Portland’s odd and peculiar eateries | Portland’s food scene is a-hopping, a foodie’s veritable Candy Land of five-star restaurants and neighborhood food cart pods. But the scene isn’t all about nationally renowned chefs and restaurants.
Try something uncanny
Portland’s food scene is a-hopping, a foodie’s veritable Candy Land of five-star restaurants and neighborhood food cart pods. But the scene isn’t all about nationally renowned chefs and restaurants.
A number of odd eateries and funky diners buttress the city’s reputation as a wellspring of weird. For those of you who dwell on the east side, you’re in luck. Southeast, Northeast and North Portland are havens for haunts steered toward the stranger side of dining.
Pattie’s Home Plate Cafe
8501 N Lombard St.
Pattie’s will take you down memory lane. This joint boasts a traditional American comfort food menu—nothing too spectacular. It’s the service and setting that make it, well, a little strange. Like the shake and burger joint frequented by the cast of Grease, Pattie’s has everything a 1950s nostalgia restaurant needs: a jukebox, checkered floors and old records hanging from the ceiling.
Inside you’ll find used books for sale, along with various other wares: jewelry, lotions, greeting cards and a whole lot more. Also, they serve malt shakes, and give you the leftovers in the silver cup. What’s better than that?
707 NE 82nd Ave.
Shenzhen, a Chinese restaurant, offers more exotic fare. The menu lists the standards—orange chicken, lo mein—along with dishes like chilled jellyfish and pig rectum. Yep. The decor is traditional and the ambience is great—just make sure you know what you’re ordering!
1121 SW Stark St.
The Roxy, a downtown favorite for years, falls into the greasy spoon category. The food is nothing special, but the menus are entertaining to read (“Too Snobby to Even Look at You French Toast,” “Soylent Green Omelette,” “Gus Van Sant-wich”), the walls are covered in Quentin Tarantino memorabilia, and the large-scale Jesus statue is a great addition to any dining experience.
707 SE 12th Ave.
In juxtaposition with nearly everything you know about your average cafe, and reality, for that matter, there’s the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House. This little place has been one of my favorite haunts since I first moved to Portland. The menu is small, offering coffee drinks and desserts with a rotating daily special. I suggest the orange cappuccino; it’s just the right ratio of sweet and bitter.
Housed in a large Craftsman, it’s a novelty with its creaking floors, mismatched chairs, and seance table for larger groups. Strange pictures and marionettes hang from the ceiling, and an old player piano nestles in the corner.
Only open at night, this place is great fun for a late-night adventure with friends or a date. A few words of advice though: It’s cash only, and if you get scared easily, close your eyes before entering the bathroom.