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  • Indulge Staff

CP celebrates 5 years

Tuesday evening marked a day that Community Plate owner Scott Cunningham figured would come, if not with quite as much success as it had.

Indeed, he had plenty of reason to break out the bubbly – and he did – as his restaurant on McMinnville’s Third Street celebrated its fifth anniversary Tuesday evening.

“I’ve been in the restaurant industry long enough and we saw enough success in the beginning that I felt like we’d be here, but I did not know how successful we’d be at this point,” Cunningham said. “We knew that if we could succeed in that economy, that it would just be [easier] from there. The last two years have blown me away.”

Community Plate opened in the middle of an economic downturn when McMinnville’s culinary scene was just beginning to emerge. The restaurant’s new-for-McMinnville approach, combined with a dedicated staff willing to ride out the growing pains and a quickly-established local following, boosted Community Plate to the forefront of the city’s dining culture.

“There were some times we had to run really thin, and people stuck with us. They understood it was one of those things that we had to do to be successful at the time,” Cunningham said. “This is the first winter that I never had to call someone off from a shift because we didn’t need them. The whole crew got to stay at full time the whole winter.”

Average business on the weekends has more than doubled since 2012, due in large part, Cunningham said, to the eatery embracing its brunch service.

“It really wasn’t until the third year that we decided to take it to breakfast all day, lunch all day, every day,” Cunningham explained. “That was one of the key points to success. People like eating breakfast in the afternoon. And, strangely enough, there’s people who like eating burgers at 7:30 in the morning.”

As Cunningham had hoped, it’s upward from here.

“We’re trying to get into a place where I can give my crew the ability to develop new menu items and keep it really fresh,” he said. "You hate to get stagnant, you really need to keep evolving and elevating the cuisine.”

If the first five years were any indication, the next five years of Community plate should be deliciously successful.

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