Smitty’s excels in homestyle favorites

Camas restaurant’s traditional dishes reliably delicious

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Dining Out review: Smitty Family Dining

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Where: 1816 N.E. Third Ave., Camas.

Contact: 360-834-4257 or www.smittysfamilydining.com

Health score: Smitty’s received a score of 30 on Jan. 27. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.

Why: Smitty Family Dining restaurant has been serving food since the 1960s. Not much has cropped up immediately around it since then, so it is easy to spot on the stretch of Third Avenue between Camas and Washougal. Smitty’s offers a full home-style menu and serves breakfast all day, seven days a week.

What I tried: I settled on the California Burger with a beef patty and a side of potato salad. My dining companion had the Super Melt sandwich with fries.

The California Burger is made with a one-third pound beef patty (or you may opt for chicken) topped with Swiss cheese, bacon, guacamole, onion, lettuce and pickles on a fresh hoagie-style hamburger bun. I found the burger appetizing and juicy. I especially enjoyed the homemade potato salad. It had a zesty flavor and a lot of texture.

My dining companion’s sandwich was a grilled sandwich made with sourdough bread stacked with roast beef, turkey, bacon, tomato, Swiss cheese and grilled onions. He noted the meats were lean and juicy and the construction of the sandwich was unorganized, which resulted in a varied experience as he worked his way through the sandwich — no two bites were the same, which he liked. The fries that accompanied the sandwich were a basic, plain cut, freezer-to-fryer type.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Breakfast items cover the usual from hot cakes to corned beef hash. Sandwiches include a Monte Cristo, prime rib, meatloaf, French dip and a kielbasa. Hamburgers include a chili burger, a fish burger, a blue cheese burger, a mushroom burger, a teriyaki burger and a vegetarian burger. Salads range from a Cobb salad to a shrimp salad. The buffalo chicken salad sounded interesting. This is made with chicken grilled in buffalo sauce served on a bed of lettuce with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, sliced egg and tomato wedges. Some of the dinner entrees listed are liver and onions, meatloaf and a spaghetti dinner. Prime rib is on the menu and the seafood options include halibut, salmon, shrimp, wahoo and deep-fried oysters. Desserts are mostly ice cream oriented, other than the strawberry shortcake, bread pudding and home-baked pies. Beverages include coffee, tea, juice, malts, floats, shakes, lemonade, milk and Pepsi products.

Atmosphere: Wood paneling covers the walls, wrapping the space in a popular practice of years ago. The large dining room is divided into three main areas, providing seating for large and small groups at tables or booths. Large plate glass windows on the perimeter walls allow a lot of natural light into the space and are dressed with outdoor canopies with a snazzy striped pattern. Pendant lights bring additional illumination to the interior. A few TVs provide entertainment. Live plants are stationed throughout, and the music playing is from an earlier era, quite fitting for the restaurant’s old-style presence.

Other observations: The home-style cooking of items made from scratch are just what I envisioned this restaurant would offer. The service was friendly and welcoming.

Smitty’s provides orders to go in addition to dining in.

The history of health scores is curious in that they are inconsistent. Hopefully a newfound consistency will be part of this old-style restaurant’s future.

Cost: Breakfast omelettes cost $9.95 to $14.95 (three-egg). Smitty’s breakfasts and favorites range from $5.95 to $14.95. Hot cakes, waffles and french toast breakfasts start at $2.75 and top out at $12.99. Kids’ breakfasts are $4.75 and sides are 75 cents to $4.95. Smitty’s lunch sandwiches cost $7.95 to $10.95. Soup, chili and chowder are available in three sizes for $2.95 to $5.50. Hamburgers with fries, coleslaw or potato salad cost $7.95 to $13.95. Fish baskets are $6.95 to $12.95. Salads range from $4.95 to $11.95. Appetizers cost $6.95. Desserts are $1.99 to $6.95.