Words by Haley Stupasky Photos by Will Nielsen
I remember being devastated when Flicks & Pics video closed in 2009. There are few places around town that hold as many nostalgic memories as that tiny storefront where I would rent a movie every chance I got. When a Red Wagon Creamery cart occupied the parking lot and a local pet supply store took over the Flicks & Pics building, bringing more adorable dogs to the area, that certainly softened the blow. That marked the beginning of the revitalization of the businesses in the area. It also gave me a new place to grab a sweet snack instead of driving to campus for Dairy Queen.
Found just west of the 29th & Willamette hub in Eugene, Oregon, the Friendly Street neighborhood is slowly but surely growing in popularity. With the addition of new businesses and housing developments along with improvements on old storefronts like the Friendly Street Market & Deli, this area of town provides a lovely local experience for people looking to escape the usual bustle of the South Eugene/University area. If you’re looking for a new place to grab a bite or a drink, something different from the Whit, the Friendly Street neighborhood waits for you.
Friendly Street Market & Deli
From what used to be a health food store comparable to Sundance Natural Foods, the Friendly Street Market & Deli has expanded and remodeled to accommodate a new cafe and patio, making the store the perfect destination for a morning coffee date or a light lunch. With Coffee Plant Roaster coffee, Willamette Valley wines, and carefully sourced foods, there’s an obvious emphasis on quality food and supporting other local businesses.
Despite being connected with the grocery store, the cafe space does not feel overcrowded, even with the constant flow of customers. Service is quick and friendly, the seating area is comfortable, outside seating is pet friendly, and most importantly, the food never disappoints.
Although the menu isn’t extensive, the consistent availability of customizable deli sandwiches and hot sandwiches makes Friendly Street Market a dependable choice when you’re craving something more than the leftover lasagna you brought to the office with you for lunch. My recommendation: get the Reuben and the soup of the day. The meat, sauce, and sauerkraut are always perfectly balanced to create a salty and savory treat. The toasted rye bread is never soggy and gives the sandwich a satisfying crunch with everybite. Or if you stop by on a weekend, brunch is available with a bubbly mimosa.
Address: 2757 Friendly St, Eugene, OR 97405
Phone: (541) 683-2079
I’ve always been intrigued by J-Tea, wondering how a seemingly small storefront could house such an impressive retail distribution center. When J-Tea International first started in 2004, it was ran out of owner Josh Chamberlain’s home. A seasoned traveler that has spent extensive time in Taiwan, Chamberlain makes it a point to establish relationships with farmers abroad that supply the teas for his store and retail locations all over Eugene. With a mission of quality, simplicity, locality and accessibility, J-Tea seeks to provide an authentic consumer experience true to tea culture.
Specializing in loose leaf tea — especially oolong, the most diverse and complex of tea types — J-Tea provides one of the most unique beverages experiences in town. It’s peaceful, open, and has a flavor for every palette. The menu and retail space is thoughtfully laid out, organized by types of tea that your knowledgeable tea tender can tell you about. The employees take meticulous care to make sure that they find the right tea that suits your tastes while also encouraging you to try new flavors. You can even take a Tea Taste Consultation test on J-Tea’s website to determine what your preferences may be. However, I prefer the in-store interactive service at J-Tea. My tea tender, Michael, guided me toward a pleasantly robust Eastern Beauty Twisted Leaf oolong tea after my initial cup of Lemon Rooibos.
If don’t drink coffee like me, J-Tea is a welcome retreat from the standard shop with the constant in-and-out of sleep deprived college students and professionals. The calmness of the space, filled with pottery and teapots designed by local artisans, is only amplified by the jazzy music played by the employee on shift as well as the surrounding area. Just across the street there is an acupuncture studio and a spa called Radiant Health Center, where the wonderful Kaya Skye offers, in my opinion, the best massage therapy in Eugene.
With a location opening on 19th & Agate soon, J-Tea will break into the university market and I predict that it will become a favorite among others just as it has become one of mine.
Address: 2778 Friendly St, Eugene, OR 97405