The Cooler
20 Centennial Loop
Eugene, OR 97401
(541) 484-4355

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Eugenified.com rating: 1 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 5

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The Cooler. It’s got a cool name. The entire building looks like a big walk-in refrigerator (hence the name) including the big wooden cooler-ish front door. It’s also got a bunch of neon beer signs, a real live moosehead (not exactly live anymore) on the wall, and a couple of nice looking pool tables…Oh, did I mention that this place is basically a bar serving food? Well, it is. And usually that does not bode well for the quality of food, especially breakfast food.

Before I go any further, I should say that I have only eaten breakfast food at The Cooler. No matter what time of day, I always order breakfast there. And that should give you a pretty good idea about the breakfast food. But you should also know that they also serve burgers and other such food. They even have a $5 burger & beer special on Monday nights from 5-9pm. Don’t ask me how it tastes though. [See update below for other food options]

Location? It’s off Coburg on Centennial. But if you are on Coburg, you can only get to it if you are driving north. If you are driving south on Coburg, then you will sadly see it pass by on the left side, and then you will be forced to continue driving south, with no chance of a left or u-turn until you reach Grant’s Pass. That’s a long way to go just for breakfast. Plan your route accordingly.

Service-wise, you can sum it up by saying they are friendly and relaxed. One server’s a college-y kid and another is a little older. The most memorable server is the lady who should go by the name of “Flo” (though she doesn’t) and should smoke incessantly and have a raspy voice (but she doesn’t). She’s a little harried during busy lunch hours, but friendly enough once things slow down a bit.

On the topic of the staff, is that white-haired guy the owner? He seemed to be doing the accounting at one of the dining tables, so I must point out that I find that a little annoying. Sorta like this is his own personal living space and I, the poor customer, am intruding upon it. Come on, guy! Work in your office and leave the dining area to me, zee paying cuztomer.

OK, enough griping. Let’s talk breakfast food. Their eggs are good as expected, but that’s not so difficult to achieve. Cajun home fries are really tasty (green pepper and onions) though not very Cajun in my view. But the bacon…oh, the bacon! It is simply the best bacon in the world. You know how restaurants always describe their bacon on the menu as “thick-sliced”, but then it never actually appears on your table as thick-sliced? In fact, it appears quite “thin” so you have to wonder what actual thin-sliced bacon would look like…(cough, Glenwood restaurant, cough, cough). Well, “thick-sliced” bacon at The Cooler is really and truly “thick”. And “sliced”. Vincent Vega would love it! (“Bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste good”). The biscuits are another home run at The Cooler. Fresh, tasty, and just the right mix of oily and bready. Just these two items alone give The Cooler a good rating for their breakfast food.

Admittedly, the place is not so nice to look at…basically, pool tables, a bar, and lots of flatscreen TV’s. And, of course, it has a slightly stale beer smell. Also I have some doubts about the cleanliness of the kitchen. Plus, one time I got my eggs, and they tasted like a bottle of Chanel No. 5 had been dropped into the mix. On the other hand, good food, especially good breakfast food, is hard to find in good ol’ Eugene, so that makes The Cooler still a solid four star breakfast choice. As of this review, The Cooler is the best breakfast food in Eugene!

Update: I finally broke down and ordered something other than breakfast: a burger and fries. Well, actually, the burger comes with potato chips which the staff recommends, but I found them (the chips, not the staff) to be quite boring. So the second (and third) time, I ordered a burger and fries. The fries were much tastier than the boring potato chips. As for the burger, it was excellent. Good taste and reasonable size. Not quite as good as Cornucopia’s burger, but a very close second (Note that Cornucopia seems to be trying a new meat patty at their new/second location, and it totally sucketh. If they stick with the new one, then The Cooler will grab the title for best burger in Eugene).

Update, Aug 2010: Seriously, Cooler guys, you gotta do something about the massive number of flies in your fine establishment. Like, say, for example, CLOSE THE GODDAMN DOOR BEHIND THE KITCHEN FOR A START! I am sitting here at my table and staring at that huge door that has been left open for the last 30 minutes. Do you think that maybe I have found the source of all the annoying/dirty flies that are presently attempting to fly-vomit on my breakfast platter? Ya think?

I am deducting one star for fly overpopulation until this problem is fixed.

Eugenified.com rating: 1 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 51 vote, average: 3.00 out of 5

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