1. Brails 1689 Willamette Street. 541-343-1542. BrailsEugene.com.
2. Glenwood 1340 Alder Street. 541-687-0355. 2588 Willamette Street. 541-687-8201. GlenwoodRestaurants.com.
3. Morning Glory Café 450 Willamette Street. 541-687-0709. MorningGloryEugene.com.
After 20 years of owning iconic Brails, Joy Knudtson shows no signs of slowing down.
“I just cut 100 pounds of potatoes,” she says in one of the diner’s comfy booths. “I make most of the gravy, too.”
“I don’t know how to do anything else, but I know how to do Brails,” she says with a laugh.
Joy’s irrepressible energy, and Brails dependable food, is why the spot has earned the Best Hangover Breakfast award 18 years in a row. I mean, if you’re not feeling great after the choices you made on a Friday or Saturday night, wouldn’t a couple of eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy help you out?
“And I stock up on ibuprofen and Pepto Bismol,” Knudtson says. “When they look really, really bad, I ask them, if they want that.”
Knudtson’s nurturing spirit extends to everyone: “I treat all my customers like family,” she says. “They all call me ‘Oma’ — That means mom, in Korean.”
Most of her employees have worked with her for more than a decade. Server Frank Gibson has been working at Brails for 19 years.
Knudtson’s own children are grown now, and she beams when she talks about them: Her son just opened Taylor Coffee Roasters on campus, and her daughter will graduate this year from OSU.
“I used to work seven days a week,” Knudtson says, running the Brails original location and Fifth Avenue outpost and Brails Espresso. “About a year ago, I decided I needed one day off per week.”
And at 63, she’s a ball of energy. Maybe hard work — and all those potatoes — are the secret to longevity?
“Everyone who ever has a job knows it’s not easy,” she says. “I’m just thankful I have things to do.”