3517 NE 46th Ave,
282-4233 Around since the summer of 1996, chances are you haven't heard of the brunch haven Suzanne's. But heck, that's the beauty of Portland--even after living here for years, the place is still fresh with discovery. Owner Suzanne Kline jokes, "No one knows where I am!"
For restaurateurs, Beaumont has its pros and cons. It's one of the nicer Northeast neighborhoods, with beautiful Alameda homes nearby. --"I was born and raised in Northeast Portland. I've watched the area transform into a bustling shopping and dining destination," says Kline.
Yet Savory, now gone, struggled here, and Malanga--with Cuban food and a great garden patio--is doing its best to stay afloat. (The Red Fig does well, though, punctuating that there's no obvious formula for success.) Places like Suzanne's, fish place Winterborne, and the new tea spot, Foxfire, have it harder, since they're tucked off the main drag. Whatever the location, the trick in the restaurant game is to not be invisible--that's the nightmare that wakes chefs and owners from their slumber, wide-eyed and drenched in sweat. --
But Kline is in it to win it, doing her thing, and greeting customers on busy weekend mornings with the same vitality as on slow weekdays when only regulars stop into her tiny, semi-hidden restaurant. "The feel that I wanted was that of a cozy European cottage with sunny warmth and comfort," says Kline. When you walk in, words like "quaint" and "knick-knacky" may come to mind, but Suzanne's isn't littered with yard sale items by any stretch. Instead, it's like the quintessential grandma's kitchen, or a relaxing breakfast nook at a seaside inn.
The decor is inviting, and without a doubt, so is the food. Three big pancakes are jammed up with blueberries (Oregon berries, of course, in summer) and toasty, crunchy hazelnuts. Earthy-sweet potato pancakes come with cinnamon apple compote. Slices of cardamom-scented Scandia French toast might make their way onto your plate, if the--homemade biscuits and gravy don't tempt you first. "I'm particularly proud of the Scandinavian specials and fresh baked bread," adds Kline. But if you need your early morning meat fix, the crispy, salty corned beef hash, topped with a poached egg, is protein-laden heaven ($7.50). The Florentine-style eggs ain't half bad, either.
Suzanne's is worth checking out for lunch, too, with quiche specials each day ($7.75), and killer roast turkey available as a sandwich, or better yet, as a delicious crepe baked with a white wine cream sauce, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese ($8.00). Need your greens? The spinach salad is topped with sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and a warm vinaigrette.
"I'm rewarded daily with a loyal customer base," Kline is proud to say. "People tell me, 'You just can't get food like this anywhere else in town.'" The Berlin Inn is probably the only place that comes close, breakfast-wise, and Gustav's, when it comes to lunch. But the cottage-like atmosphere of Suzanne's and Kline's genuinely personable nature, along with the food, garner high marks. ----