Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Moving On Up: McMenamin's High Street Brewery and Café

There have been (and will continue to be) some long stretches of silence here, I think, because I am in the process of moving. No, not out of Eugene, but more into the northern heart of it. Like all moves, this one has involved not only a lot of chances to eat out -- my entire kitchen is in boxes, after all -- but also very few chances to write about the eating, since all of my Internet are belong to Comcast.

Last Saturday, however, I had such a positive experience at McMenamin's High Street location that it cannot go without comment. Picture this: four hungry movers (myself and three guys) with widely varying tastes in food, all of whom are my responsibly to feed and keep happy (since they are the ones who safely delivered my washer and dryer to their new abode). Where could we go that everyone could agree on? And -- above that -- where could we go that would let us take advantage of the sunny, cool first weekend of July?

We went to High Street. Summer is the season for High Street, after all. More than any other McM property in town, it benefits from the rain with what seems like at least a 100 percent increase in its seating options. The deck out back allows for seating in sun or shade, and although it was right at noon, the emptying out of Eugene for the holidays gave us a quiet lunch with quick service. Better than all of that, though, this is not the High Street of my last memory: no, finally, a full menu has come to High Street. No more cheesy (not in the food sense) French bread pizzas! Instead, all of the usual McM's dishes were there -- the burgers, the sandwiches, and for me, the High Pasta, with its tasty toasted hazlenuts on a plate of pasta drenched in oily pesto and cheese. Real food and unique specials at High Street? Surely you jest.

No joke, though. The menu is in full force. We had tater tots to start, and they were as solid and crunchy and satisfyingly salty as always. It's a testament to the size of the platter and to the quality of the rest of the food that a few were left behind.

I really enjoyed my pasta, even though it still seems a bit overpriced at nearly $10. Two of the guys had the same thing: a pulled pork sandwich going by the name of Newton's Third Law, which is a current/temporary special. It involved some equal and opposite collision between shredded pork and a barbecue sauce that had Hammerhead Ale in it; jalapeños, frizzled onions (still not sure what that means), and smoked mozzarella were also involved. It got raves from both eaters. Another mover went with the Terminator Sausage Sandwich, which was apparently not only nicely done but very well complimented by the McM's brand mustard, which features their Edgefield wine.

I basically left the place reminded of all the reasons I like High Street -- convenient location, often less crowded than Eugene's other two branches, cozy but not ridiculously close together; great beer selection; good, quick, casual service -- while having my number one quibble (lackluster food choices) scratched out.

The only criticism I came away with was the lack of milkshakes -- oh, my kingdom on that day for a Terminator-Chocolate number. Other than that, High Street, you have my vote for the summer. I'll be back soon -- perhaps to try out your happy hour.

Location: 1243 High Street

Hours: Monday - Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
High Street Brewery & Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. Now I am extra-bummed I had to leave to go to work. Also? The milkshake thing would have been a very great tragedy.

  2. I, too, was bummed. But this just means we'll have to go try their happy hour together some time!