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Another One Bites The Dust at Sandy and 37th

I just saw the For Lease sign in the window of the relatively new Mexican restaurant at Sandy and 37th. What is that, three different establishments in the past three years? I'd like to hear some ideas as to what can of joint can survive at this location with its limited parking and poor pedestrian access.

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  1. It's a bad location. Normally too busy a corner, I think, with really bad traffic there. And it's not obvious that it has parking, though I think it does. But now, the construction going on there can't be good for anybody. Good luck filling that lease whoever owns it. There is so much construction going on in town right now being draaaaaaaged out. Maybe they could pool their resources and quickly get one project done and then move on. Wouldn't that be nice?

    1 Reply
    1. re: extramsg

      I live near there also, and avoid Sandy Blvd. like the plague now. I take every possible side street because the traffic caused by the construction is ridiculous. I can't imagine how those businesses are surviving. That spot is the worst because of lack of parking, and you pass it before you know it with no place to turn around. The liquor store next door has done very well over the years though. I guess it doesn't need as much parking...

    2. We had actually looked at that location for our office about a year ago, but the owner insisted on leasing it to a restaurant because that's what had been there before. The parking is across the street in the Banfield Motel lot, which would have worked ok for us, but I think now the owner might consider another type of business. It is high visibility, but that's just not enough without parking or access (and yes, add the construction for a nightmare indeed!).

      1. I love the logic of insisting on renting to the same type of business that has failed numerous times before. Can't argue with (lack of) success! Rinse, repeat...

        I live very near there, and have never seen anything last. Before it was a string of short-lived restaurants it was a series of other things, such as junque shops, fix-it shops, etc.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Leonardo

          Could part of the curse be that no one has replaced the etched "Brandys" glass from when it was a strip club?

          1. re: Leonardo

            We've lived a few blocks away for 9 years now, and the longest-lived thing in that time was Galway's Irish pub, or maybe Blackbird. Here's my recollection of what's been there:

            Galway's (Irish pub)
            Duck and Whistle? (another Irish pub)
            Rudy Tutti's (blues/rockabilly club)
            Brandy's (strip club -- I refused to check it out until they fixed the cracked corner window that was patched with duct tape, which they never did, so I never went)
            Blackbird (alt-rock club with vegetarian food)
            Uncle Butchy's Low Carb Cafe (doomed from the start)
            Rafael's Comida Mexicana (not interesting enough to draw me away from Cha Cha Cha)

            Blackbird did seem to draw quite a crowd, not sure why it closed. None of the tenants have ever bothered trying to do much with the interior decor -- the place does have an odd three-level triangular floorplan -- presumably because they were operating on a shoestring to begin with and the rent there is cheap.

            The Hollywood area really lacks a good breakfast spot, and it's my perception that breakfast places tend to draw from nearby residents. Maybe that would be the best bet... after the Sandy sewer project is done... and if they get the Brandy's un-etched from the window...

            1. re: jeff_pdx

              There was a Vietnamese place in there briefly too. Just after Champagne Claudias I think.

              BTW once the Sewer Project gets done there are a couple of road projects that will follow. Hollywood and the rest of Sandy from 16th to 57th are going to be a mess for another year.

              1. re: jeff_pdx

                Jeff, the building housed Hollywood Garden Center forever, then your list plus 2 restaurants at once before Blackbird, an American type grill on the lower level, & bento on the upper level. Regarding your comment about breakfast, please see the reply I just made to Jen & Scott regarding Hollywood Burger Bar.

            2. Perhaps breakfast would be its last hope.

              Before your list: Champagne Claudia's, one of our first wine bars. Friendly, unpretentious, I liked it.

              1. Violet's Cafe, at Sandy and Sacramento, is a good breakfast spot. Or is that too far up Sandy to still be considered Hollywood?

                1 Reply
                1. re: rockbroker

                  I ventured into the J Spot for breakfast and, although hard to find, is fantastic. I had their Chicken Salad Sandwich, a steal at $5, considering I had to take half home with me. They bake all their own bread and pastries. They also have breakfast all day - Scrambles with smoked salmon and one that had chicken and cream cheese - YUMMY! Cozy spot.

                2. We have lived in the heart of Hollywood for about 13 years, and Violet's is by far the best breakfast spot nearby. It would be nice to have something a little closer of that quality. Has anybody ventured into the J Spot? For some reason, although it's only a few blocks from our house, we haven't been in. Would love to hear if anybody has tried it. The Hollywood Burger Bar (which is very near our home) is always packed for breakfast, but I always assumed it was more greasy spoon than we would like. Can anybody shed some light on the offerings for breakfast there? We don't eat meat our poultry, so aren't really drawn to burger joints, which is why we haven't ventured in.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Jen and Scott Lehr

                    Where is the J Spot? I don't think I've seen it.

                    Willamette Week liked Fleur de Lis for lunch, but didn't like its pastries, so that might it out as a breakfast destination. Food Dude over at portlandfoodanddrink.com seemed to like the pastries OK, though.

                    1. re: Nettie

                      Fleur de Lis is disappointing for those of us who grew accustomed to the pastry selection at Criollo. Especially on Sundays, it seems the available choices are quite limited. Quality is decent, and I had a very nice pork loin sandwich (which, again, I only got because they were practically out of pastries). I really miss Criollo's quiche lorraine...

                      I do consider Violet's "not Hollywood", in that it's outside the "CBD" between 37th and 43rd. And do tell about the J Spot.

                      BTW, good to see more Portland chatter on the New Chowhound... seems like after the format change, the board was quite SEA-dominated.

                    2. re: Jen and Scott Lehr

                      J Spot has a very tasty vegetable scramble with feta and homemade salsa. It is served with poatoes and a fresh baked pita. They have other meatless items on the menu as well. my favoite is their calzone with pesto, cheese, mushrooms and JSpot sauce. Yum. They also bake their own cookies , muffins and scones. The lemon poppy seed scones are wonderful!!

                      1. re: Jen and Scott Lehr

                        Jen & Scott,
                        You should go in & check out the menu at Hollywood Burger Bar. You say you don't eat poultry, & if that includes eggs, that limits it, but if you're ovo/lacto friendly there are pancakes, waffles, french toast, cheese &/or veggie omelettes, oatmeal, hash browns, & varied types of bread for toast. At lunch there are Garden- & Boca- burgers, a veggie sandwich, grilled cheese, teriyaki veggie/rice plate, a side salad, french fries, potato salad, cottage cheese, & usually(not guaranteed)on Friday a vegetarian soup such as redbean & rice, cheddar vegetable, or tomato basil(never clam chowder, but occasionally a seafood soup). So although not a vegetarian restaurant per se, there are plenty of options, with a price range of $1.25 for a pancake to $6.50 for a 3-egg veggie omelette with hash browns & toast, & from $3.25 for a grilled cheese sandwich with a side order, to $6.00 for the teriyaki plate.

                      2. Hollywood, as defined by the neighborhood association boundaries, is between 37th-47th.

                        I like everything at Fleur de Lis.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Leonardo

                          I think Fleur de Lis has the best croissants in town since Le Pannier folded. Their lunch menu is limited but excellent. Soups are good, too. I'm there frequently.

                        2. The J Spot is at 45th & Sandy below street level; enter through the courtyard. Maybe we'll check it out this weekend and report back.