More commonly known as "the Reef"!
Soooo....it's taken me a little bit to talk about this one. I needed to decompress because no lie, the Reef probably has the best food in downtown. BUT MAN.
Lets's start at the beginning. I was the first person there at 8:30am. I parked in front because how often do you get front row parking downtown Olympia?! This is the location of many of our resident homeless and mental health challenges. The tattoo place across the street is a haven because they have a great little alcove. Same with next door and to the east is a parking lot where the morning takes on the morning.
The Reef is most popular at night and I'll be honest, I've been one of THOSE people partaking in their vibe at 2am after a pub crawl. This was my first time at the Reef during the morning. Do NOT look too hard at this place. I am AMAZED it hasn't been shut down so obviously the kitchen is WAY cleaner than the actual restaurant. There is crap stacked everywhere and the "ewe factor" is strong with this place.
So let's talk food. Amazing. I had the chicken and waffles. It looked like a hot mess but it was probably the best fried chicken I have ever had. Moist, flavorful, I feel like this dude in the back is a southern wizard making something from nothing. Great coffee. Diner cups. No straws (but alas, the little creamers plastic bombs). So the food is off the charts. I think that's one of the reasons it's so popular with the night crowd. That and it's the only thing open at 2am but eh.
Now let's talk experience.
As I was sitting there, the place starts to fill up with every walk of life. I am downtown A LOT so there isn't a lot that really bothers me. This dude sits next to me, keeps getting up to ask patrons for a cig, sits again, up again, sits again, goes outside and looks in the gutter for butts, whips it off, lights, puffs, comes back in, repeat. More folk fill the place. Meth guy wearing a surgical mask, construction guys, dude in a suit, gal with sticks in her hair. It's Olympia.
Exceedingly happy with my feast, I pay the bill, say thanks and head out to my awesome parking place.
Someone who should be in the hospital had hocked a big loogie on the handle of my car. He should be in the hospital because I seriously don't know what is growing in his lungs but the color was the combo of that stringy moss you pick up with a stick in a bog and saaaaay Kermit in a blender. Now I TOTALLY understand the downtown homeless and mental health issues exploding in our small/now big city. Olympia is fielding all three city's "challenges", they can't keep up and it's a BIG point of contention. How do you balance enabling and tough love? But I have never had that "f-you" visceral response as I did that morning. I had always given the population a pass, so to speak, with the understanding that they are doing the best they can with the skills they have... and what if it were me.
With that said, I was pissed.
I went back into the restaurant and everyone was super great and super apologetic. The locals at the bar, the help, everyone. They gave me bleach, paper towels and some gloves and out I went, to scrape off the toxic waste from my door handle and to say under my breath, this is the last day I give anyone downtown "a pass".
So. Ratings. *sigh*
Location: -5. That is a NEGATIVE 5! I cannot in any form recommend parking your car in this shit show. Enough said.
Help: 5. Seriously, salt to the earth. One older man, running the joint and great. Coffee was always filled, he checked in, friendly to everyone with tough love for the morning crowd he has to endure every morning. And latex provider! ; )
Coffee: 5 Cup: 3 eh.
Green?: 3 Only dings were the creamer bombs and jammers. But eh, it's a diner
Food: 5 Awesome. Which is why I am TOTALLY bummed that I won't be back. Off the charts, great diner food.
Check out their website: The Reef
Remember, everyone has an opinion. This is just mine. I would LOVE to hear about your breakfast experiences at The Reef. Send me an email and I'll add it to the restaurant blog. Thanks for visiting!
FOLLOW UP: 10 am on a different day. In front of the restaurant, in the tattoo awning, a 300+ pound man was so loaded he can't get his pants on and they are around his knees. I will never be able to UN-SEE the amount sores on that dude's backside and ball sack. Nope.