Go to Samoa Cookhouse for the history, not the food. It is “the last lumber camp–style cookhouse in operation in North America,” and the food is what you’d expect from a cookhouse in a company town: all-you-can-eat homestyle cooking that is designed to sustain you during a long day of manual labor.
It’s pleasant drive from Arcata, where we are staying. We arrived at Samoa Cookhouse early on a fall day, and it wasn’t very busy. I’m sure many more people stop by during the summer.
The grounds of the old company town themselves are interesting. We walked around for a bit, admiring the building, and then went inside, where this basic menu greeted us.
From the foyer, we walked into this large dining room, decorated with logging paraphernalia and prints.
The seating is communal. When this restaurant served only employees, I’m sure it was a bit like eating at a college dorm: the diners walk in and know everyone there. They sit down with their friends. The only difference is that they don’t have to fetch their own food.
First the waitress brought beef and vegetable soup and green salad and bread. The bread is baked there and is available for takeout, if you like white loaves with a soft brown crust.
Then she brought ham and short ribs and sides, which included rice and potatoes.
My favorite part was the dessert.
After dinner we browsed the museum at the back of the building. I’ve never been to a logging museum, so it was pretty interesting. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry at the pictures of redwood stumps wide enough to hold 10 people.
My apologies for the blurriness of these photos: they were all taken on my BlackBerry.