Old Fashion Maid to close this month

Camas restaurant opened in 1951

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Local residents who enjoy eating cheeseburgers, Tater Tots and milk shakes at the Old Fashion Maid are disappointed to hear that the 60-year-old business is about to close.

Marlene Macrae-Smith said the restaurant’s last days of operation are expected to occur during the week of March 20-27. A more definitive closing date will be posted in the eatery’s window.

She and her husband John plan to retire and move back to live near their family in Everett.

“We’re sad to leave,” Marlene said. “I’m going to miss everybody. Sorry we have to leave. I love all the customers who came in and supported us over all these years.”

The Macrae-Smiths purchased the Old Fashion Maid in 1975, from Ray and Betty Crocker.

Eight years later, the Macrae-Smiths sold it to Tom and Linda Bolin and moved back to Everett. During that time, the restaurant’s name was changed to Lindy’s.

In 1984, the Macrae-Smiths bought it back and restored the Old Fashion Maid name.

“We have had customers from Vancouver,” Marlene said. “We are well known for bacon cheeseburgers and very thick shakes.

“We have to give them a spoon, because the shakes are thick.

“I made my own homemade potato salad,” she added. “That was a big hit. We made our own dressings-ranch, thousand island and cole slaw mix. We made all that stuff ourselves.”

Judy Toops, of Camas, was among the customers eating lunch at the Old Fashion Maid Wednesday.

She worked there in 1962.

“It’s sad to see it go, but we understand the reason why,” Toops said.

She enjoys eating a junior cheeseburger and potato salad.

Toops’ granddaughter Hannah Toops received permission to take one of the menus home as a souvenir of her favorite place to eat corn dogs.

“I love it,” she said.

Hannah’s grandfather Bob Toops usually orders a double cheeseburger with Tater Tots and a root beer. During his most recent visit, however, he drank Sprite, since the restaurant is starting to run out of a few items as it prepares to close.

“I enjoy the atmosphere,” Bob Toops said. “It was the first basic drive-in, in Camas and Washougal, before Dairy Queen and Smitty’s.”

John Morris and Aaron Hope, coworkers at Abacast, in Camas, eat lunch at Old Fashion Maid once or twice a week.

Morris also sometimes eats dinner there with his family.

“The food is always really good – fresh and hot,” he said. “The wait staff is welcoming.”

During a recent lunch break, Morris enjoyed eating a cheeseburger with grilled onions, Tater Tots and a chocolate shake.

“I come back because of the food and the wait staff,” he said. “Everyone is personable. It’s a comfortable atmosphere. It’s laid back and friendly.

“It’s not super noisy,” Morris added. “You can sit down and have a conversation. You don’t have to wait long to get your food.”

Hope enjoys the bacon cheeseburger basket with Tater Tots and a strawberry milk shake. His preferred milk shake flavor – peanut butter – was out of stock.

Kim Macrae-Smith, the owners’ daughter-in-law, is the restaurant’s manager. Shelly Engel, 41, is the assistant manager. She started working at the Old Fashion Maid at the age of 16. Engel’s daughter Katelyn also works there.

Other current employees include Stephanee Bruley, Taylor Gaddo, Alyssa Purnell, Kerri Daniels, Tylar Anderson and Brittany Johnson

“All the kids who worked for us were like family,” Marlene said. “For several students, it was their first job.”

The Macrae-Smiths’ grown children – Shawn, Bill, Vince and Angela – have all worked at the Old Fashion Maid. They also have five grandchildren.

According to Clark County property records, the owner’s name is Irwin Jessen, president of RJ Land Development, of Vancouver. The property was assessed in January 2010 at $132,500, while the value of the 13,068 square foot building was listed at $46,600.

The property is zoned regional commercial. In addition to restaurants, the zoning classification allows the land to be the future site of a grocery store, pharmacy, apparel or home furnishings store.

No permit process has been started, according to Camas Planner Sarah Fox.

Jessen was not available to comment on future plans for the property, prior to press deadlines.

The Old Fashion Maid Restaurant, 3414 N.E. Third Ave., Camas, is open Sunday through Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 835-3434.