Before we begin, I wanted to mention Jezebel.com picked up our reporting on the Whole Foods “no fatties” policy. Much of the credit goes to the pie-fueled Matt Davis who hovered about and cajoled me enough to do some actual work for a change. Thanks.
This week’s Last Supper is one in a semi regular series I’m calling “Reheated,” wherein I stop worrying about Portland’s cutting-edge culinary establishments and get down with the hoi polloi in restaurants that have found their rhythm. These are the oft overlooked, the long-time favorites, or the forgotten gems.
While writing this week's column I became fascinated with the idea of “old” restaurants. The subject of the review, the Berlin Inn, has been around for 18 years, but there’s something about the place that makes it seem so much older. I chalked it up to the décor and the cuisine.
But there are other, older, restaurants around the city that continue to operate seemingly past their prime. It’s not that their cuisine has managed to transcend current food trends, it’s that they have somehow found a community of regulars who manage to keep the place chugging along.
I’m thinking in particular of a place on Powell Blvd., just east of the Berlin Inn, called The Original Taco House. The joint, one of three Original Taco Houses in the city, mystifies me. I’ve eaten their tacos before. In fact, the very first food review I ever wrote in my life was about the Original Taco House and the inevitable, horrible aftermath of a meal there. I don’t see how they’ve managed to stay open since the 1960's. The answer must lie in the fact the parking lot is consistently packed. Or it could be that they "blend seasonings for recipes that suit the discriminating tastes of our clientele."
I wonder if the city’s current crop of trendsetting restaurants will have the staying power of an Original Taco House or Berlin Inn. Do we see Foster Burger still churning out the patties in 2025? Bunk still innovating sammies in 2030? I’d like to think so.
What do you think, Blogtownies? What restaurants will carry on into old age? Why?