Being a well known local restaurant has its advantages. The big name of McMenamin’s might pull people in, but the slow service and cavalier attitude towards customers leaves the beer good and the service flat.

Thompson’s Brewery and Public House hosts all the traditional great beers that McMenamin’s is famous for: Terminator, Ruby and Nitro and many seasonal varieties that bring the local zing to the season. Problem is, management doesn’t have enough servers on hand to keep up with the demand. Sure the servers are hard working, but it’s hard to keep morale as hot as the food sitting and waiting to be served … when everyone is waiting.

I walked up to the bar to order a beer to go with dinner, and was told they didn’t have a bartender and would have to order with dinner. A bar without a bartender? Yeah, that happened.

The crisp tater tots and mouthwatering hamburgers are worth the wait, as long as you are prepared for it. The Hammerhead Garden burger is a popular option, and fresh salads do deliver flavor. However if you are looking to impress a buddy with local small town flair, re-think your options.

When an establishment is left with three employees to make a crowd happy, it’s no doubt going to go sour. If ordering a Nitro only gets you a pint full of excuses after the twenty minute wait for a beer then I’d rather go with a Bud.

Consider one of the local, non-franchised options with local management that has a pulse on the community and wants to serve, not just turn a profit. If you’re really craving a McMenamin’s brew, then try out Boon’s Treasury, the second Salem location, which seems to have more effective training on customer service.