Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quick bite: Allan Bros. Camp 13 Beanery

I stopped in at the new Camp 13 Beanery (so named because it's on campus at 13th and Agate, inside the Glass Castle that is the new Student Athlete center) for a quick bite at lunch recently. I had earlier sent two scouts (C & R) to check the place out about a week ago, and they reported back that it was modern, weird, and definitely served food.

All of that is true. It's a full-fledged Allan Bros. operation, with the same fare the Hilyard Beanery has on hand: coffee and espresso, pastries, quiches (4 selections at lunch today: three were vegetarian!), soups, and salads. What this one adds is a selection of pizzas and a handful of sandwiches that I can't remember seeing at the other places. There are vegetarian options galore, but also options like Thai Chicken Salad and your usual meat-eater pizza fare, with prices starting at about $4.95.

That's the food. Here's the weird: Most of the food is named for famous UO alums. So for lunch today, I had the "Leann Warren," a panino1 with three cheeses (cheddar, jack, and cream cheese), spinach, tomato, and pesto on a thin-crusted focaccia-type bread. Did it feel weird to order Leann Warren for lunch? You bet it did.

The sandwich itself was pretty good -- toasted to the point of drippy-melting cheese and not at all hard to eat. The cost, though, was a little alarming: good ol' Leann cost me $8.40, with a bottled soda. Eep!

150C1563-6F1E-4269-A39E-0164C65B2646.jpgThe place itself is definitely done in Nike Modern, which is to say there's the touch of money everywhere. The café is open to the lobby and has about 12 booths, half of which are two-seaters, all of which are strange modern drop-from-the-wall numbers. It was busy at lunch time but not quite overcrowded -- two small tables outside seem to signal that there will, eventually, be room for overflow outside. And I suppose one could take one's coffee and bagel to these odd couches around the indoor fire, if one was so inclined.

Final note: when I asked about the restrooms, the cashier warned me "not to freak out, because they are kind of scary." That's a pretty accurate assessment. The bathrooms have floor-to-ceiling frosted glass stalls with heavy, slow-closing doors; black, automatic sinks and toilets; and strange little LED light clusters in the blue-tiled walls. They also have a Dyson Hand Vacuum (or whatever it's called) instead of the oh-so-old-fashioned paper towels.

I think overall I'd rather spend $1 less for a sandwich than have a chance to use the "world's most hygenic hand-dryer," but that's just me. This would be a decent place to study in the middle of an afternoon, when the campus lunch crowd isn't around. It offers free wifi and two very shiny wide-screen Apple iMacs for those who can't bring their own.

Location: 13th and Agate, inside the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes.

Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.; Sat: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.; Sun: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Discounts: 10% off for students; $.35 cents off any drink if you bring your own mug.

1 It's panino if it's just one, panini if it's more than one. I know, I should adapt and "speak American," but this is one I can't let go of.


  1. That looks like a coffee shop you might find on the moon. I would be afraid I'd get something dirty just standing there to order.

    I prefer a "threadbare and overstuffed chair" feel for my coffeeshops.

  2. I can attest that it's a fine place to spend an afternoon, as I did just that my first time. The booths are hard and sort of uncomfortable, but I still managed to occupy one for about three hours without any permanent disability. It was quiet, the folks were friendly, and the view was amazing. And the Dyson Blade was very, very cool. I want one for my house. That Dyson guy...damn.

  3. That hand-dryer was frightening. I can't believe it's actually "the most hygenic hand-dryer in the world," because how do you keep from touching the sides with your hands? There are JETS OF AIR being shot at you. It's like a test!