Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cat Cavern

Cat Cavern is located in Salem, Oregon, on the Willamette University campus, second floor of the Putnam University Center.

Cat Cavern basically has a large communal dining area with the food in the back of the...cavernous room (pun intended). One has a choice of any (or all) of the following: burgers, quesadillas, sandwiches, wraps, and a salad bar with fresh fruits and vegetables.

I arrived around 11 a.m., right when the place was set to open for lunch. I opted for Bearcat Grill today, which serves scrumptious burgers and quesadillas.

I ordered the "Build-Your-Own Buffalo Burger" with all the toppings ($6.25): a buffalo patty (local Oregon buffalo), with grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, crispy bacon, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, raw red onion, and my choice of cheese (I went with pepperjack cheese today). All the delectable ingredients are encased between a toasted Cascade Baking Company white or wheat bun...I chose wheat.

Buffalo burger from Bearcat Grill inside Cat Cavern (Willamette University)
A decent-sized quality buffalo burger!
The awesome cross-section
Oh, how things would have been different had I gotten gourmet burgers like this when I was in undergrad...probably woulda gained a good 30 pounds over the semester. Just a delicious burger here. The buffalo patty -- which is much leaner than a beef patty -- still had some juiciness to it. The crispy bacon and the zip of the pepperjack alone would have been great with this burger. But then the perfectly sauteed mushrooms, the sweet-and-tangy BBQ sauce, and the refreshing raw vegetables made this a blissful experience. And a properly toasted bun to top it all off. One of those times where I wanted more than one stomach to keep eating. Probably the only thing I didn't care for on the plate was the dinky orange wedge I got.

Bearcat Grill has several burger choices, which actually surprised me. Perhaps it's partly because I stayed away from the cafeterias in undergrad, opting for (Americanized) Chinese food, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Subway, or Jamba Juice.

Cat Cavern may not have the ambiance of a fine-dining restaurant, but it's still more than acceptable for a communal on-campus cafeteria. Worth the $6.25 and then some. I'll definitely be back for more of what Cat Cavern has to offer! 8.25/10

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