Worth the Trip: Good Things to Eat in St. Helens

Roger and Sandra Campbell are the owners of Good Things in Olde Towne St. Helens.

Roger and Sandra Campbell are the owners of Good Things in Olde Towne St. Helens.

Olde Towne St. Helens has a great new place to grab something to eat.

“Good Things,” located at 291 S. First Street in the heart of the St. Helens Olde Towne shopping district offers sweets, treats and yummy eats in a fun, casual and extremely friendly atmosphere.

Open Tuesday through Sunday from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM, Good Things is a great place to stop by and get coffee and a baked good early in the morning.  They also offer their biscuits and gravy all day long . This is quickly become their specialty and may soon be considered world famous!

Lunch is great time to drop in for the daily rice bowl, their also famous hot dogs, a bowl of chili  or soup or a cold sandwich.  And then it’s time for dessert!  Fresh baked cookies, slices of pie and other delicious choices are always available.

“We wanted a place where we could make homemade things, from scratch and in small batches so  everything is fresh, says co-owner Sandra Campbell.  “We’re just cooking and baking things that we like to eat.”

Good Things is the brainchild of Sandra and  Roger Campbell.   San, as Sandra likes to be called, explains that the couple owned a burger restaurant in Lakeside, Oregon on the southern coast for many years before they got the sailing bug.  San says they sold the restaurant, their house and  bought a 36’ sailboat.  They spent time traveling up and down the Columbia River and ended up in St. Helens before heading up to Alaska for what was supposed to be a summer trip which ended up lasting four years.

The Campbells arrived back in St. Helens in 2008 and settled  on their boat at the local marina.  Looking for something to do part-time, San  and Roger purchased a hot dog cart and starting setting up during the summer in Olde Towne, selling hot dogs during special events like “13 Nights on the River.”  Over the next few years they expanded their hours to weekends and their business just continued to grow.  “It was phenomenal,” says San,  “and we thought, ‘it’s time to move indoors.’”

The Campbells found the empty building they now occupy and started from scratch.  They opened for business on November 3rd and San says business has been even better than expected.

Their success is probably based as much on the high quality of their food and baked goods as on the couples friendly nature and welcoming spirit.  Everyone who enters is greeted like an old friend stopping by for a visit and a snack. “We really haven’t advertised, it’s just been all word of mouth, which I think is the best,” says San.  “It will either make or break you. If you are doing a good job then people are going to know about it and that’s what you want.”

San says she and Roger love the feel of the old building with its high ceilings  and have adopted a 1920’s  theme.  They have added a huge mural by local artist and  friend of the Campbell’s, Antonia Doggett,  that spans one entire wall.  The colorful scene depicts the St. Helens waterfront circa 1918.  According to San, the waterfront docks burned down in the 1950’s. The scene on the wall shows a man riding a 1918 Henderson motor cycle, which came from an actual photo.  The Campbells think they have determined that the man in the photo was a police officer in St. Helens named Perry who was killed in the line of duty.  The mural is still a work in progress.

Mural inside Good Things in Olde Towne St. Helens.

Mural inside Good Things in Olde Towne St. Helens.

San takes care of the baking and sweet stuff and Roger does the savory cooking, except for those biscuits, which San gives Roger full credit for.  “Those are a real big seller and he just has the knack for making big fluffy biscuits that are gorgeous,” says San.  Their  hot dogs are made by Cloverdale, which San proudly boasts are the hot dogs that the Seattle Mariners now sell at  Safeco Field.  “They are a high quality hot dog,” says San.  “The Seattle Mariners are carrying our hot dogs, but we had them first.” she says with a chuckle.  San says they also serve Alpenrose ice cream and says they will carry more flavors in the summer.  She also says they expect to expand their hours and plan to try doing some BBQ and some other ideas they are working on.  “We want to keep things interesting and always be trying new things,” she says.

San says they make all their side salads from scratch.  The chili is a recipe from their son, who they hope will join them this summer to help with running things.  San says she will bake items to order if someone has a special request for pies or other items.  “Just about anything someone wants, I’m willing to make it for them,” says San.  Right now she features cherry, pecan, apple, coconut creme, chocolate crème, peach, pumpkin pie and more.  There are always six kinds of cookies available as well.

San and Roger Campbell have a created a great place to find a homemade snack or meal or a tasty dessert.  They lot of good things to eat and a fun place to eat them.  Good Things is worth the trip to Olde Towne St. Helens.

Good Things is located at  291 S. First Street in Olde Towne St. Helens.  You can reach San or Roger Campbell at 503-369-6154.