Junior's Cafe Aaron Lee

Vita Cafe | 3023 NE Alberta

Before the metastasization of Portland’s Industrial Brunch Complex, our city had a lot more places like the Vita Cafe—welcoming and comfortable, with charmingly hodgepodge decor and a varied clientele. Thankfully, the Vita remains a stalwart brunch destination, with solid vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, cocktails (like a vegan bloody mary), good music (A Hard Day’s Night was on the last time I stopped by), and solid taps (the lineup during that Beatles-soundtracked visit: Eel River’s mocha stout, Buoy’s IPA, Reuben’s Brews’ pilsner, and a blackberry cider from Cider Riot). Your best bet: the huevos rancheros, featuring egg or tofu stacked with corn tortillas, chili, salsa, guac, and vegan sour cream. You won’t go away hungry, and it’s so hearty you’ll even overlook the inclusion of cilantro, the cursed devil weed. ERIK HENRIKSEN Brunch hours: Mon-Fri 9 am-3 pm, Sat & Sun 8 am-3 pm, $$


Junior’s Cafe | 1742 SE 12th

I’m a fan of any breakfast joint that proudly displays a copy of Dr. Jeff Meldrum’s revered Sasquatch Field Guide: Identifying, Tracking and Sighting North America’s Relict Hominoid—and bonus if you score the Bigfoot coffee mug. Aside from the hirsute cryptid theme, there are other reasons that the vegan- and vegetarian-friendly Junior’s is one of inner Southeast’s longstanding breakfast favorites: The comfy booths and wide windows looking out onto a sleepy portion of Southeast 12th offer an excellent start to the day, and it’s hard to pass up a Superhero Scramble (vegan sausage, tomatoes, green onions, and spinach) or a Vegan Covered Wagon (baked red potatoes, green chiles, mushrooms, herbs, and sautéed spinach), especially when accompanied with a house-made buttermilk biscuit. Would Bigfoot like buttermilk biscuits? Seems like he would. EH Brunch hours: Mon-Fri 9 am-3 pm, Sat & Sun 8 am-3 pm, $$


Harlow | 3632 SE Hawthorne

Don’t take it from the line of yoga-mat-toters streaming out the door—take it from a carnivore: Harlow serves straight-up amazing food. This mostly vegan, gluten-free café serves jalapeño cashew cheese instead of pepper jack. Kale is listed on the menu as often as pork belly appears on most others. In this non-satirical Harloworld, tempeh and quinoa are fungible counterparts to eggs and tots. The Outlaw Scramble (which can include eggs if you deign) is a bountiful heap of chipotle black bean chili, dark greens, and wilted spinach topped with the aforementioned cashew matter along with a scoop of guac and a mound of brown rice (or quinoa) on the side. Collectively, the faintly smoky, tangy/savory concoction impresses across the spectrum of texture, flavor, and heartiness. And lest ye think there’s no room for decadence, hidden among the spirulina and echinacea juices and smoothies is the Stumblebee, a hedonistic mélange of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana. Then again, cacao nibs are a superfood. BRIAN YAEGER Brunch hours: Mon-Sat 8 am-2:30 pm, Sun 8 am-3 pm, $$


Petunia’s Pies & Pastries | 610 SW 12th

Portland’s leisure class might think it’s a good use of time to wait six hours to squeeze into Tasty n Alder—for everybody else, it’s a good thing that a 10-second walk from Tasty n Alder gets you to Petunia’s Pies & Pastries, a significantly more chill vegan and gluten-free bakery. Bright and friendly, Petunia’s has both sweet and savory offerings (plus gluten-free beer), though they can be hit or miss. (On a recent stop, both the vegetable frittata and the pesto mac and cheese had that bland, rubber-band texture that often mars GF foods.) On weekends, though, Petunia’s offers a Belgian waffle with fruit compote (try to argue with THAT), and if it’s not the weekend? Well, good thing that another 10-second walk gets you to the Alder Street Food Cart Pod. If you can’t patch together a great brunch from any of the billion carts there, you deserve to languish in the Tasty n Alder line. EH Brunch hours: Mon-Fri 9 am-1 pm, Sat & Sun 9 am-2 pm, $$


Paradox Café | 3439 SE Belmont

Once I saw my regular Paradox waitress at a party and was starstruck, because she always remembers my order even though every dish here is infinitely customizable to one’s particular brand of food avoidance. Tofu or tempeh? Sausage or veggies? Cheese or “cheese”? There’s something for everyone among Paradox’s menu items with names that tell you nothing about their contents. I get the Belmont Combo (which a gluten-free friend called “one of the top three meals of her life”): potatoes that taste like Cajun Doritos in the best way, tempeh, and a corncake with apples, walnuts, and a pool of Earth Balance. This counter spot serves diner food in the new old-fashioned way, leaving no room for complaints about not getting exactly what you want. ELLEN FREEMAN Brunch hours: Mon-Fri 9 am-3 pm, Sat & Sun 8:30 am-4 pm $-$$


No Bones Beach Club | 3928 N Mississippi

Eleven in the morning may be brunch o’clock to some, but by that hour I usually like to have one meal already down the gullet and the next one planned. Brunch at No Bones Beach Club, though, which opens at 11 am on weekends, is worth sleeping in for. Before they opened last winter, I never realized that a 100 percent vegan tiki bar was missing from my life. Something I did know was missing from my life, ever since I stopped eating flesh, was a bagel with lox. Brunch generally isn’t hard to veganize, but until No Bones, I had never tasted a plant-based attempt at smoked salmon. There’s nothing fishy about their briny, smoky carrot “lox,” but it fills a hole in my heart. The passionfruit mimosas help too. EF Brunch hours: Sat & Sun 11 am-3 pm, $$


Blossoming Lotus  | 1713 NE 15th

The next level vegan brunch is the Live Doughnut Bites with a beet bloody mary from this Northeast neighborhood restaurant, which should be followed by the Lotus Benedict. There’s no reason to even look at the rest of the menu unless you hunger for live nachos at 11 am like the savage herbivore you are, lost in the sprawling Lloyd District. There are tired options too, like scrambles, burritos, and biscuits and gravy, I guess. (YAWN.) When I go here, I bring new friends and family to show them what an upscale vegan brunch looks like, served by a down-to-earth staff. KATHLEEN MARIE  Brunch hours: Sat & Sun, 9:30 am-3 pm, $$


A.N.D Cafe | 6526 SE Foster

Every time I go here I know exactly what I’m ordering: everything vegan off the menu, in any combination. My low-key choice is the plate-sized crispy sausage, with the creamy biscuits and gravy, complete with a Bloody Tio, but you can wake that up with a specialty waffle like pumpkin cheesecake or the sweet but savory gluten-free fried chick’n and maple blue corn waffle with the buffalo sauce. Since their move into Off the Griddle on Southeast Foster, the menu divided up some “old school” and “new school” dishes and opened up a lot more seating options. Bye, nests, and hello, lost boyritos (essentially a breakfast burrito stuffed with hash, soycurls, and mushrooms). This place offers egg and cheese as alternatives, which make it a great place to take friends and family where you know you’ll have just as many options, if not more, to choose from without meat. KM Brunch hours: Wed-Mon 9 am-2 pm, $$