1621 SE Bybee
Maybe it's because of my propensity to get horribly lost in Sellwood, but I always imagine it to be about 50 miles away--a far, remote, small town version of Portland located somewhere on the outskirts of Salem. Truthfully, though, if you have a sense of direction and drive to Sellwood in the daylight when McLoughlin isn't clogged with traffic, the trip takes something like five minutes. Five short minutes and you're in a sweet, cozy little part of town where locals engage in lawn bowling matches, couples window shop and hold hands, and babies never, ever cry.
An afternoon tooling around on the streets of Sellwood provides a healthy reminder that this city isn't all hipsters, hippies, and people under the age of 30. It's a refreshing mix of folk from all demographics who like to spend their afternoons drinking a pint of beer or walking in the sun.
Jones's, the latest addition to the bustling intersection of Sellwood's Southeast 17th and Bybee, captures this sentiment perfectly. A mellow, woody public house with a resting bench out front, Jones's epitomizes the neighborhood joint. Tabletops at Jones's are charmingly decorated with photographs--like a huge poster of Def Leppard--and board games, and a bar runs along the front window so you can eat a late lunch and people-watch. The menu is sturdy but exciting, with burgers, soups, and salads, and standard pub fare like a huge plate of bangers and mashers or a pork loin dinner.
Recently, feeling a little under the weather, I was comforted by Jones's homemade chicken potpie and salad. The pie's crust was crisp, salty, and buttery, and covered a delicious bowl of tender vegetables, big pieces of chicken torn from the bone, and a deliciously creamy, but not too heavy broth. Likewise, the banger and masher dinner was solid and tasty, made with two big plump seasoned sausages and mashed potatoes laced with melted cheese.
While Jones's doesn't open until 3 pm on the weekdays, on weekends they start serving a relaxing brunch at 10 am. Menu items include a decadent eggs benedict with potatoes, a goat cheese and asparagus scramble, or a simple breakfast sandwich on a bagel. I sampled Jones's signature version of huevos rancheros--a huge, heaping plate made with crumbled corn bread topped with black beans, fried eggs, and homemade salsa. The egg yolks were pleasantly runny and mixed in with beans, tomatoes, onions, and cornbread deliciously. All that, plus the meal came with a big, fresh serving of yellow fruit salad made with pineapple, grapefruit, oranges, and more.
At the moment Jones's brunch isn't too crowded, so you can sit in the day-lit dining room, read the paper, and drink coffee for a few hours. Or, if you're chasing off a hangover, order up a "Keith Richards," the bar's awesome concoction of espresso, Kahlua, and vodka served chilled with a cherry.
If you're not the type who takes advantage of the nice weather by strapping on your hiking boots or kayaking the Clackamas river, at least spend an afternoon browsing the antique malls in Sellwood, taking a look through the Goodwill bins, and stopping by Jones's for a beer, a burger, and a game of backgammon.