Strolling down Willamette Street downtown, it’s difficult to miss Claim 52 Kitchen with its open garage-style doors, patio seating out front, and black and white retro sign hanging above the entrance.
The owners, Mercy McDonald and Jeannine Parisi, opened their distinct pub-style restaurant in April, after operating Claim 52 Brewery in south Eugene for the last six years.
McDonald, a former police officer, is the frontrunner for the restaurant, although she hasn’t always dreamed of this position. After 16 years, she had been looking for a way to leave the force when a friend gave her the idea of opening up the brewery.
“I figured if I could be a police officer, I could do anything,” she says.
For the restaurant, Parisi — who is also a community and government liaison for EWEB — and McDonald wanted to try alternative food to typical pub food. From honey glazed chicken, to Thai chili green beans, to battered spiral fries with turmeric salt, there are many options that are comforting and healthy, including salads and sandwiches.
“We wanted to have a little bit of a niche for us that was different compared to other local pub menus,” Parisi says. She adds that their tacos are probably the most popular item on the menu, although people have their favorites.
For the first time since opening up the brewery, Claim 52 Kitchen is able to have all its beers on tap at one time. McDonald says they are trying to keep as much variety as possible.
“At the core of our beer, we want it to be high quality and flavorful,” McDonald says.
When McDonald and Parisi chose to develop craft beers, they faced the challenge of distinguishing themselves among the many beer options in the community. They solved the problem by crafting hazy IPAs, a cloudy colored beer with more citrusy flavors.
“It was really the hazy IPAs that gave us a little edge on the market and allowed us to, you know, break out a little bit.” McDonald says.
Claim 52 Kitchen presents beer uniquely by offering beer floats on the menu. Much like a regular root beer float, the customer chooses a kind of beer and adds ice cream. Although, Parisi says, some beers work better than depending on the flavor. For example, they serve a blueberry milkshake IPA with coconut.
“We do things that are innovative, but also approachable, so people can enjoy them and enjoy the flavors, but it isn’t weird for the sake of being weird,” she says.
Claim 52 Kitchen is at 1203 Willamette Street #140. Open 11 am to 8 pm Sunday and Monday and from 11 am to 11 pm Tuesday through Saturday, claim52brewing.com