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Blue Sage offers new dining approach

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Blue Sage operations manager Gary Sheperd, left,  and Kent Belser, general manager, are excited about the July 14 opening of their restaurant at Oswego Town Square.

Blue Sage Cafe has solved one of the great dilemmas of eating in a restaurant.

Sitting too long at a table, waiting for someone to pick up your check.

This has certainly caused a lot of finger drumming over the centuries, but Blue Sage is promising a new era. Especially at its new location in Lake Oswego, which opens on July 14 at Oswego Town Square.

'People can dine at their own pace,' said Chris Hein, vice president of marketing for the Dussin Group, which operates the restaurant. 'They control it completely.'

If that sounds too good to be true, it's not. Blue Sage has been successfully using this concept for the past three months at its West Linn restaurant.

Diners can order their food at the kiosk up front - 'The menu is right there,' Hein said - and from that point they take the ticket (two copies in case of separate checks) to a table of their own choosing. Almost immediately their drinks arrive, and the food follows soon afterward.

They can also order other items later, such as dessert; which is highly recommended, because the Southwest Chocolate Cheesecake is delicious.

As executive chef Dan Uhl said, 'It's got Aji Amarillo Chile in it. It's got zip.'

Customers can also zip out of Blue Sage if they need to go to a soccer game or a PTA meeting. The check is ready as soon as they want it to be, and they can simply bring it up front for payment. But those not in a hurry are encouraged to take as much as time as possible. After all, it's a better way to savor one of Blue Sage's fine, handcrafted margaritas.

But Blue Sage isn't just selling speed. It is serving excellent food, like its big-selling Southwest ribs cooked with an in-house barbecue sauce.

'It's a great deal,' said operations manager Gary Sheperd. 'It comes with coleslaw and onion rings. Its value is phenomenal. It makes people say, 'Wow, I'm going to come back again.''

For people who judge a restaurant by its hamburgers, Blue Sage offers a great one: A half pound of beef broiled to perfection and topped with Poblano peppers and pepperjack cheese, served on an onion bun.

Blue Sage Café also wants to be known as a great neighborhood restaurant.

'We're very excited about this,' Sheperd said. 'We want to be part of this growing community. We want people to come here whether they're in a hurry or if they want to relax and hang out.

'We want this to be a place where people can see their friends when they walk in.'

There is even more when it comes to quality and convenience.

Blue Safe offers an online menu, which Hein calls 'an easy fit for people on the go.' People can call ahead or order their meal online. The meals are nicely packaged and include heating instructions.

'This is for people who don't have a lot of time but still want a quality meal without cooking or doing dishes,' Hein said.

Breakfast is offered on Saturday and Sunday. Sheperd describes the menu as 'great' because it 'offers the meals people recognize, like pancakes and omelets all made from scratch.'

Uhl offers a nice spin on eggs benedict because he serves them on corn drop biscuits.

Then there is the kids menu. The emphasis is on health, with fresh cut fruit and salad, plus macaroni and cheese made from scratch, not from a box.

Sheperd wants kids to know one other thing - they will get their food fast.

'I have a 3 year old and he's got to get his food now!' Sheperd said. 'Kids will get their food quickly, then mom and dad can relax and enjoy the entire experience.'

Just to make sure Oswegans know that Blue Sage Café is community committed, the restaurant will donate part of its proceeds from its opening week to the Lake Oswego School Foundation.

Blue Sage Café is located at 7 S.W. Monroe Parkway in Oswego Towne Square (near New Seasons) in Mountain Park. Phone is 503-635-5222.

Online orders can be made at www.BlueSageCafe.com .