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Mar 5, 2008 11:11 AM

Best Biscuits & Gravy - Portland

I've made it my mission to seek out the best biscuits & gravy around Portland. While I've just begun, the journey thus far has proven delicious.

Here is a recap of my journey to date:

-- Bannings: Fluffy cut biscuits in a simple (read: no sausage chunks) peppery gravy
-- Buffalo Gap: Gigantic, dense cut biscuits (grilled on cut side, which can add a slight greasy aftertaste) topped with flavorful plate-licking-good gravy with ample bits of sausage. I recommend ordering another side of gravy to pour on top because once you've finished, you'll no doubt wish you had more.
-- Fat Albert's: Tasty cut biscuits topped with sausage-less gravy. Sausage links served on the side offer no real benefit to a rather bland gravy.
-- Fat City: Arrived late in the day, so was given an overflowing plate of crumbled up drop biscuits without enough of the flavorful sausage gravy to balance them out
-- Genie’s: Dense drop biscuits, with sometimes overly crunchy peaks, smothered in a hearty sausage dotted gravy
-- Gracie’s: Greasy, flat cheddar-flecked cut biscuits swimming in underwhelming, salty sausage gravy
-- O’Connor’s: Overly soft and relatively flat cut biscuits covered in a very chunky, yet fairly flavorless sausage gravy*

*Not a regular breakfast menu item. Can be found only as a special.

Places left to try:
Bertie Lou’s
Industrial Café
Pine State Biscuits
Screen Door
Tin Shed

I’d love to hear about your favorite b&g! Help me decide which spot to try next.

Am I missing any on my list?

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  1. Ice Queen,

    Your mission is a noble and lofty one, and so I am adding my research staff to the effort. I don't live in the Rose City any more, but I often visit on weekends, and will try to put some of the places you mention into my brunch itinerary.

    I was at Fat City just this past weekend, and had the pork chops with sausage gravy.
    It came with 2 large tasty pork chops, 2 eggs, a HEAPING pile of very good hash browns (crispy brown on the outside), a good-sized bowl (I didn't need more, but was offered it) of gravy and a choice of biscuit, or other bread item.

    The gravy was very good: with lots of sausage bits as well as a creamy, flavorful, consistency -- I guess one might call it "hearty". I didn't care for the biscuit so much; it seemed like it had too much baking soda in it, but it was fluffy. Me, I'd rather just have the gravy on good hash browns. Do remember our waitress being told something about "the last biscuit being ready" after we had already been served our meal, so yeah, they apparently make a finite amount of biscuit batter each day. Over all, I was very impressed with the meal.

    Had O'Connor's gravy a few weeks back. It wasn't as good as Fat City's (can't recollect details now, however), and I really didn't care much for O'C's breakfast potato cube-ettes (they seemed over cooked/re-heated and too much garlic for moi).

    As for other places to try, don't forget The Hotcake House, just east of the R.I. Bridge.
    It's not the best, but it's not the worst, and you can get it all night (i.e. early morning) long. As others have said, prime people-watching time is around 2-3 am.

    Another good b-fast place is the Black (brown?) Bear on TV Hwy in Beaverton. Had their b&g some months back; remember it, too, being purdee good and being given a massive plate of it.

    "Am I missing any on my list?" Seems like PDX is definitely b&g country, so I would imagine the number of b-fast places serving it is legion.

    1. I can tell you that Pine State Biscuits is definitely on my radar, especially for their Reggie Deluxe. Biscuits, gravy, fried chicken, bacon and eggs. Get my cardiologist on speed dial...

      1 Reply
      1. re: SauceSupreme

        The family is road trippin through Portland, and our first brunch was at Pine State's Alberta location. Big thumbs up all around. I loved my Podnah's pulled pork & slaw creation. Great slow cooked tangy pulled pork on an excellent biscuit. There were two McIsley's and a Reggie on the table that I sampled too. Not a drop went to waste. Good hash browns, collards, and slaw on the side too.

      2. I definitely gotta concur with Pine State Biscuits. Did I hear they recently opened an actual space (I've only had them at the Portland Farmer's Market, and then I have to get up early or they run out), or was I just dreaming of things I wished were true?

        I've had Biscuits' biscuits and gravy. Dull. It's basically a chain brunch diner. Biscuits and gravy are such a secret love of mine that most of the time I keep it a secret from even myself. When I do actually order them, I usually fall in love all over again, and wonder how (and why) I ever tricked myself into believing I don't like sausage. So when biscuits and gravy actually disappoint me, they must be pretty poor indeed.

        3 Replies
          1. re: SauceSupreme

            Oh, that's's right by my new job! Thanks!

          2. re: lpfaf

            Hey lpfaf,

            I 100% concur in your evaluation of Biscuits. The dullest, blandest B&G I've had in a long time. This chain should be avoided at all costs.


          3. Update:

            I tried Podnah’s b&g last weekend. After giving up on the long line at Gravy (will try again soon) I was pleasantly surprised that Podnah’s was virtually empty at 11am. As the order of b&g was placed before me, my mouth was salivating in anticipation at the delicious plate of sausage filled goodness before me. Unfortunately, the first bite revealed an insanely salty gravy. The next bite was overly spicy (due to the sausage, no doubt) and salty. Bite after bite: more of the same. While the biscuits were perfect (especially when topped with some jam), the gravy left much to be desired. I might try this spot one more time because it seems like maybe it was just a really off day.

            That experience also leads me to wonder: Why would you ever let food leave the kitchen without first having tasted it? When asked about the salt and spice levels, the server said he wasn’t sure what was going on because he hadn’t tasted it that day. But, shouldn’t someone in the kitchen have noticed at least the saltiness, if not the spiciness (as that can be more of a preference thing)?

            Industrial Café proved that Gears and Gravy can go perfectly together. After my disappointing Podnah’s visit, I honestly had very little hope of finding good b&g at this quirky little breakfast spot. That all changed the moment I took my first taste of those silly gear shaped biscuits. They were perfectly soft and fluffy. And when coupled with the light sage-flavored sausage gravy, they added up to something truly divine.

            3 Replies
            1. re: The Ice Queen

              Had the biscuits sans gravy with the honey butter. Wow. Great biscuits. In fact, everything we ordered there was excellent: hash, french toast, two omlettes, a side of heavenly bacon, stumptown coffee... the best breakfasts we've had on our roadtrip through the NW.

              1. re: The Ice Queen

                Gravy's gravy is very salty also. It is now 3+ years from your original post, did you ever make it there?

                1. re: pdxgastro

                  Or er, maybe it was too peppery. I forgot which, sorry.

              2. Hey Ice Queen,

                You've gotta try the B&G at Roxy's, at 1121 SW Stark St. Funky bar with a rather unique interior design. But, their breakfasts rock, and their B&G are very, very good.