6 Classic Brunch Spots Every Portlander Must Know

From deep-fried to dim sum, these are our favorite morning meals.

Videography by Sika Stanton By Portland Monthly Staff February 13, 2017

Portland has officially reached peak brunch. With so many restaurants offering cumin-spiced Bloody Marys and smoked trout eggs Benedict, the hardest part of the morning is just deciding where to settle in. Don't worry—we've done the homework for you. Click that play button above and behold our favorite brunches of the moment.

(Still hungry? Dive into our full feature about some of our other favorite brunch spots in town.)


This gracious Southern space nails all the Lazy Sunday details, from cloth-scrap napkins and the croon of ’90s R&B over the speakers to a sweet, bourbon-spiked Kentucky Coffee. Skip the leaden beignets and head straight to any protein from the deep fryer. Best is the magically feather-light catfish, flavorful and flaky, with a craggy cornmeal crust just dusted with spice. The buttermilk-brined fried chicken is no slouch either, juicy and rich, with a deeply bronzed crust and an oniony zing. A Meat + Three plate includes reasonably sized samples of most everything you want: mellow greens; nubby, herby Sea Island red peas; and the revelation of Anson Mills grits, silky and rich with what tastes like two pounds of butter per spoonful. Even better? Muscadine serves breakfast on the daily, y’all.

Milk Glass Mrkt

In 2005, while you were eating yet another salmon hash, Nancye Benson paved the way for Portland’s food cart revolution with handcrafted morning treats conjured in a vintage trailer oven on N Mississippi Avenue. Now, her signature Moxie Rx cart dishes have finally found a permanent home: a super-cute retro-mod café filled with curated groceries and some fresh ideas. Chomp right into a cheddar biscuit sandwich—not just the usual fried-egg number, but an herby omelet neatly folded and tucked beneath meaty bacon (or salmon, or roasted peppers) and an ooze of hot white cheese. Scan the counter for daily treats, from serious muffins to crispy-edge bread-pudding cakes—and remember, it’s never too early for Benson’s ginger lime macaroons.

Whiskey Soda Lounge

This is the best morning meal you’ve never heard of, from PDX’s most famous chef, Pok Pok's Andy Ricker. Seasoning to taste is a national pastime—as eaters dip freely into sweet/hot/tangy/even hotter table condiments. Case in point: you might think Ricker’s pan of Issan-Vietnamese over-easy eggs and sweet Chinese sausage is good. But then watch him season it, spooning from a jar of sour, fiery vinegared chiles; the dish suddenly roars forth. Jok, another menu high point, arrives like a hip cream of rice, with “bouncy pork” balls and a cloud of fragile fried rice noodles. But the real surprise is adding a patangko doughnut, which he rips apart and throws in for extra textural magic. More finds: steamed buns holding sweet shredded pork and, Ricker’s fave, a squat glass of coddled eggs sided by a Jenga stack of toasted bread fingers for dipping. Like everything, it gets the white pepper treatment. Mostly, don’t overthink it. That’s the Ricker lesson. “Just grab it, and eat the damn thing.”

Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry

There are no gimmicks or flashy flavors at Hollywood’s Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry, a low-key, light-filled café where you can play book hermit with a mug of Extracto coffee and a bowl of nutty porridge, surrounded by unironic china and the wavering croon of Lou Reed. The formerly fusty coffee shop turns out breakfast sandwiches layered with baked eggs, prosciutto and brie and slathered with tarragon aioli, alongside silky polenta wedges set in shallow bowls of cumin and grapefruit juice–braised pork and black beans. A humble morning porridge takes top marks: a toothsome mingle of salted oats and toasted quinoa, creamy with half-and-half and barely sweetened with brown sugar. It comes sided with good yogurt, shards of toasted coconut, pistachios, and ever-changing fruit variants. It’s a perfectly pleasant breakfast for any day of the week.


On a frumpy stretch of N Albina Avenue, Sweedeedee proudly serves “pie, breakfast and lunch.” Outside, jars of tea “cook” in the sun. Inside, Maldon salt and hand-cranked pepper mills stand on every table. Big portions, big flavors, great vibes, and most dishes under $10: that’s Sweedeedee. From the tiny kitchen come soups, farm-fresh salads, giant cakes, a righteous honey pie. Sandwiches are towering visions of bacon, beets, and shredded lettuce on fresh cornmeal molasses bread. Breakfast percolates all day, led by the best corn-cakes plate around.

HK Café

A multisensory clamor of grinning maneki-neko cats, extended Asian families, and rattling carts that leave pork- and ginger-perfumed contrails in their wake, this east-side strip-mall hall has quietly usurped Portland’s dim sum crown with its massive roster of flavor bombs. Nibble plump, pork-and-shrimp-popping siu mai dumplings and sautéed green beans heady with tiny fermented shrimp. Sample translucent, sesame- and chile-slicked jellyfish salad, roasted meats, and snack innards. You could graze at this hectic Chinese brunch utopia for hours and never get bored. Flag down a server and demand an egg yolk bun—a yeasty mind-scrambler hiding a drippy trove of hot, sweet golden goo inside. They are round, sugar-crusted, and usually hide in the bottom left-hand corner of the glass-doored carts. Find them.

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