Tech to Table

Photos by Jason E. Kaplan
A Power Lunch at the Barn Light Cafe & Bar in Eugene.

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The Barn Light Cafe & Bar
924 Willamette St., Eugene, OR 97401
(458) 205-8914


Hours: Monday-Wednesday, 7 a.m.-12 a.m.; Thursday-Friday, 7 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Owners: Dustin Kinsey, Thomas Pettus-Czar, Mark Sheppard

Atmosphere: European-style cafe specializing in beer, coffee and creative sandwiches. Décor: thrift-store finest. Vibe: casual, befitting laid-back Eugene; shuffleboard and foosball table are a nod to UO students.

Clientele: Tech workers. Professors. Public employees. Grad students. California transplants.

Most popular: For lunch — a turkey club sandwich with avocado and coffee-glazed bacon from the local Long’s Meat Market. A happy-hour favorite is the Tracktown 75 — hops- and grapefruit-infused vodka, lemon and honey spirit, topped off with the champagne of beers, Miller High Life.

Best seat in the house: Outside when the sun shines. The interior features bar seats, small tables for parties of one and larger tables for groups. City workers use a space in back for meetings. 

Tech central: With its hyperfast gigabit Internet, Barn Light is hardwired for Eugene’s burgeoning software sector. “They used to measure how prominent you were in the tech circle by your proximity to the Barn Light,” Pettus-Czar says.

Classic ham and Swiss, $8.50; The Veggie, $8.50; ploughman’s plate, $12; organic house green salad, $5; brussels sprouts, $3.50

Urban moment: Barn Light opened in 2012 with loan assistance from the city of Eugene. Pettus-Czar says the gamble paid off; downtown has since added a Sizzle Pie, Killer Burger and Townshend’s Teahouse, among other businesses. “We’re one of the first to take the risk of going downtown, which for so long had been the armpit of town and had a lot of negative stigma associated with it,” he says. “We knew we made the right decision when Starbucks decided to move three blocks to be on the corner adjacent to us.”

Overheard: A pair of UO administrators talk about how their children are adjusting to the new school year. “She’s making friends, and that’s really exciting for both of us.” Restaurant staff commune with tech workers about the ongoing baseball playoffs: “It would be just so much better if they could fight. The whole throwing the ball at each other seems dumb. That’s why hockey is the best. If you have a problem with someone, you punch them the next chance you get.” Students discuss an upcoming presentation: “I’m scared I’m not being helpful enough. We really need to nail this one.”

Critic’s corner: Dark inside, even on the sunniest day.