Whether you were born here, or are one of the many new residents, you’ve been to McMenamins. Your first visit is almost an initiation ritual for the Rose City. Even with the array of other wonderful dining options, you cannot avoid McDonaldmin’s.
When you first hear they’ve turned an entire elementary school into one large drinking/dining oasis, you can’t help but settle your curiosity with a visit. And if the Beavers play in the National Championship game for baseball, there is no better place than Mission Theater to watch, drink, and celebrate. I like how their alternative dinning experience is almost universal, providing a similar atmosphere with any location. NE 15th and Broadway feels identical to the 82nd location. The White Eagle looks like it could be the lounge for the Mission Theater. Beer and food options are very similar in taste and offer a surprising consistency in presentation. Unfortunately, you also get their terrible service.
It is funny that with so much attention paid to the detail of the properties, the matching wallpaper and twee paintings, the attention to customer service is so abysmal. No matter at what location you dine, the wait staff seems to hate your existence. I’m not sure whether they are underpaid and/or understaffed, but your presence is not welcome. The “Wait here to be seated” sign means wait…and then be greeted with a curt “Sit anywhere.” A 45 minute delay for your food is almost expected. This of course, comes after you’ve waited 20 minutes for the first round of delicious beers. Its ALMOST bearable due to the fact that McMenamins’ brews an amazing selection of micros and cooks up delicious burgers. If you enjoy being ignored and left alone, man (or woman) you have come to the right place.
Eventually, everyone comes to the realization that McMenamins’ service is so bad, it’s not worth going there. Even if the tater-tots are nuggets of greasy gold. Here are tips to boost your McMenamins’ experience from horrific to okay:
- Eat before you go
I recommend Burgerville for a comparable food experience. Time saved= 60 minutes
- Order by the pitcher
Unless you are sitting at the bar, plan on a 30 minute wait between beers. Time saved= 30 minutes
- Avoid Happy Hour
At no point does McMenamins’ service represent happiness. Time saved= Infinite x 100 hours
- Masquerade as a hippy
The wait staff will feel like you are one of them, and not some rich kid from Beaverton or a tourist. Time saved= 45 minutes
- Cash only
Do you want to add another 20 minutes for your server to bring the check? Time saved= 20 minutes