leona's chili burger

The chili burger at Leona's Restaurant in Reedsport. 

REEDSPORT — "It has that diner smell," sports editor John Gunther exclaimed shortly after we sat down in one of the booths at Leona's Restaurant.

He explained that he always associates that smell with good food.

The exterior of Leona's Restaurant in Reedsport. The restaurant is located inside the Safeway shopping center, just to the left of the supermarket.

For those who don't know your Reedsport restaurant history, Leona, the restaurant's namesake is the same Leona from the town's regional landmark Sugar Shack Bakery.

Several years back, she sold the restaurant to Trish Warmer, who had been a waitress at Leona's for more than two decades.

Trish kept the restaurant's name, but as John and I found out, she changed the potato salad recipe.

That is, she changed it to her mom's recipe.

Our server brought out a small sample for John and me after John inquired about it, and we both agreed that it was a very nice, light potato salad.

John usually asks our servers a series of questions before he orders: What do people like? Is the cole slaw (potato salad, chili) your own recipe? Do you make your own onion rings?

Sometimes it doesn't seem like these questions are connected, but usually they are. Sometimes John can be swayed by what people order most, but in this case, he didn't have to be. She told him the burgers were a big seller for lunch. The onion ring question would have led him to one selection if they had made their own (they don't), so finding out they make their own chili sealed the deal on the chili burger you see pictured.

He said he liked the fact that not only was there cheese, onion and green onion on top, but also tomatoes (which he didn't figure would be on top of chili).

"The chili was good, and the burger was good," he said. "And I liked the presentation."

I took the opportunity to have breakfast, since they serve breakfast all day (they are open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily).

Among the assortment of choices from chicken fried steak and eggs to biscuits and gravy and omelettes, I found one item I don't remember seeing on another menu: German sausage with sauteed mushrooms and cheddar cheese.

The German sausage, mushroom and cheddar omelette at Leona's. The idea of German sausage in my breakfast made me choose this one.

Like most German sausage, it is not very intense on the spices, so it makes a good breakfast meat.

The mushrooms were done very well and sliced thinly, and the cheddar was melted well. Outside of the country potatoes, this meal fit very well with my lower-carb meal plan. They also had an option to have peaches instead of the potatoes or hash browns, but I couldn't be that good.

If you haven't been to Leona's before, it is located in the Safeway shopping center in Reedsport. If you are heading north, make a left at the light, then it is just to the left of Safeway as you are driving in.

As we exited to head south so John could get back to the basketball game he was going to be covering, he said, "That was a good diner meal."

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