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Portland Brunch Spots

Portland Brunch Spots: A Highly Subjective Guide

If you’ve watched Portlandia you have probably seen the lines for our fair city’s brunch spots parodied, pilloried, and pummeled. There is some truth there. The lines, especially on the weekends, can be the stuff of nightmares. The good news, brave diner, is that the food is often worth the wait. Here are a few of my personal favorite spots. Check their menus for vegetarian options… most places in town have something that grew out of the ground for you. For more, look at the brunch section of the official MLA Dining Guide map!

Flattop & Salamander

“Home of the boozy brunch”. Named for the flattop grill and the salamander broiler, this little spot off of SE Morrison does not disappoint. I generally judge a brunch establishment by the quality of that universal yardstick, the breakfast burrito. You will find none better in our fair city. They also have other menu items, I’ve noticed, but I just can’t not order it every time I’m there.

Broder, and Broder Nörd

Traditional Swedish fare on N Mississippi Avenue, and on SE Clinton Street, which are both great neighborhoods to explore after your meal. If you need some more Lefsa in your life, as I do, then this is your spot. Eggs. Nordic rye bread. Smoked fish. Mushrooms. Just… yum. Honestly… just order the Broder Bord or the Fisk Bord. Try a little of everything and share with your friends, then wash it down with something from their aquavit cocktail list! This place is a good time.

Pine Street Biscuits

With multiple spots across town, you can’t go wrong with a giant pile of biscuits and gravy. Pine Street takes it up a notch with fried chicken, house smoked pork and brisket, bacon, basically all the things that make you feel good and are a little bad for you. This is one of those places where you are almost definitely going to run into a line spilling out the door. For good reason. You’ll leave fuller than you probably want to be, but it’s worth it.

My Father’s Place

While not a “brunch” spot per se, this old school Portland establishment, haunt of local rock musicians, old regulars who work in the neighborhood, and day drinkers, is about as authentic as it gets. Check out the bar itself, towards the back. The telltale shape betrays a much older iteration of the space as a piano bar, built around where a baby grand used to spill out music. You’ll need to be content with the juke box these days. I’ll be honest… it’s on the more divey side than the other suggestions in this post, but the kitchen does solid diner fare for a decent price. Looking for a patty melt? Liver and onions? A French dip with horseradish? Just some bacon, eggs, and toast? This place will take care of you. Sidle up into a booth, and be prepared to be called “hun.”

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DONUTS! -Sola Whitehead

One of my guilty pleasures is donuts. Are they good for my physical health? Maybe not 100%, but they are GREAT for my mental health because they bring me great joy, and Portland has enough of a donut scene that, should I decide to indulge, I have lots of choices. I’m also fortunate enough to have 17-year-old twins who are MORE THAN HAPPY to help me explore my donut options. If you, too, enjoy a sweet treat in donut form, here are four choices. However, do note that there are yet more options than this in Stumptown, so don’t hesitate to explore beyond these four!

Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai (at 4759 NE Fremont St.) sells quite possibly the most delicious mini donuts in the world, in a number of creative flavors. When my kids and I went, I got six donuts (2 cinnamon and sugar, 2 nutella and sea salt, and 2 candied maple bacon) and I paired it with a mug of really delicious ginger chai. Pip’s has seasonal donut flavors (it was passionfruit at the time of our visit) and several different chai flavors, but if chai isn’t your thing, you can get a coffee or matchaor other beverage. If you’re lucky enough to go to Pip’s when it’s your birthday, you can get a free dozen. Be prepared to stand in line, potentially going out onto the sidewalk, since Pip’s is popular. It’s worth it though. Just ask my waistline!

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If you are longing for a donut but are not able to eat gluten, I have a solution for you! Mikiko Mochi Donuts (300 NE 28th) has donuts that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut free, and they are excellent. In texture, they walk the line between a cake donut and mochi, the Japanese rice cake, and they come in a variety of fun flavors. We tried out the Earl Gray Lavender Lemon (the lemon curd filling on top is incredible), one with passionfruit curd, one titled “Mango Sticky Rice Puerh” which my kid declared his favorite donut ever, and the “strawberry yuzu funfetti” donut. Mikiko also has a breakfast sando. As a bonus, it’s on a street with a bunch of fun restaurants, so you could come to NE 28th and have brunch, followed by a donut if you still have room.

Delicious Donuts, at 12 SE Grand Ave, is not far from the Convention Center. It’s located in a little strip mall with a Plaid Pantry (Portland’s local version of 7-11), and it’s not much to look at on out the outside. That changes when you step in the door and see a variety of plants, a bunch of maneki-neko (the beckoning cats who wave their paw), and the aromas of donut classics from cake donuts to apple fritters. Delicious Donuts also has a wide variety of really tasty-looking breakfast sandwiches and burritos, and my kids and I decided it would be a great place to return when we hadn’t just eaten breakfast! Of the four donut shops I’ve highlighted in this write up, these were also the cheapest, with the average donut costing just $1.50.

Delicious donuts in a cute setting!

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Finally, a post on the Portland donut scene would not be complete without mentioning Voodoo Donuts, which started in Portland in 2000 but has now spread to 19 or 20 cities across the U.S. Their signature pink box notes that “Good Things Come in Pink Boxes,” and they’re not wrong. Portland has multiple Voodoo locations, and we hit up the one at 1501 NE Davis St., but the Old Town Portland location is also a blast. The donuts are incredibly fun and colorful and large, and we enjoyed the Purple Lemon Haze, a Chuckles (even tastier than expected), and the Viscous Hibiscus, which was really pleasant in not being over-the-top sweet. Really, if you’re in the mood for some donut fun, you can’t go wrong here.

So hard to choose which Voodoo donut to get!

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