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Best of Olympia 2020: Medicine Creek Café

Readers' Pick: Best New Restaurant, Best Family Restaurant

All-day breakfast faves and generous portions are just a couple of reasons they’ve won your hearts and bellies. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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You can see it just off the freeway as you zip down on I-5, it looks to be an updated A&W -- rock foundation, bright white paint with clean blue lines. A long carport-styled awning covers the pull-up parking. It looks chipper and inviting at just a glance. Within a well-worn, warm space, cozy chairs, booths and a couple of TVs paired with friendly and prompt service. The Medicine Creek Café oozes diner vibes of the days of yore and I like it. Apparently, you do, too, because they've been voted Best New Restaurant and Best Family Restaurant by the Thurston County masses.

The menu boasts breakfast favorites all day, as well as a selection of big meaty burgers, classic sammies and a sampling of seafood entrées and salads. Personally, breakfast all day is a very desirable asset, especially considering that they don't just serve up the traditional favorites (they do that, too, including dishes like Eggs Benedict, Pancake Breakfast and Biscuits and Gravy). The menu plays homage to the tribal land they sit upon with fun monikers like "Leschi Breakfast," "The Chinook," "Mt. Rainier" and "The Tahoma Breakfast," which presents a behemoth to be conquered, layered with biscuits, golden hash browns and chicken fried steak, smothered in sausage gravy and topped with three eggs your way.

The Medicine Creek Café website doesn't just educate diners with menu items and discounts offered (senior and military), but touches on the rich history of the tribal land they reside on. That said, this isn't just lip service, they also source their seafood locally from the Nisqually Tribe itself, and line their walls with tribal art.

What makes it a family favorite? The kid menu has all the little one's favorites like corndog nuggets, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, cheeseburger and mac and cheese (tiny humans love their cheeses). Bonus, Monday through Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., for every full entrée purchased, kids younger than 10 years old eat free, making it the most generous and family thoughtful restaurants I can think of in the region. Check out their website for details. Also, due to Medicine Creek Café's proximity to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge (literally a minute away), it's easy to take a post meal stroll with the family to steep yourself in our glorious PNW landscape and keep yourself from falling into a food coma (because you will leave satisfied!)

If you haven't taken the time to visit Medicine Creek Café, I encourage you to do so. When the collective speaks, there tends to be a very good reason for it, and Medicine Creek Café is a well-earned winner.

MEDICINE CREEK CAFÉ, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, 10322 Martin Way E, Olympia, 360.200.7485,

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