Byte Burger, is worth trying, as well. 

7. Archive Coffee & Bar

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102 Liberty St NE #120
Salem, OR 97301

There was absolutely nothing as cool in Salem as Archive, a coffee-shop-plus-cocktail-bar with a speakeasy vibe, when it opened in 2014. Anchored by a double-sided bar, it’s loaded with Instagram-ready stacks of old books and other library aesthetic ephemera lining the slate-hued walls. A project of local Jesse Hayes, the coffee-and-cocktail bar remains a heavy-hitter in the city’s downtown scene. Daytime, visit for espresso beverages made with their own roasts; one signature is the Bee’s Knees, a latte with house-made honey-rosemary-lavender syrup. At happy hour, Archive’s original drinks are the best you’ll find in Salem’s increasingly vibrant cocktail scene. Pre-pandemic, the bar was also known for incredibly ambitious theme parties, and a monthly Formal First Saturday that invited guests to dress up in cocktail attire. 

8. Taproot Lounge & Cafe

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356 State St
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 363-7668
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Something about Taproot feels like a ‘90s coffee shop in a great way. Artsy and bohemian, its menu of barrel-aged cocktails and all-day cafe snacks are approachable but creative. Regulars especially love small plates including crispy Brussels sprouts with blue cheese and balsamic vinegar and davocados, beer-battered avocado wedges served with chipotle ranch. Big salads, easy-to like-sandwiches, and hippie-style grain bowls make this a menu welcoming to one and all.

9. Fork Forty Food Hall

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440 State St
Salem, OR 97301

Downtown Salem’s first food hall, Fork Forty houses a cluster of independently owned businesses — similar to Pine Street Market — and there’s not a dud in the bunch. Chubby Panda Bao House focuses on eclectic bao, fried rice bowls, and double-fried chicken wings crackling with five spice. La Lucciola pulls some of Salem’s best Neapolitan pizza from a flickering brick oven. Uncle Troy’s BBQ owner Troy Campbell serves among the best sides and sandwiches in town, in addition to slabs of smoked meat (fun fact: Campbell is the brother of the founder of Portland-based Felton and Mary’s barbecue sauce and uses the same family recipes). Need to scratch a Wiz Bang Bar itch? Visit Slick Licks for scratch-made soft serve ice cream, including multiple vegan options. Limited outdoor seating, plus tables in the onsite bar, the Best Goose, allow for on premises dining. 

10. Kkoki Korean BBQ

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3610 Center St NE
Salem, OR 97301
(971) 599-5774
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The massive Salem location of Kkoki Korean BBQ — which also has outposts in Portland on SE Powell and in Eugene, plus a third in Beaverton under different ownership —  purports to be the largest restaurant for Korean barbecue statewide. Tabletop ventilation snakes through the restaurant, formerly a location of the Rock Wood Fired Pizza & Spirits, a regional rock-and-roll-themed pizza chain. As a result, Kkoki Salem’s interior is a delightfully disjointed cultural mishmash of rock and roll iconography and celebrations of Korean culture. Crossed guitar motifs alongside screens streaming K-pop music videos. The menu is a massive missal of Korea’s greatest hits. Multiple tiers of all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue take center stage, but there’s also jeon, japchae, several types of soft tofu stew, and bulgogi fries.

11. Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails

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130 High St SE
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 581-1880
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A meal at Epilogue comes with a story both figuratively and sometimes literally. The menu at the small, emerald-hued dining room pulls inspiration from co-owners Jonathan Jones and Maura Ryan’s history: The crab cakes with Old Bay remoulade eschew Dungeness for the briny sweetness of blue crab, like the ones Jones grew up eating in ​​Southeastern Pennsylvania. Pimento cheese, served with bread and butter pickles and a legendarily flaky biscuit, speaks to the couple’s time in North Carolina. Friday night fish fry and the ever-present brandy Old Fashioned on the cocktail menu toast their years in Wisconsin. Epilogue also operates what the restaurant calls a lending library of Black excellence: Along with your meal, for a $15 refundable deposit, you can borrow Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery or Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. Vocal participants in Salem’s mutual aid network and racial justice efforts, Jones and Ryan use the restaurant as a hub to celebrate inclusivity and equality, all while serving some of the most distinctive plates in town.

