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“Quality and service depend upon the time of day”

McMenamins Spar Cafe
Ranked #14 of 350 Restaurants in Olympia
Certificate of Excellence
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Lacey, WA USA
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Quality and service depend upon the time of day”
Reviewed November 9, 2006

We have had spotty experience at this historic restaurant / pub / tobacconist. The breakfast (6:00am to 11:0am) food and service are wonderful with large servings of delicious food at good prices and efficient, cheerful waitresses. We suffered through four LOUSY lunch/dinner experiences with long waits to receive cold, incorrect orders from stunningly indifferent servers, both service and food were appalling. The problem is likely the difference in the ages between the AM and PM waitstaff. In the mornings the women have all been waitressing for decades and enjoy their jobs while afternoons are worked by much younger (college age) people that act as if the diners are an annoying interruption. We have learned to avoid The Spar after 12:00pm

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4 Thank chameleondreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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218 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    64
    86
    39
    22
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Olympia, WA
1 review
“Terrible Food, Terrible Service”
Reviewed November 5, 2006

I have been to The Spar on several occasions only to be served terrible food and terrible service. The "fresh fruit" was old and the managers (possiby the owners) have been rude on every visit. I've gone back for the atmosphere, but on my last visit I decided to throw in the towel.

Helpful?
Thank Olympian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Not an experience to be missed!!!”
Reviewed February 8, 2005

The Spar is a wonderfully historic place, a public time capsule. The state politicians still lunch there, the waitresses know most of their customers name's, and on weekend mornings the Spar acts double for a good breakfast and a place to catch up on the news (that the news stand provides in the front). The photos almost give a museum-like feel, displaying a century's worth of memories for the capital city. It also has Olympia's only and oldest cigar bar and in the back there are big comfy chairs to enjoy those cigars.

Helpful?
1 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olympia, WA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Disappointed”
Reviewed January 24, 2005

I don't know if we went on an "off" night or not. I know The Spar has been there forever so how could it always be that bad? I had what was suppose to be a steak but it was literally tough as shoe leather and the waitress was tired and grouchy. I'm afraid to try it again -- there's many other places here that are reliably good...

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1 Thank cakimmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
134 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
“a blast from the past-a must see, even if you don't eat there”
Reviewed January 23, 2005

The Spar is an incredible cafe/luncheonette/restaurant because of it's authentic ambiance. Comparing it to the photos that are on the walls, it hasn't changed much in 70(?) years. So well worth a visit to see the insides.
I've eaten there a few times-the food was decent, but not memorable. Good fountain drinks can be served up at a long counter-the kids love it. Charming cigar counter.
With so many other restaurants looking just like each other, the Spar is a bastion of indviduality. Not to be missed if you're visiting Olympia, or passing through on I-5. Parking can be a bit tricky, as there's no parking lot, but I can usually find a spot within three blocks . The Spar is only 2 minutes off I-5, so think of seeing it on a Portland-Seattle trip.

Helpful?
2 Thank 133travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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