Aaron Lee

The Bomber Restaurant | 13515 SE McLoughlin

If you’re willing to make the trip just south of Milwaukie, the Bomber provides old-school breakfast perfection in an unironic and nostalgic atmosphere. For years an actual WWII-era B-17 bomber sat outside before it was taken away for rehabilitation, but inside you’ll still see tons of memorabilia, photos, and airplane parts bedecking the walls. Meanwhile, on your plate you’ll see perfectly crisped hash browns and bacon, chicken fried steaks, fluffy “Bomblettes” (omelettes), as well as pancakes and waffles for your sweet tooth. Wait time is minimal, which alone should make it worth the short journey south and through time. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Brunch hours: Daily 6 am-1:45 pm, $$


Fuller’s Coffee Shop | 136 NW 9th

Fuller’s Coffee Shop is one of those ageless, no-frills diners that seem to have been transported from the East Coast, legit diner counter and perfect comfort-food menu intact. If you want to spend brunch feeling like you’re inside an Edward Hopper painting, you can’t do better. And if, like me, your Waterloo of breakfast is deciding between savory and sweet, go for the breakfast special—with one fluffy, face-sized pancake, two thick strips of bacon, and an egg, it has it all! Add a side of crunchy, classic hash browns if you’re feeling frisky. There are tables outside, but the gem of Fuller’s is its counter, which brings a sense of remarkable efficiency to the whole operation, and makes an especially good spot for solo brunching alongside loyal regulars and slumming Pearl District yuccies alike. In other words, it’s perfect. MEGAN BURBANK Brunch hours: Mon-Fri 6 am-3 pm, Sat 7 am-2 pm, Sun 8 am-2 pm, $


John’s Cafe | 301 NW Broadway

It’s important to note this charming, sun-faded mom-and-pop diner is cash only and presumably has been for the 44 years it’s been holding down its busy downtown corner. The menu is short and uncomplicated, mostly different arrangements of meat, eggs, pancakes and toast. They do a few things and do them well. John’s Cafe is still run by its owners—literally the cook and counter person on duty—and the clientele is heavy with regulars that seem to eat there every day. A customer brought in a bunch of fresh-picked roses from his yard while I was there, which the counter woman accepted graciously before turning to chastise me for not finishing my hashbrowns. When I wondered why they’re closed on Sunday she replied, “For church!”—incredulous that I would even ask. SUZETTE SMITH Brunch hours: Mon-Fri 6 am-2 pm, Sat 7 am-noon, $


Original Pancake House | 8601 SW 24th

There are only two things I require for my birthday—sexual gratification of a certain variety (you can fill in the blank), and a trip to the Original Pancake House. While they have locations scattered around the country, their corporate headquarters are right here in Portland—and they are Portland, through and through. Decked out in knotty-wood pine and hanging dishware (just like your Nana’s house), this bustling breakfast joint delivers the most solid pancake-based menu you’re likely to encounter anywhere. Hot syrup joins perfectly cooked and fluffy pancakes in various scrumptious forms: banana, coconut, bacon (Yes! Bacon pancakes!), and Georgia pecan, as well as Swedish and even Hawaiian-style. And while their egg dishes and corned beef hash rise to the summit of perfection—at the top of that mountain you will find the OPH signature dish... the Dutch Baby: a ginormous sweet popover made from eggs, flour, sugar, and milk that is the epitome of all breakfast treats. Bow before it. WSH Brunch hours: Wed-Sun 7 am-3 pm, $$


Overlook Restaurant | 1332 N Skidmore

This classic Greek American diner is a staple of North Interstate. Even on weekday mornings, the restaurant side of the Overlook is hopping. Families fill the tables and kids roam the floors, and ordering a bloody mary pint at eight in the morning on a Friday earns a slightly judgmental look from an otherwise chipper-as-all-get-out middle-aged server (even though literally the first thing on the breakfast menu page is “May we suggest a morning cocktail?”). Luckily, the lounge opens as soon as the restaurant does, and it is a sight to behold. Smoky stained-glass windows, booths, and tables at odd midcentury angles, all in colors that stopped existing in the late ’70s. Wherever you sit, beware: Portions are enormous. This menu doesn’t offer chicken-fried steak and eggs; it offers two chicken-fried steaks and eggs. Or three pork chops. The French toast isn’t just French toast—it’s cinnamon roll French toast. And yeah, you can get a Greek omelet here, but you can also get the classic diner breakfast of a “taco omelet.” This place feels like home even if it’s nothing like where you came from. THOMAS ROSS Brunch hours: Mon-Sat 5 am-10 pm, Sun 6 am-9 pm, $


Original Hotcake House | 1002 SE Powell

I have fond memories of spending a long night in the Hotcake House as a teenager, coming off two hits of acid over a bottomless cup of coffee and a pack of unfiltered Pall Malls. During the times when my appetite wasn’t being decimated by cheap psychedelics, I recall the French fries tasting faintly of ocean-going protein and the clientele representing a colorful slice of humanity. But you don’t go to the Hotcake House for the people-watching, or for any of the chicken-fried fare; you go for the hotcakes—impossibly golden, dappled with little yellow squares of cold butter and a rivulet of maple-flavored syrup. You go for the hash browns, fried to gossamer crisp and lacquered with ketchup (or go balls to the wall and order them “ultimate”—you’ll get gravy on them instead). You go for the omelets the size of a sleeping bag, filled with all manner of cheeses, crunchy vegetation, and cured pork products. HEATHER ARNDT ANDERSON Brunch hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week, $


Pig ‘N Pancake | 12110 NE Glisan

For those enjoying beach time, the five coastal locations of Pig ‘N Pancake are the stuff of delicious legend. Is it because other beachside restaurants blow by comparison? I say unto thee NAY, because we have P ‘N P right here on the Northeast outskirts of Portland, and it is an old-school diner of exquisite beauty. While their menu boasts delightful entries such as apple crêpes, strawberry blintzes, French toast, and potato pancakes, along with your standard-issue pancake fare, do not miss one of the greatest breakfasts I’ve ever had in my life: the chicken-fried skillet. It’s tender chicken-fried steak on top of hashbrowns, ladled with two scrambled eggs and sausage gravy. OH DEAR GOD, YES. I would’ve had a heart attack—but my heart couldn’t bear to miss one delicious bite. WSH Brunch hours: Daily 6:30 am-3 pm, $$