12. Word Of Mouth Neighborhood Bistro

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140 17th St NE
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 584-1927
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Salem residents have long loved brunch destination Word of Mouth, a quirky spot tucked into a historic house, but they didn’t realize how intensely they loved it until, at the start of the pandemic, the restaurant closed its doors for 16 months. Owners Steve and Becky Mucha have now reopened, and locals will never again take for granted the cluttered, grand-millennial chic dining room with its bric-a-brac. Count on cinnamon roll pancakes the size of your face; planks of creme brulee french toast; big, beautiful biscuits swimming in gravy, and toasted burritos roughly the dimensions of a newborn. Pro tip: the ever-present waitlist at Word of Mouth tends to especially swell on Sunday morning, as area church services wind up. Check the restaurant’s waitlist online; sometimes parties of two can skirt the list by sitting at the small bar. 

13. The Yard Food Park

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4106 State St
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 385-8066
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The Yard, on the far east side of the city, is the newer of Salem’s two main food cart pods. It’s anchored by a massive indoor space with a bar, coffee counter, indoor restrooms, and loads of communal seating. In the pre-pandemic times, the space hosted live music and trivia from a small stage area. Carts line either side of the space and, on nice days, the massive garage-style windows roll up. Go for pupusas at La Champita, Hawaiian plate lunch from Get Seom Aloha, drippy cheesesteaks at Eddy’s Phillys, or chubby manti and hand-stretched noodles from Uzbek food cart Farzona Uzbek.

14. The Manila Fiesta

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1952 McGilchrist St SE
Salem, OR 97302
(503) 967-6921
Visit Website

Marissa Luciano started her Filipino restaurant as a food truck offering chicken and pork adobo, stir-fried pancit noodles, and halo-halo. Despite opening a restaurant at the start of the pandemic, able to serve only take-out for months, Manila Fiesta has found a groove. With a bigger kitchen now at her disposal, Luciano’s menu of home cooking from the Philippines knows no bounds. She regularly offers sisig, a tasty pile of seasoned and diced pork and chicken liver; peanut-based kare kare; crispy pata, deep fried pork knuckle; and dinuguan, the rich Filipino stew thickened with pork blood. Check social media for her daily specials and call ahead to reserve. 

15. Santiam Brewing

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2544 19th St SE
Salem, OR 97302
(503) 689-1260
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Tucked into an industrial park not far from Salem’s airport is a little taste of the United Kingdom. Santiam Brewing’s pub menu leans hard towards British dishes such as Cornish pasties, savory pies, sausage rolls, and Scotch eggs. Co-owner Ian Croxall, who is originally from Derby, started cooking these traditional dishes — the things he couldn’t get elsewhere and missed — at home and eventually at the brewpub. After a while, they began to dominate the menu. Croxall is particular about ingredients, going out of the way to source back bacon for the weekends-only full English breakfast. He also buys imported marrowfat peas to make proper mushy peas, an essential accompaniment to fish and chips battered using their own beer. British beer fans rejoice, this is the place to find an array of cask-conditioned ales and bitters.

16. Big Blue Thai BBQ

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2679 Commercial St SE
Salem, OR 97302
(971) 301-8714
Visit Website

Before Eem started serving smoked meats and Thai curries in North Portland, Big Blue Thai Barbecue was selling smoky grilled pork, fiery green papaya salad, and fragrant jasmine rice out of a food truck an hour south. Permanently stationed in a parking lot along SE Commercial Street, owners Kanyanat Puthdee and Ray Johnson cook pork and Thai sausage to order on a Japanese binchotan charcoal grill on the truck’s open-air back “porch.” While grilled meats anchor most of the plates, the cart also offers two excellent curries: one peanut-based, and the other a fragrant bowl of green curry with sweet longans. Order to-go or eat at one of Big Blue’s picnic tables, which Johnson had custom built to sit level on the sloping pavement. 

17. Beehive Station

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1510 Fabry Rd SE s
Salem, OR 97306
(971) 808-2197
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On the far southwest side of Salem — pretty close to Enchanted Forest, TBH — is Beehive Station, Salem’s original destination for food truck eats. Though there are tent-covered seating areas and propane heaters, Beehive is largely outdoors (think: firepit and festival vibes). Try the soft pretzels at Peace Love Pretzels, piroshki and pelmeni at Authentic Russian Taste, The Easy Otter’s waffle iron-pressed paninis, Baja Fish’s tacos, or the Hungry Gnomad’s Iowa-style pork cutlet sandwiches. A bar cart pours Oregon beers and hard ciders from nearby farm-cidery Bauman’s.

