Review on Philomath’s Dizzy Hen: The Vertigo You’ll Beg For

  In a time when the days and weeks are laden with grey, the foreseeable months destined for their true calling of wet on wet on wet, comfort has become crucial. It is our best bet, the ace up our sleeve when the table goes cold. Having an arsenal of tactics to combat the long winter is integral. A smart place to start is breakfast. And the best place for that is Dizzy Hen.

  Naturally sunlit on a corner of Philomath’s Main Street, Dizzy invites without the help of bells or whistles. It doesn’t need them. 

Instead, this breakfast cafe relies solely on scratch-made food using quality, local ingredients and serving it all up in an easy, open setting with breezy, kind staff. This restaurant has put all its eggs in the honest-to-goodness basket from the start. And it shows.

  Once inside, it’s near impossible to feel anything but warmly, casually and genuinely welcomed. With the familiarity of a diner wrapped up in the rustic sensibility of a farmhouse, Dizzy Hen sweetens the deal with thoughtful, simple but masterfully executed dishes. The bakery case makes the first impression upon arrival; stacks of cookies, the chocolate crumbs glittering the display board, baskets of croissants, both sweet and savory (I tried a variation of a bear claw that entailed countless buttery layers protecting a sweet, almond paste center. It was like the traditional bear claw that went out, bought a suit, and got his life together.). Scones are part of the regular cast, along with something called Morning Buns, a signature at The Hen. 

The case begins the day chock-full, but don’t count on that cornucopia as lunchtime rolls around — the goods go fast. While Dizzy shines brightest as a sit-down restaurant, one where customers can linger over the paper through multiple coffee refills, it has also cultivated a name for top-tier bakery to-go. Secret’s out. 

  A variety of seating fills the restaurant, from cozy corner tables to a small counter in the window (for when you want to be away from the crowd but still have a good view of the crowd). Cookbooks are stacked and shelved around the perimeter of the restaurant, the decor a mix of tasteful, colorful art and farmhouse fun. If you sit at the bar, like I did, you’ll get a good view of a chicken statue in the corner. You might hear Johnny Cash ringing out on the radio, reminding you that, in fact, good country music does exist. 

The feel of Dizzy is bright without being overbearing, friendly without being intrusive, and homey without being disheveled — a beautifully set stage for the plated main event.

  The menu is one page, not laminated, as their dishes can vary depending on seasonal produce and weekly inspiration. Classics such as biscuits and gravy, omelets with fried potatoes are staples, but Dizzy has its own set of reliable aces to play, setting it apart and above and beyond. The pork ragu served over grits and topped with a fried egg is the aforementioned ace, the queen, the king and any other royalty left in the deck. The pork falls apart in its own juice, likely to have been cooking patiently for hours in anticipation of its big moment. The flavors are rich and balanced, which elicits the layered feelings of old nostalgia and new excitement. This is the dish that will get me out of bed during a downpour. It’s the meal that makes me think maybe I do know what it is to be in love. I am unabashedly committed to this pork ragu.  

  At a time when we’re desperately seeking a way through the heaviest season, even just a rumor of a route to follow, Dizzy Hen is our pillar, our beacon, our lighthouse. Thank you for answering our S.O.S.

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