A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Near Albany Station, there’s Sidekicks

Written February 8th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

Krista Stitzel is the “owner/operator” of Sidekicks, the cafe near Albany Station.

If you’re stuck at Albany Station waiting for a train, you may be glad that there’s a place with excellent food service just a few steps away.

Last month, people apparently found that especially useful during the freezing winter storm that paralyzed travel for a while.

“We were open despite the weather,” Krista Stitzel reported on Facebook on Jan. 13. “Lots of unexpected business Saturday as all trains were delayed and the lobby was closed.”

Sidekicks, across from the train station at Ninth Avenue and Lyon Street, has been a fixture there since about 1995, if memory serves.

When I worked two blocks away at the Democrat-Herald, it was a great place for an afternoon break — convenient because of the location and tempting because of the cakes.

I hadn’t been back for some years until this week, when I picked Sidekicks to meet someone for a railroad-related appointment. (See the story on Feb. 7.)

That’s when I met Krista Stitzel, whose business card identifies her as the “owner/operator” of Sidekicks. From her I learned that she and her husband, Jason, had purchased the business in December.

Just in time, it appears, to be helpful to Amtrak travelers the following month when the station was closed and the weather was bad.

Bigger train stations have snack bars or restaurants. Albany Station has Sidekicks on the other side of Highway 99E.

Years ago, one of the endearing features of Sidekicks was the model train that ran around the walls of the room on a shelf right under the ceiling. The setup is gone, but the memory hangs on.

The bike took me back to the corner of Ninth and Lyon on Wednesday. I wanted to get a photo of the little building.

It was a sunny day, and the outdoor seating seemed like a welcome reminder that spring is less than six weeks away. (hh)

For people on bicycles, this convenient bike rack is an added attraction of the Sidekicks cafe.



9 responses to “Near Albany Station, there’s Sidekicks”

  1. Cap B. says:

    I’ve always meant to try Sidekicks. I will now that I have read your blog about it.
    Thanks. I take it there is some indoor seating?

  2. Katherine says:

    I believe they had a sign that wished everyone an Happy new year and new ownership.I think I’ll stop in for a morning coffee and snack. I also remember the train and having meetings there for business and friendship. It’s time to get reacquainted .

  3. Patricia Eich says:

    Thanks for the mention of Sidekicks. My husband and I used to stop in there for sandwiches or dessert. We haven’t been in there for a long time. Have to go check it out under the new ownership. I do remember the train.

  4. Cass says:

    Are you serving Bonnie’s Crunch shrimp salad. Love.

  5. Deborah Swenson says:

    I use to love going to SideKicks.
    Loved their uber frosted Sugar cookies. The new owners have opted not to make those anymore too bad I am so sad it was always fun to go there. That was the main reason we went there, almost daily. My hubby has stopped a number of times and ask about them, to no avail. No reason to go out of our way now to stop there.

  6. Kate Huber says:

    I used to go there often for their crunch salad and dessert with coffee. Some years back they changed their coffee to something I didn’t care for and I haven’t been back since. With new owners, and hopefully better coffee, I think I’ll try it again!


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