1. Roger That BBQ

1492 Brush College Rd NW, Salem, OR 97304

Follow the “BBQ Here” signs to visit this understated neighborhood spot in West Salem, just a short drive from the wineries in the Eola-Amity Hills. Owner Roger Schneider started smoking meats as a hobby, but now the barbecue business is so popular people literally line up for it, a phenomenon otherwise nearly unheard of in Salem. Schneider’s brisket has an impressively rosy smoke ring and bark the color of pitch, which, along with the other meats, can be had by the pound or in tacos or sandwiches such as a pulled pork Cubano. Though not strictly a barbecue staple, a cult favorite is Roger That’s take on the smash burger. Labeled Wimpy Burgers, they drip with processed cheese (in a good way), they’re only $2 each, and people sometimes order them in double digits.  

1492 Brush College Rd NW
Salem, OR 97304

2. Spanglish Food Taqueria #2

2620 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem, OR 97305
A pile of tacos with whole grilled onions from Spanglish in Salem, Oregon.
Tacos from Spanglish.
Matt T. / Yelp

Compared to the Mexican culinary pockets throughout California, the sight of a trompo, a vertical spit that supports a hulking tower of pork for tacos al pastor, is a rarity. Those craving the real deal should get to Spanglish, a Lancaster food cart that serves sopes, huaraches, and tacos piled high with shaved pieces of marinated pork. The juices from the pineapple at the top of the spit trickle down through the meat, adding a nice, sweet acidity that also keeps the final product tender.

2620 Lancaster Dr NE
Salem, OR 97305

3. El Ranchero Market

2615 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem, OR 97305

Salem is home to so many excellent Mexican places, it feels unfair to single out just one. Want tacos stuffed with crisp, juicy meat? Prepare to line-up for weekends-only El Ta’comelon. Are you a salsa fiend? Try Tacos El Pelon’s excellent ones. Craving birria de res like mom’s? Go eat at Rancho Miramar. At Diego and Itzel Sagastume’s El Ranchero Market, a grocery and attached cafe, you can get a little bit of everything: taco Tuesday deals, homey bowls of pozole, trendy quesabirria, and family meal deals on mesquite grilled chicken, plus tortillas and house-made chorizo for tomorrow’s breakfast.

2615 Lancaster Dr NE
Salem, OR 97305

4. Dough Hook Bake Shop

1970 Lancaster Dr NE #105, Salem, OR 97305

At her Northeast Salem bakery, Dough Hook, pastry chef ​​Guadalupe Alvarez Aguilar fuses French culinary technique with the Mexican flavors of her heritage. The results are head-turners: vanilla bean conchas, hibiscus- and horchata-glazed brioche doughnuts, tall sugar-dusted “cruffins” (croissant muffins), and Salem’s best croissants. Monthly doughnut specials are popular, with flavors like mango lassi or tres leches cake with berries; be sure to place a pre-order if you’re driving from Portland, as they sell out pretty consistently.

1970 Lancaster Dr NE #105
Salem, OR 97305

5. Xicha Brewing Co.

576 Patterson St NW Suite 140, Salem, OR 97304

Tucked into an industrial pocket in West Salem you’ll find Xicha, a Latinx brewery and colorful bar space with garage doors for walls and picnic tables aplenty. The brewery’s beers tend towards the light and easy drinking; Playa Pilsner, mango pale ale, and a guava sour, a Deschutes collaboration, pour from the taps, along with seasonal specials. Chef and co-owner Ricardo Antúnez’s polished menu is ideal for snacking: Order a spread of guava chipotle barbecued spareribs; chorizo and cheese croquetas; empanadas stuffed with jackfruit tinga; and tacos of grilled cod, beef barbacoa, or crispy pork belly to share among a table for four. While beer might be the focus, the bar’s seasonal fruit margaritas are a wonderful way to start an evening. 

576 Patterson St NW Suite 140
Salem, OR 97304

6. Noble Wave | Brewery & Louisiana Kitchen

189 Liberty St NE Suite #112, Salem, OR 97301

Three Louisiana transplants opened Noble Wave in 2019, an aqua pool of a retro-futuristic restaurant, now a brewpub, in downtown Salem. It became an instant favorite for Cajun flavors—catfish (or cauliflower) po’ boys, fried chicken beignet sliders, gumbo-smothered Louisiana poutine, and maple butter chicken and bread pudding waffles at Sunday brunch. The Hot Bird sandwich, the restaurant’s take on Nashville hot chicken, has inspired the most loyalty: Crystal hot sauce-drenched fried chicken lands on a sweet bun with pickles and coleslaw. The weekday-only, in-house burger pop-up, Bit Byte Burger, is worth trying, as well. 

