It was a loss to the community when a fire burned the Otis Café on the evening of the Fourth of July last year. The kitchen of the restaurant — a well-known and popular spot on the Salmon River Highway 5 miles east of Lincoln City — was known far beyond Lincoln County. Re-views of the café ran in The New York Times (before current owner Jeff England’s purchase) and USA Today. Patrons recount stopping regularly over years and even decades.
The fire caused by spontaneous combustion destroyed the kitchen, putting twenty-four employees out of work. Licensing their home kitchen with a domestic bakery license, the England family kept their business going by selling baked goods at a local market before opening a new location in the Taft District in Lincoln City in early May.
Rescued from the fire, the old, familiar sign is now atop the new Otis Café at 4618 SE Highway 101, formerly My Master’s Antiques.
“The Otis Café is famous for serving fresh, delicious, homemade food,” the café’s website proudly states. The café is known, also, for generous portions. The homemade bread is wide and thick, a sandwich and German potatoes filling a large plate.
A handwritten sign with specials near the kitchen acknowledged those who waited patiently for a table with a sign noting, ‘Worth the weight.’
At noon on Saturday, May 22, the wait time was more than an hour. While there was still a wait time to be seated at 1:15 p.m., but it wasn’t long. The new location is more prominent and visible, with more traffic passing by. Staff
England has owned the Otis Cafe for more than two decades, working as a cook for eight years before purchasing it. “This is a true family business,” he told The News Guard in 2019 after the fire, “I met my wife at the counter here. Three of my four sons work for me in the café. My second son is my lead baker, and his wife is a waitress. My oldest is my lead cook and manager,” “
The Englands intend to open the original location when it is possible to do so. “We are continuing to work with Gary Fromm, the owner of the Otis Junction, as we definitely want to be back in our old location,” England stated. “We’ve assured him that we still consider the location in Otis to be our first location, and hope to be back there someday, and he’s assured us that we are first in line to get back into the building once it’s rebuilt.”
England expressed his appreciation to the community. “We want to let the community know that it’s our deep desire to serve them the same quality and portions of food they expect from the Otis Café, and we are so incredibly grateful for all the support we’ve received from everyone. Thank you so much!”
Offering breakfast all day, sandwiches, baked goods and specials — pork chops were on the menu May 22 — the cafe is open daily 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., closed Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.