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Puhleeze ... there must be SOMETHING between the sound and Portland

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I travel regularly between Portland and Seattle on business, and usually find myself in need of something interesting (in the evening) in Chehalis or Longview or Olympia or any town in between. I've been to the little restaurant that serves one entree only in Richfield. But mostly I've been very, very hungry -- since chowhounding means avoiding the indelicious I simply can't find anything to eat. Any ideas? I've heard there's a "chicken and dumplings" place in Centralia(?). Any ideas are appreciated.

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  1. Try Capitale in Olympia. It's on Capitol Way South, just about a 1/2 mile from the Capitol Building. There is a little park across the street. I think it may be on the same block as a Ramada Inn. It's basically Italian and the brownies are worth the trip. We stop there whenever we go through Olympia, about 4 times a year. There is also the Spar Restaurant. The Spar is on 4th Avenue East, about three blocks from Capitale. It is an old restaurant that looks pretty much the way it was when it was a loggers' joint. The breakfasts are teriffic.

    1. There is a great spot in Tacoma (actually Fife) called "Fife Bar & Grill" it's between a tire shop and a motel, just off I-5. . The chef is a CIA grad and the food is very good. I always try and stop there on my way out or into town.

      1. Yes, there is a place! Try Mary McCrank's. I've been there a few times. It's a 1940's era road house/restaurant on route 99 in Chehalis or Centralia. The food hasn't changed much since the 40s, so it's vintage Americana comfort food. I'm not certain they have chicken and dumplings, but I'm pretty sure they do. Save room for pie!

        I don't remember exactly how to get there from I-5. Anyone?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Brendan

          I second the vote for this charming and delicious dinner house. As I recall, you take exit number 76 from I-5, head east until the road ends, turn right and head south for about 3 to 4 miles. Mary McCrank's is on the left.

          1. re: Darren

            While I've yet to make it to Mary McCrank's, I've also heard good things...the menu I saw once had lots of old-school favorites, like chicken and dumplings.

        2. I used to make this drive a lot, and I had a couple favorites. Burgerville in Centralia, Longview, and Woodland - Great burgers (including a good turkey burger), and seasonal specials included deep fried portabella mushrooms strips in the fall and blackberry milk shakes and Walla Walla sweet onion rings (one order is enough to share!). Personally, the Woodland one is easiest to get to, Centralia 2nd and the one in Longview is actually on the border of Longview/Kelso.

          In Olympia, there is Meconi's Subs, about three blocks from the Capitol on Capitol Way S. Pepper's is pretty dependable - good enchilada combo dishes and great burritos. It is a couple blocks past the Starbucks on the square (Legion Way). The Spar, when I lived in Olympia, was our restaurant of last resort - open late, served alcohol. For breakfast and lunch, the Urban Onion is a better bet. It is on Legion Way as well, about three doors down from Starbucks. Cinnamon roll french toast was my usual...just a disclaimer it has been about a year since I have been to any of these places, but I can't imagine they have changed much.

          1. My friends in the south sound swear by Arnold's in Yelm, WA. It's a little upscale but it's in Yelm so...