We hate to give negative reviews. We really do. But this experience was just something else. We can’t say it was altogether bad but it certainly wasn’t altogether good.
For a few years now we’ve been hearing about how great Silverton, Oregon is. “It’s so cute!” is the going refrain and with this we cannot disagree. It is an incredibly cute little town which is home to roughly 10,000 people who we are convinced love the place. Really, it would be hard not to. As far as small towns go, this one is very beautiful and looks inviting. The downtown area is well traversed – by cars, that is – and should by all appearances be something of a “happening place.” We decided to make the drive to Silverton one evening to poke around as well as hike some waterfalls in the nearby area.
We arrived downtown at about 4:30 p.m. The streets were bustling with car traffic and the first thing we noticed – as pedestrians – was that there are no stoplights in the downtown area. Now, we wouldn’t normally complain about this but there is so much traffic that it makes for a guessing game that we didn’t really feel comfortable playing. Perhaps there is an unwritten code of behavior for how and when to cross the road that is known to the locals, but as out-of-towners we found this a little unsettling.
Making the decision to get off the main street for a second, we walked down a short flight of steps which were located off the main thoroughfare and onto this little covered bridge. It offered a nice covering and a spot to stop and enjoy Silver Creek for a few minutes. If you walk through the bridge to the other side you can take a look at the (small) park and war memorial which honors local citizens who have served in America’s wars.
One notable feature of the downtown area are the large murals painted on walls and buildings all over the area. Here is a map to Silverton’s many murals. The most interesting one to us was of Bobbie the Wonder Dog. (Curious? Follow that link to The Silvertonian.) Bobbie is quite the legend! Even Rin Tin Tin visited his gravesite.
The shops downtown are indeed as cute as anyone has ever told us. The only problem is that they all close between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. We were able to walk through one small antique shop and that was it. Everything else was closed.
We decided we might as well find some place to eat and then head on to the waterfalls since the town had gone to sleep for the day.
That turned out to be a nice thought, but not a very practical one. Trying to find a restaurant that was open was equally challenging, unless we wanted wood fire pizza (which admittedly was tempting) from a street vendor. Even the Silver Creek Coffee House was closed! We wouldn’t even bother to mention that but we had stopped to ask a local for advice on a good place to eat. “It depends on what you like. There’s a Diary Queen down the street or The Creekside Grill is open.” Given the options, we walked towards The Creekside Grill. We had to pass the coffee house to get to the Grill and a lady standing outside the coffee shop rather emphatically informed us that the coffee shop was closed. At 5:05. Yes, we know. Thank you.
We arrived at The Creekside Grill to find it empty of customers. We stood outside the main door and waited to be seated as the sign instructed. An employee walked by and, without making eye contact, asked us if we’d like to see a menu. “Yes, please.” He handed us one and walked away again. We wondered if eating here was going to be a good idea. In a minute or two a second employee stuck her head around the corner and asked if we’d decided to eat there. “Yes.” But feeling like they didn’t seem to want us much we said we’d eat there more because there didn’t seem to be a better option.
Eventually we were seated outside – alone. It was a nice setting, overlooking Silver Creek. Very pleasant. We placed our order at the same time another couple came in to be seated. They placed their order. They ordered the same appetizers as we had. They were served first. It was admittedly a little bit hard to sit still and wait for our food to come when it felt like almost every effort was being made to let us know that we were an inconvenience and not worth bothering about. As we had placed our order though, we decided to stay.
The food was incredibly delicious. All of it was fresh, tasty and an interesting combination of flavors. Take a peek at their menu if you like. Order the zombie fries if you ever visit. You’re welcome.
We finished eating and waited for the waitress to come by. We waited for a little while and eventually decided to just get up and nag them at the counter where we ended up paying our bill. “Oh, next time make sure you stick around for dessert!”
That’s very optimistic of them, we must say. Because we can’t think of any reason to go back to a restaurant where the employees don’t care to be disturbed. We’re quite sure though that their desserts are delicious. We just had every interest in leaving not only the restaurant, but Silverton itself.
We were off to find some waterfalls! Not these. We wanted to find the Upper/Lower Butte Creek Falls which our sister had told us about. Unfortunately the directions we found for them online were inconclusive and, ultimately, we never did end up finding the falls. (We didn’t find them for lack of great directions and time constraints.) We’d still positively love to see them and we’ll try to do that again some day when we find ourselves with a free evening. However, we’ll bypass Silverton on the drive. A picnic lunch sounds like just the thing! Or perhaps some of that Old Oakview Oven pizza to go!