A pie from Char Pizza

Yes, the rumors are true. Foster-Powell, that busy, auto-shop-studded triangle between Lents and Woodstock, is having a food renaissance. Not that it was a total food desert. Remember Foster Burger, the early patty project from Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker? (It still exists, in some form, nearly a decade later.) Portland Mercado, meanwhile, continues to lead the way for Latin American–run food start-ups. But now, you can also find a perfect daiquiri, small-batch coffee, and all the pizza.

Carnelian Coffee

There are plenty of dive bars in FoPo, but 5 & Dime might be the first place to find a well-executed classic cocktail. Owners Colin Carroll and Alex “Goose” Gesler, both formerly of Trifecta, have built a Portland-chic space that feels dark enough for date night but inclusive enough to bring your kids (until 7 p.m., at least) to watch Blazer games. A rotating “themed” cocktail list plays off of random references, from American Gods to Wu Tang, but the real find is an $8 manhattan as good as one you’d find downtown at nearly twice the price.

Down the street, Carnelian Coffee (carneliancoffee.com) brings a buzzy injection of quirk and microroasting to the Foster strip: the small, two-room space looks like a ’70s pleasure lounge designed by your geode-obsessed uncle. (Rocks are the hard theme here.) Co-owner Katie Clark roasts tiny batches of beans in rapid rotation—often six or seven a week from a diverse mix of coffee-growing regions and methods. The result is a solid lineup of expressive,
medium-roast shots. Between the stacks of granite and obsidian, Carnelian also hosts occasional open-mics, making it one of the fast-growing neighborhood’s many new community hubs.

But pizza, it seems, is FoPo’s inescapable calling. In the past year alone, four crust-driven eateries have opened, each repping a different style: Assembly Brewing does Detroit deep-dish; Atlas Pizza, which lives next door to 5 & Dime, is cheesy, sloppy New York–style; a second location of Neapolitan Pizzeria Otto is on the way. The most interesting so far might be Char Pizza (charpizza.com), a popular takeout operation with a long row of pinball machines, Defender to Lord of the Rings. Char describes its pizza—which has names like Alice, Penny, and Beans, after the owners’ cats—as “Portland-style.” That means tangy, puffy-rimmed crusts with a hard char, deep layers of cheese, and seasonal toppings. For this budding hood, it’s something to write home about. 

5 & Dime

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