The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

Sad Days in Eugene

Sadly, late Wednesday the founder of my favorite restaurant in Eugene, Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen, died of a heart attack.

According to the Register-Guard Ted “Papa” Lee was a well-known musician who helped many local musicians get started here in Eugene. His band 100% Delta Blues Stomp was planning on a west coast tour this year. The man was well known and well respected in the Whiteaker area and by many of the local media outlets in Eugene for his quality food.

The Eugene Weekly blog reported that Lee had been planning on expanding his restaurant’s services into catering and a line of sauces and pies.

If you haven’t heard of Papa’s it is one of the best restaurants in Eugene. The barbecue, atmosphere, and friendly staff were one of the prime reasons that I spent most of sophomore year there. Personally, the Eugene food scene is disappointing. Sure, places like Ambrosia and Agate Alley are good but to be honest they weren’t world-beaters. For the most part Eugene restaurants are good but it’s not like it’s something you’d come back to the city for.

Papa’s, in my mind, is one of those places. It reminds me of hole in the wall joints in Texas and the South where good food is made by people who put a lot of love into their food and you can taste. It’s just good Southern food, and I’m told the Mac and cheese is the best you’ll ever eat (I don’t eat cheese so I wouldn’t know) but I do know that the yams are goddamn amazing. Try the collard greens too, it’s not something you’ll see often in Eugene but it’s good. Not everyone will agree with me, I’m looking at you you soul-sucking vegetarians, but if you’re fan of barbecue than you should try Papa’s if you haven’t.

Have a drink for Papa this weekend because his restaurant is one of the best things about this godforsaken town, even if it is located across the street from Tiny’s Tavern where I assume shanking happens on a nightly basis.

  1. C.T. Behemoth says:

    “Also the brisket is overrated. It

  2. Crystal says:

    Papa was a dear friend and mentor to many people who live in or passed through Eugene, not just musicians. He helped many people find their own path and let them know that the life they wanted to lead was worth the effort. There was only one rule that papa fallowed, “Keep it real”. Over the years it took on many different edited forms such as “Keeping the Dream Alive” but the message was the same. As long as you where genuine you where alright with Papa. And, for many of us that was a big step toward being alright with the world.

    Many of us who knew Papa can gladly and boldly say he was one of the people who made the world better place.

    Papa’s wife Deb and his long time partner in crime Bone will be keeping the restaurant open so please continue going back to Eugene to help “keep the dream alive”.

  3. Timothy says:

    Indeed, Olly, indeed.

    Papa’s was the only place I got half decent collard greens outside of the south. And the pulled pork was actually, you know, good. Which was pretty shocking, frankly. This is sad news.

  4. Olly says:

    This is extremely sad news. I say that on behalf of all the OC folks who benefited from Papa’s setup in Joe’s on 6th, and then in the location on West 11th, prior to the move to the Whiteaker venue.

    “For the most part Eugene restaurants are good but it

  5. Vincent says:

    The guy always gave us coupons for free/cheap food when I worked at the record store. Seemed to be a decent type.

  6. Dmo says:

    The first time I met Papa was during an event he put on where local kids were given the opportunity to play music at his restaurant. He was a good man that obviously loved his food, music and community. He will be sorely missed.

    Also the brisket is overrated. It’s all about the crab sandwich and fried fish.

  7. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I boycotted Papa’s after I finally got tired of going to eat dinner and discovering that they had run out of Brisket. That happened three times in a row. The last time, I called ahead and asked them if they had Brisket. They said they had plenty, but apparently it disappeared over the next 30 minutes.

    Anyway, before that bullshit, the food I had there was always tasty. The atmosphere was nice and it is reminiscent of ‘real’ BBQ. I wouldn’t come to Eugene to visit it, but I would eat there if I happened to be in Eugene.

  8. JJ says:

    Hey, what’s up with the “soul-sucking” vegetarian comment? We’re vegetarians and love Papa’s and are very saddened by the news. Several of the best things on the menu that you mentioned are vegetarian and none the less delicious for it! We also love their fried green tomatoes, hush puppies, and sweet iced tea.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.