New McMinnville restaurant serves up simplicity

McMinnville’s newest 3rd Street restaurant addition, Community Plate, specializes in American cuisine, which seems disappointing at first. As much as hamburgers, chicken nuggets and macaroni serve as comfort dishes, they don’t exactly thrill the inner foodie.

However, the initial disdain of eating the same food you could find in your grandmother’s kitchen wears off with the first bite of simple, uncluttered dishes, such as steel cut oats with cream and maple syrup.

The self-described “old school cookery” lives up to its name. Community Plate offers a quiet simplicity that extends to most of the dishes on the menu, including the “grilled cheeses” sandwich, which includes a mix of cheddar, Swiss and provolone on artisan bread with a sweet onion jam.

More hearty dishes include an apple, cabbage and roasted chicken sandwich; baked macaroni and cheese and meatloaf. A variety of fresh salads helps balance the menu, such as an elegant mix of field greens, goat cheese, pickled beets and filberts.

Owner and chef Eric Bechard, who also owns Thistle, prepares these simple dishes with as many local ingredients as possible, giving the old school dining experience a progressive twist.

Along with the breakfast and lunch menu, the establishment offers a coffee bar featuring in-house baked goods and fresh roasts from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. An extensive wine list and a variety of brews are also available.

Like the food prepared there, the interior of the establishment has an old-fashioned, understated feel. The unfinished wood floors, rusted pulleys and levers on the almost-bare walls and the Avett Brothers music playing in the background give the place a relaxed, barn-like atmosphere.

Mason jars and old dairy crates line the shelves behind the counters along with cookbooks with titles, such as “The Joy of Pickling.” The main grill and kitchen space are behind a bar lined with vintage stools, giving a personal feel to the food preparation process.

The food is slightly expensive for a college budget at about $20 for an entire meal and a drink, but since the ingredients are local, the cause seems to justify it.

Community Plate opens at 7:30 a.m. and serves breakfast and lunch. The restaurant will start dinner services May 19, Thursday to Monday from 5-9 p.m.

Joanna Peterson/Managing editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at


1 Comment on New McMinnville restaurant serves up simplicity

  1. Matt O. // May 24, 2011 at 11:59 am //

    I’m not sure I agree with the price being justified. Though the food was absolutely excellent, the quantity of the items I purchased was small and the price large.

    Coffee’s great though.

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