Cafe Zenon

December 9, 2008


Cafe Zenon, a 27-year-old downtown Eugene, OR landmark, abruptly closed its doors at the end of October this year. Another victim of our current economic slowdown. When I first received the news via text from a friend back home, I nearly freaked! Zenon is my all-time favorite restaurant. A place that I visited every time I was home and one I heartily recommended to friends and out-of-towners.

Founded in 1981 by a pair of self-described food-loving hippies, Zenon was a groundbreaking bistro at the time, offering fresh local foods and an eclectic international menu. Zenon was among the first restaurants in Eugene to buy from local vendors, patronizing heirloom tomato growers, lamb farmers, mushroom pickers, all to get fresh foods for their menus, which sometimes changed four or more times a day. Zenon’s menu was inventive – Zenon chefs butchered whole animals and made their own pâtés. Zenon bakers created their pastries from scratch – and thems were some yummy pastries! The servers worked at Zenon for eight, 10, 15 and 27 years. My favorite, Judith, was with them 17 years!

I’ve heard that they are hoping someone local, or maybe even the original owners, will revive Cafe Zenon. Please, please, please let this be the case! A treasure like this is not meant to sit empty. The wooden chairs and marble tables are meant to be filled with happy diners. There are yummy wines to be drunk, fantastic meals to eat, and all sorts of wonderful memories left to be made at this cornerstone bistro.


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