My wife Bessie and I opened this place fifteen years ago. At the time, we saw a real lack of places to eat affordable food fast, other than the drive-by McDonald’s-type of fast food restaurants. We saw parents running around between work and picking up their kids from soccer practice, with no real place to go for fast healthy food. This became our motivation.
Initially, our goal was simply to provide our clients with reasonably-priced meals, quickly enough that they wouldn’t have to wait—they could call and pre-order, and then pick their meal at the window. And we did it! But pretty soon, the lines were so long at the pick-up window that we had to open the inside of our kitchen to our customers as well. And so we became a restaurant.
At that point, it was still just Bessie and me running the place by ourselves; I would bring the customer’s food to the counter and point them to come get it. If they chose to eat in the restaurant, they could, but all we had to offer them were paper plates and plastic silverware. We were, basically, a self-service-paper-plate-and-plastic food establishment.
It wasn’t long before our regular customers grew fond of the quality of our food and they demanded to be able to enjoy their meals in our restaurant in a real sense. Their wish moved Chef’s Kitchen in the direction where we are today: a full-service fine dining establishment with real silverware, plates, glasses, and dessert and wine menus.
3443 Hilyard St.
Eugene, OR 97401