This Independence restaurant experience is worth the price
Mollie Herron | News Editor
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Territory Restaurant is located on the first floor of the Independence Hotel in Independence, Oregon. From the restaurant there is a clear view of the Willamette River with a walking path frequented by local dog walkers. The atrium seating offered allows for patrons to enjoy the outdoors without experiencing the cold weather that so often dampens outdoor dining in Oregon. Be wary of sitting directly in the sun because the atrium has a greenhouse effect which can make it challenging to eat warmer meals.
The signature cocktail selection offered with the normal lunch and dinner menu, while only containing six drinks, provided great variety. The Smoked Mezcal Paloma, Diablitos Margarita and Sadie’s Serrano Lemondrop provide a spicy hit for those looking for more of a punch from their drinks. The Bees Knees is a refreshing lavender lemonade drink that reminds one of summer, despite the wind chill many would experience when they venture outside. The Elderflower Old Fashioned was a nice, subtle twist on a clear classic. The slight fruity and floral taste of the elderflower makes this cocktail more of an outdoor sipping drink as opposed to the sitting-in-a-dinghy-bar type of drink.
The lunch and dinner menu provides many options for vegetarian patrons and the opportunity to add meat to dishes not already containing it. One of the vegetarian options I ordered was the Cauliflower and Serrano Sandwich. The ratio of cauliflower and peppers to bread was perfect, but was somewhat lacking when it came to flavor. I felt as though I couldn’t quite taste the complete flavor profile as it wasn’t strong enough to fully come through.
The sandwiches are all served on thick slices of bread that is toasted to perfection, preventing them from getting soggy. Most are served with a side of fries that were crispy on the outside, making it almost impossible to stop eating them.
One of the cheapest meals on the menu, the grilled cheese and tomato soup, was priced at $10 but provided all the quality of a pricey meal despite its simplicity. The grilled cheese had a nice crisp surface so as to not overwhelm the eater with the gooey melted cheese center. They have recently added a corn and potato chowder to the menu which, while delicious and perfectly portioned, left me feeling way too full at the end of my meal when served with a sandwich. It could also be my fault for trying to finish all of my food.
On the higher end of the price scale is the Northern Salmon served on a bed of lentils with bacon and shimeji mushrooms. The variety of texture creates a wonderful eating experience. The salmon is cooked perfectly flakey and the lentils provide more substance to make it filling. A sweet and nutty flavor is added by the applewood bacon and mushrooms, bringing variety to a usually plain meal.
The wait staff is what really made the experience worth it. They were friendly and cracked jokes, though not too many to annoy you. I dined in on two occasions; one being a party of eight and the other a party of three. While not planning to split the check, our lovely waitress split it eight ways without us asking, which was a pleasant and greatly appreciated surprise.
If you are looking for a place to enjoy a nice meal with friends and family, or just to grab a drink, Territory is the perfect place. Overall, quality exceeds the expectations set by prices.