On one of these lovely days that offer a sneak preview of spring - I'm beginning to scent blossoming things! - what more pleasant way to learn a little lore of Salem than to go on a walking tour of the Court-Chemeketa Historic District.
At the end of the stroll a refreshing beer beckons, of course.
The hot new place in town is Word of Mouth Neighborhood Bistro.
It is located in what looks to be a 19-teens craftsman style home just outside of the Court-Chemeketa Historic District (big pdf). It's been updated with a comfy "crate & barrel" bungalow style. Many of the original rooms remain, so the dining and drinking areas are never large. There's a short bar with a handful of chairs. (There's a distracting TV, alas. Does a charming neighborhood bistro really need a TV?)
The owners have roots in Salem and interestingly have experienced nearly all the historic buildings downtown. At one time they operated Busick Court in the Bush-Brey Annex, The Pointe in the Bush-Brey Block, and The Brick in the Gray building.
They also have a blog.
Eat Salem has a full review of the food and updates on the evolving menu. The Word recently added dinner service.
The Word has three taps: Deschutes Black Butte Porter & Mirror Pond Pale Ale, as well as Lost Coast Great White. Like the furniture and decor, it's a comfy tap list, and one I don't expect is likely to change much.
The Word is a restaurant for walking to. It's the kind of restaurant all walkable neighborhoods need.
Now if they'll just ditch the TV and add bike parking, it might be perfect.