189 Liberty St NE Suite #112
Salem, OR 97301

7. Archive Coffee & Bar

102 Liberty St NE #120, Salem, OR 97301

There was absolutely nothing as cool in Salem as Archive, a coffee-shop-plus-cocktail-bar with a speakeasy vibe, when it opened in 2014. Anchored by a double-sided bar, it’s loaded with Instagram-ready stacks of old books and other library aesthetic ephemera lining the slate-hued walls. A project of local Jesse Hayes, the coffee-and-cocktail bar remains a heavy-hitter in the city’s downtown scene. Daytime, visit for espresso beverages made with their own roasts; one signature is the Bee’s Knees, a latte with house-made honey-rosemary-lavender syrup. At happy hour, Archive’s original drinks are the best you’ll find in Salem’s increasingly vibrant cocktail scene. Pre-pandemic, the bar was also known for incredibly ambitious theme parties, and a monthly Formal First Saturday that invited guests to dress up in cocktail attire. 

102 Liberty St NE #120
Salem, OR 97301

8. Taproot Lounge & Cafe

356 State St, Salem, OR 97301

Something about Taproot feels like a ‘90s coffee shop in a great way. Artsy and bohemian, its menu of barrel-aged cocktails and all-day cafe snacks are approachable but creative. Regulars especially love small plates including crispy Brussels sprouts with blue cheese and balsamic vinegar and davocados, beer-battered avocado wedges served with chipotle ranch. Big salads, easy-to like-sandwiches, and hippie-style grain bowls make this a menu welcoming to one and all.

356 State St
Salem, OR 97301

9. Fork Forty Food Hall

440 State St, Salem, OR 97301

Downtown Salem’s first food hall, Fork Forty houses a cluster of independently owned businesses — similar to Pine Street Market — and there’s not a dud in the bunch. Chubby Panda Bao House focuses on eclectic bao, fried rice bowls, and double-fried chicken wings crackling with five spice. La Lucciola pulls some of Salem’s best Neapolitan pizza from a flickering brick oven. Uncle Troy’s BBQ owner Troy Campbell serves among the best sides and sandwiches in town, in addition to slabs of smoked meat (fun fact: Campbell is the brother of the founder of Portland-based Felton and Mary’s barbecue sauce and uses the same family recipes). Need to scratch a Wiz Bang Bar itch? Visit Slick Licks for scratch-made soft serve ice cream, including multiple vegan options. Limited outdoor seating, plus tables in the onsite bar, the Best Goose, allow for on premises dining. 

440 State St
Salem, OR 97301

10. Kkoki Korean BBQ

3610 Center St NE, Salem, OR 97301

The massive Salem location of Kkoki Korean BBQ — which also has outposts in Portland on SE Powell and in Eugene, plus a third in Beaverton under different ownership —  purports to be the largest restaurant for Korean barbecue statewide. Tabletop ventilation snakes through the restaurant, formerly a location of the Rock Wood Fired Pizza & Spirits, a regional rock-and-roll-themed pizza chain. As a result, Kkoki Salem’s interior is a delightfully disjointed cultural mishmash of rock and roll iconography and celebrations of Korean culture. Crossed guitar motifs alongside screens streaming K-pop music videos. The menu is a massive missal of Korea’s greatest hits. Multiple tiers of all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue take center stage, but there’s also jeon, japchae, several types of soft tofu stew, and bulgogi fries.

3610 Center St NE
Salem, OR 97301

11. Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails

130 High St SE, Salem, OR 97301

A meal at Epilogue comes with a story both figuratively and sometimes literally. The menu at the small, emerald-hued dining room pulls inspiration from co-owners Jonathan Jones and Maura Ryan’s history: The crab cakes with Old Bay remoulade eschew Dungeness for the briny sweetness of blue crab, like the ones Jones grew up eating in ​​Southeastern Pennsylvania. Pimento cheese, served with bread and butter pickles and a legendarily flaky biscuit, speaks to the couple’s time in North Carolina. Friday night fish fry and the ever-present brandy Old Fashioned on the cocktail menu toast their years in Wisconsin. Epilogue also operates what the restaurant calls a lending library of Black excellence: Along with your meal, for a $15 refundable deposit, you can borrow Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery or Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. Vocal participants in Salem’s mutual aid network and racial justice efforts, Jones and Ryan use the restaurant as a hub to celebrate inclusivity and equality, all while serving some of the most distinctive plates in town.

