Salem has a new restaurant, and might I say a very outstanding one. The Acme Café recently opened after much anticipation to rave reviews, and I got the opportunity to join friends Bradd and Claudia for breakfast Sunday Morning, December 15, 2013.
The Acme is a fusion of real life partners Jeff James and Cecilia Ritter James. Both well known in the Salem area: Jeff for J. James, and Cecilia for the Wild Pear. Acme Café is located at 110 Hansen Ave South, near Office Max and Roth’s Vista.Market. There is lots of parking and access is easy in and out.
The decor is old style sheik, with old gas pumps and Mason Jar lighting. There is a great homage to bar seating, and old time booths. Staff was pleasant and informed. Although I was there for breakfast, my server offered me the dinner menu to peruse, and explained the hours and style of the place. Very nice and accommodating. I even got the chance to meet Cecilia, as she is good friends with Claudia, which was a wonderful treat as I had heard so much about her from other mutual friends.
As with any breakfast I started off with coffee. Acme has its own roast blend, and it is very good. Rich and complex and in flavor, it rivals any coffee in the Salem area. It is also for sale by the bag in either whole bean or ground variety. Staff was excellent about never letting my cup get too empty which is always appreciated on a Sunday morning!!! My only comment here, and it is a small one, and probably my own personal taste, but when serving coffee in a cup, as opposed to a mug, I like to have the saucer with the cup. I know this really doesn’t seem like a cup and saucer place, more a mug place, but it is just me and my peccadillo.
My companions each had the traditional eggs benedict, which is served with house made hollandaise. The eggs were perfect, not overcooked, and the dish was reported to be excellent and highly recommended. I was told that on a previous visit they had tried the chicken and waffles, and they gave that dish high praise as well. I teetered on my choice between the chicken and waffles, which I haven’t had in decades, and the chicken fried chicken.
I settled on the chicken fried chicken, which is a play on chicken fried steak. The dish was amazing! The chicken was perfectly cooked with a light batter and nicely seasoned. The chicken sat on top of what I generally refer to as Potatoes O’Brien. Cottage potatoes fried with small chunks of onion and red and green pepper. A marvelous house made sausage gravy then was ladled over the top of the chicken, allowing it to flow over and into the potatoes. The dish was accompanied by two nicely cooked over easy eggs, that when broken made a blend of flavors (chicken, potatoes, gravy and egg) that exploded in your mouth and made you smile with joy and excitement for the next bite.
Overall, this was a marvelous first experience. The atmosphere is energetic, staff very accommodating and the food is top notch. I can’t wait to try a lunch and then a dinner there. 2014 will bring many visits to Acme Café, and it should to you as well.