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Epic Korean cart grub from Kim Jong Grillin' 

Image: Karen Brooks

You probably head to Southeast Division and Clinton with out-of-town visitors to wait in line and check Salt & Straw off their list. But the folks who live and work in this funky hood have other spots they consider essential destinations. We’ll let them explain, in their own words.

Tal Caspi

Chef and co-owner of Division’s vegan-Mediterranean hotspot Aviv

The first place I lived in town 11 years ago was a block off Division, and now I actually live on Clinton—three blocks from Aviv. So I’m really from here. I’ve seen every change in the last decade—and there’s been a ton of change. Gonzo, my food cart, actually started on Division across the street from Pok Pok. I still go to Whiskey Soda Lounge. I get the phat Thai that’s only available after 10 p.m. It’s the best phat Thai I’ve ever had in my life.

The place I go every single day is Best Friend, the coffee and juice cart right behind my restaurant. They carry Courier Coffee, it's owned by [two] Crema Coffee & Bakery alums, and it’s super funky—just the best. Every morning I get a coffee and a [pineapple-coconut water-kale] “Best Friends” juice. I go to Double Dragon (the staff is awesome) and Los Gorditos for vegan burritos. The Clinton Street Pub is where I go for a drink and late-night vegan grub—it’s just an old-school dive bar. It’s perfect.

I think a lot of people don’t know there’s still an old-school porn theater on Division [the Oregon Theater, a block from Ava Gene’s]. I don’t go there. But I want it to continue to exist. It’s a relic of seedy Old Portland. Division is still my fave street in town. There’s a vibe and energy around here. I love that you can still sit and hear the sound of trains. It’s special.

Elizabeth Nathan

Owner of fro-yo palace Eb & Bean
Quizzing this frozen yogurt maven on her favorite neighborhood spots prompted a flurry of excited texts:

 

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Tracy Tsefalas

Owner of Southeast Division’s Fumerie Parfumerie

“A little store I just discovered is Gypsy Chic—those guys are great. The people are really knowledgeable, and what the boutique curates for clothing is really nice. Also I’m a huge vintage fan, so Xtabay on SE Clinton Street is fun.

I don’t drink coffee so I always head to Townshend’s Teahouse down the street for a drink. For lunch? Stella Taco, they do a really good job with the Mexican fare. And there’s a new bar that just opened down the way called Cat’s Paw Saloon. The guy running it is from Thrasher magazine, so it’s got a whole skateboard vibe—it’s a fun energy for the neighborhood. [Ed note: Cat’s Paw is co-owned by former Thrasher skate team manager Mickey Reyes, a storied figure in skateboard circles. “Google his name—you’ll find plenty,” laughed the Paw bartender when I called to double-check the connection.]

 

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