130 High St SE
Salem, OR 97301

12. Word Of Mouth Neighborhood Bistro

140 17th St NE, Salem, OR 97301

Salem residents have long loved brunch destination Word of Mouth, a quirky spot tucked into a historic house, but they didn’t realize how intensely they loved it until, at the start of the pandemic, the restaurant closed its doors for 16 months. Owners Steve and Becky Mucha have now reopened, and locals will never again take for granted the cluttered, grand-millennial chic dining room with its bric-a-brac. Count on cinnamon roll pancakes the size of your face; planks of creme brulee french toast; big, beautiful biscuits swimming in gravy, and toasted burritos roughly the dimensions of a newborn. Pro tip: the ever-present waitlist at Word of Mouth tends to especially swell on Sunday morning, as area church services wind up. Check the restaurant’s waitlist online; sometimes parties of two can skirt the list by sitting at the small bar. 

140 17th St NE
Salem, OR 97301

13. The Yard Food Park

4106 State St, Salem, OR 97301

The Yard, on the far east side of the city, is the newer of Salem’s two main food cart pods. It’s anchored by a massive indoor space with a bar, coffee counter, indoor restrooms, and loads of communal seating. In the pre-pandemic times, the space hosted live music and trivia from a small stage area. Carts line either side of the space and, on nice days, the massive garage-style windows roll up. Go for pupusas at La Champita, Hawaiian plate lunch from Get Seom Aloha, drippy cheesesteaks at Eddy’s Phillys, or chubby manti and hand-stretched noodles from Uzbek food cart Farzona Uzbek.

4106 State St
Salem, OR 97301

14. The Manila Fiesta

1952 McGilchrist St SE, Salem, OR 97302

Marissa Luciano started her Filipino restaurant as a food truck offering chicken and pork adobo, stir-fried pancit noodles, and halo-halo. Despite opening a restaurant at the start of the pandemic, able to serve only take-out for months, Manila Fiesta has found a groove. With a bigger kitchen now at her disposal, Luciano’s menu of home cooking from the Philippines knows no bounds. She regularly offers sisig, a tasty pile of seasoned and diced pork and chicken liver; peanut-based kare kare; crispy pata, deep fried pork knuckle; and dinuguan, the rich Filipino stew thickened with pork blood. Check social media for her daily specials and call ahead to reserve. 

1952 McGilchrist St SE
Salem, OR 97302

15. Santiam Brewing

2544 19th St SE, Salem, OR 97302

Tucked into an industrial park not far from Salem’s airport is a little taste of the United Kingdom. Santiam Brewing’s pub menu leans hard towards British dishes such as Cornish pasties, savory pies, sausage rolls, and Scotch eggs. Co-owner Ian Croxall, who is originally from Derby, started cooking these traditional dishes — the things he couldn’t get elsewhere and missed — at home and eventually at the brewpub. After a while, they began to dominate the menu. Croxall is particular about ingredients, going out of the way to source back bacon for the weekends-only full English breakfast. He also buys imported marrowfat peas to make proper mushy peas, an essential accompaniment to fish and chips battered using their own beer. British beer fans rejoice, this is the place to find an array of cask-conditioned ales and bitters.

2544 19th St SE
Salem, OR 97302

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16. Big Blue Thai BBQ

2679 Commercial St SE, Salem, OR 97302

Before Eem started serving smoked meats and Thai curries in North Portland, Big Blue Thai Barbecue was selling smoky grilled pork, fiery green papaya salad, and fragrant jasmine rice out of a food truck an hour south. Permanently stationed in a parking lot along SE Commercial Street, owners Kanyanat Puthdee and Ray Johnson cook pork and Thai sausage to order on a Japanese binchotan charcoal grill on the truck’s open-air back “porch.” While grilled meats anchor most of the plates, the cart also offers two excellent curries: one peanut-based, and the other a fragrant bowl of green curry with sweet longans. Order to-go or eat at one of Big Blue’s picnic tables, which Johnson had custom built to sit level on the sloping pavement. 

2679 Commercial St SE
Salem, OR 97302

17. Beehive Station

1510 Fabry Rd SE s, Salem, OR 97306

On the far southwest side of Salem — pretty close to Enchanted Forest, TBH — is Beehive Station, Salem’s original destination for food truck eats. Though there are tent-covered seating areas and propane heaters, Beehive is largely outdoors (think: firepit and festival vibes). Try the soft pretzels at Peace Love Pretzels, piroshki and pelmeni at Authentic Russian Taste, The Easy Otter’s waffle iron-pressed paninis, Baja Fish’s tacos, or the Hungry Gnomad’s Iowa-style pork cutlet sandwiches. A bar cart pours Oregon beers and hard ciders from nearby farm-cidery Bauman’s.

1510 Fabry Rd SE s
Salem, OR 97306

Related Maps