I have recently been called a "foodie." According to Wikipedia, a Foodie is an informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink. Wikipedia also claims it was coined in 1981. I guess me hooting and hollering when we drove by Salem's new food pod (3905 Silverton Rd, 1/2 block west of Lancaster) is proof enough that I am, indeed, a foodie.
A few years ago, I would have said it was very hard to be a foodie in Salem, home of the fast food joints and chain restaurants. Recently, Salem has started to grow up and we've got a number of good and diverse local restaurants. We've decided to not eat at non-local restaurants, that if we're going out to eat, we want our money to stay in our community (Confession: We make exceptions for our occasional fast food visit and I do frequent Starbucks on occasion).
As happy as all of the new development makes me, I wonder about something. It seems like many of the new restaurants opening are more of the fine dining type, with dinners generally costing $15 and up. Like most Americans today, we are saving more of our pennies, certainly being more careful with them. This limits the opportunity we have to visit these establishments. For us, they become "special occasion" restaurants. I do appreciate how a few of these restaurants like La Capitale, has a separate bar menu from their finer dining menu, offering a greater range in prices.
I wonder how many of these fine dining restaurants Salem can support. I would love to see more local, modest priced restaurants that offer a variety of dining choices. While Salem pretty much has the Mexican and Chinese restaurant scene covered, a good hometown deli that is open for dinner too or more bistro style restaurants, like Word of Mouth would be a great addition. And if they were opened in West Salem, I certainly would not complain.
So Salem, what kind of food do you want to see in Salem?