Cover Story

Eat Outside: Sunny Side Up

Open-air breakfast favorites.

By Rachel Ritchie July 22, 2011 Published in the August 2011 issue of Portland Monthly

Veritable quandary outdoor dining iqgitm

Brunch at Veritable Quandary: a 40-year-old tradition

Image: Neil DeCosta

Screen Door

$ 25 ^

2337 E Burnside St; 503-542-0880
Screen Door has been dishing out a fresh, belt-busting Southern brunch anchored by a towering plate of fried chicken and waffles for five years. But with the recent expansion of the side patio—a covered cluster of picnic tables bordered by climbing plants and maples—the wait to dig in got a little bit shorter.

Irving Street Kitchen

$$ 40 H ^

701 NW 13th Ave; 503-343-9440
Within its capacious, farmhouse-chic space, Irving Street Kitchen offers a varied collection of eating environs, from the the curtained booths to the hickory bar. But on weekend mornings, you’ll want a seat at one of the chunky redwood tables among the potted plants and wagon-wheel benches on the loading dock, watching the city wake up as you dive into poached eggs and lobster scrambles.

Wild Abandon

$ 60

2411 SE Belmont St; 503-232-4458
Never Land comes to Southeast via Wild Abandon. A walk through the dimly lit dining room delivers you to a spacious, sun-drenched back patio, where a towering, Peter Pan–worthy cyprus tree grows right through the concrete. Chatter from neighborhood families provides the soundtrack in this often-lineless hidden spot, while eggs Benedict and pitch-perfect Bloody Marys provide very good reasons to grow up.

Veritable Quandary

$$ 55 H

1220 SW First Ave; 503-227-7342
In 1971, when “outdoor dining” in Portland usually meant PB&J at Keller Fountain, VQ began serving brunch on a patio that put the rickety sidewalk tables of other restaurants to shame. The riverside space is still as alluring as it was then, especially for brunch, when the stone tables, wrought-iron fencing, rosebushes, and blackened catfish with poached egg combine to give your grumbling belly a memorable answer to its hunger pangs.

Muddy's Coffeehouse (Now Closed)

$ 40 ^

3560 N Mississippi Ave; 503-445-6690
It’s easy to make yourself at home at this quaint and colorful Victorian house–turned–café, charmed by its hardwood floors, casual décor, and friendly servers. The warm welcome extends to the front yard, where a sun-dappled arbor and tiled roundtops make an ideal setting for devouring scrambles overstuffed with local ingredients. Just remember: at some point, you’ll have to go back to your house.

Tin Shed

$ 40 H ^

1438 NE Alberta St; 503-288-6966
Don’t even think about hitting the snooze button Saturday morning if you want a seat on this popular eatery’s flower-filled garden patio. Waits for Tin Shed’s local, organic goodies can easily creep past an hour. Fortunately, if you miss the breakfast boat, you can sneak back (and probably find a fireside seat) for supper. —RR

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