I know I’m not alone when I say I’ve missed breaking bread with people beyond the four walls of my home. I’ve missed the human connectivity of sharing a meal, the clink and scrape, the reach and pass, the smells from steaming plates, the tastes, the talks. It’s how we forge relationships, build community, celebrate milestones, sign deals, show love.
And Portland is one of the best places I know in which to do it. Our food scene gained its national reputation for good reason. Culinary experimentation, quality ingredients, creative approaches, pluck, and scrappy insistence—we have it all right here. I’ve traveled the world and lived in four different countries, and I’ve had my belly filled best in Portland.
Some tough blows have landed over the past couple of years. As we were isolated from each other, sharing was discouraged in the pursuit of collective health, and our losses mounted. Our restaurant industry took serious hits, cutting deep into what we’ve long held dear as we lost beloved members of our food community to the virus, favorite eateries closed, and so many of our stalwarts left the industry. But Portland has found a way through, embracing takeout, then outdoor seating, then vaccine verification to help us all find our way back safely to what’s long been at the center of our city’s identity: breaking bread together.
That’s why this Best Restaurants issue is such a joy to put out in the world, and a source of immense pride for me as the magazine’s new editor in chief. In these pages, you’ll find our biggest-ever display of all that makes our food scene the beating heart of our city, from the year’s defining restaurant experiences to food carts to new twists on pizza to small but sparkling gems. It’s also a demonstration of the resilience of our fellow Portlanders, who’ve found ways to battle through hard times and keep creating dishes for us to gather around again.
Consider this issue a love letter to each of you, the chefs, the waitstaff, the dishwashers, the produce deliverers, the farmers and farmworkers, and so many more who have worked so hard to keep our place at the table. We raise our glasses to you all.
Editor in chief