Let's talk about food: Café culture

The Green Salmon in Yachats seems equal parts coffeehouse, cafe and tea room.

My first visit to a coffee shop was in college. A new, sophisticated friend suggested meeting at some cool and very hip spot. I followed her lead and ordered a latte. I’ve been all in since then, fascinated by cafe culture.

Here at the coast we have mostly cafes where focus is more on the food served. Starbucks in Newport is the most visible example of a traditional coffeehouse, the coffee the main focus in all of its varieties and ways of presentation, as well as a place to leisurely gather. Especially during the busy times, it’s difficult to hang out for long in many of our wonderful, local cafes when there are people waiting for a seat to eat their meals.

The Green Salmon Coffee and Tea House in Yachats seems to walk the line between a coffeehouse and cafe, and their extensive collection of teas rival any teahouse. When we moved here in the fall several years ago, it was one of the first places we discovered. We made a habit of coffee (or hot chocolate) with a pastry on the weekends.

We like to play checkers there and people watch. Yachats draws an eclectic, international crowd. It’s been fun for the three of us to sit at the big table when there wasn’t a smaller one available. We’ve made friends sharing that table.

The Green Salmon roasts their own coffee in-house, so there is certainly a focus on coffee. And while it attracts many of the area’s tourists, it’s also favorite of locals. It’s a busy place in the center of town with great food, coffee and tea.

Currently open Friday through Monday, the Green Salmon is offering take out and outside dining only. They do plan to be open six days a week staring July 8. Like many businesses, they are evolving, developing practices to stay in business while keeping employees and customers safe.

The pandemic has at least temporarily altered cafe culture here at the coast. I’ve been doing a lot of drive through for coffee. I haven’t met a friend for coffee or lunch out since all of this began. I miss it. I miss hearing laughing all around me in a crowded place, sitting down with a friend and catching up.

Writing this, I’m reminded that I don’t have to wait until the Green Salmon and the many other coffeeshops and cafes have resumed regular operations. I’m going to call the friend with whom lunch is long overdue, the friendship we were building halted by the current circumstances. Long on my list of places to try is La Maison in Newport. I’m going to suggest take-out and a spot overlooking water.

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