Slide Show: Inside Tilt in the Pearl District
Photography by Erik Maurer
A long-time destination for hungry comfort food seekers on Swan Island, Tilt has long served as Portland's paragon of the blue-collar burger, keeping their style solidly American with little to no fancy-pants frills. With a new 175-seat outpost in the Pearl District (complete with an 85-seat bar, counter-service eatery with house-baked pastry case, and a full service espresso counter courtesy of local Ristretto Roasters) the Tilt empire just tripled in size. Built in the long-abandoned carcass of a former General Electric distribution plant, Tilt's half-bar, half-lunchcounter eatery retains much of the timeworn building's history—think communal bars built on rustic iron I-beams, concrete walls and floors, exposed duct piping, and a gargantuan green drill press relic from the good ol’ days of Portland manufacturing. Tilt's aesthetic is industrial and utilitarian, slim on decoration save for the old style pinup girl mural on the wall and the bottom-lit American flag dominating the back wall of the bar area. Owner Octavian Jurj espouses the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Tilt does just a few things, and they do them very well. Their philosophy is built on three points: the colossal hamburger, the rich heritage of industrial America, and the working class roots of the Pearl. That means Tilt’s menu sticks to three main staples of Americana: burgers, biscuits, and pies.