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Oct 17, 2009 10:39 AM

Portland (PDX): Good regional lunch spot

Hi all,

I was looking for a recommendation for a place for lunch in or around Portland on a Friday or Saturday that serves regional/Northwest cuisine. We only have one night in Portland and want to hit Apizza Scholls (finally). So, we're stuck with doing regional food for lunch.

We'll plan to hit a brewery for the OTHER lunch (but I can do other research on here for that).

On a separate note: on an average Friday night, how long a wait could be expect at Apizza Scholls for 4 for dinner at a normal time (7ish?). Or what time should we get there to minimize the wait?



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  1. I've never been to Apizza Scholls, so can't help there.

    For Northwest lunch ... you could always go with Jakes - oldest restaurant in Portland, known for fish. Or Higgins ( has a nice lunch and is considered NW cuisine. Also Heathman has nice lunch.

    If you are going on Saturday, you could try the Veritable Quandry for brunch:

    1 Reply
    1. re: KerryEagen

      Jake's is a tourist trap and Huber's is older than Jake's.
      For lunch I'd do Higgins or Wildwood.

    2. well, simply put, if you show up at 7 on a fri. night, there is a chance you may not get a pie! they can sell out pretty quickly on fri/sat. That being said, get there between 5 and 6 and your wait will probably be the better part of an hour.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nkeane

        They woud never sell out if you got there at 7 on a Friday. Get there at 7 and you'll wait till about 8. Get there at 8 an they may run out. Get there at 6:15 and you should be eating by 7.

      2. Apizza Scholls gets lots of local raves (and the local guides take the national tv and press guys there), but really, it is not in the top tier of USA pizza. But please go, you'll probably love it because you, like many others, will feel inferior if you don't scream its praises. I've been told I don't know anything about pizza (on another board) though I've been eating pizza (homemade, from scratch) since 1962, later in NYC, in Italy, in Portland!!!!!! even, which, if you believe the local press, is the Vatican in the world of pizza. But I assure you, it is not. There is better pizza in Portland than AS. But what do I know???????? Not sure where you are from, but when I hear folks say AS is better than anything in NYC, or where ever, I just start laughing. Please, read the old kid's story called "The Emperor's New Clothes".

        Higgins joint is well worth exploring. He was in the vanguard of the local food thing, but since that was nearly 20 years ago, he don't get no respect, or little, these days 'cause he's so "old school" or something. Gotta git wid wats hip TODAY! Bunk, anyone??? But Higgins' cured meats (just to mention one area) are still better than all the trendy, hip joints that get today's press....

        7 Replies
        1. re: sambamaster

          Sambamaster seems to have lived/eaten everywhere and Portland restaurants/reviewers always seem to unimpress him/her. Samba must have a good job here or else he/she would be in NYC, Bay Area etc... That said, I recently went to Apizza on a Friday at 6:00 as a four top and after one bottle of wine we were seated. No biggie. Meat Cheese Bread i prefer to Bunk but only because its convenient.

          1. re: porky pine

            Sambamaster is currently eating mediocre food in Santiago de Compostela (that's in Galicia and that's in Spain). I'm next off to Florence, Rome, Siena, Panzano in Chianti (hello! Dario, the best butcher in the world), Bologna. I was in Rio de Janeiro in October. I've eaten in a few places, yes. But I don't have a job in Portland...I like the city, just not most of the restaurants, especially the ones that seem to get so much praise for so little substance. Bunk is awful, especially in the value/quanitiy/quality thing. Laurelhurst Market is ok, but could be in almost any city in the US...using good local produce and local meats, believe it or not, is a concept found in other places around this country, oh, the world. Scholls pizza, to me, was not very good after the first slice...carryover heat created a burnt, not charred crust. Pok Pok has some ok stuff, about half the time, but the haughty service is, well, haughty. No thanks. I can get my attitude at home looking in the mirror!!!! Ha! The food carts in Portland get raves, and the variety is pretty impressive. Now, if the food were as good as the hype, I'd be in heaven, but most of the food I've had from them has been mediocre to nasty. Love Potato Champion and Wy'east Pizza, though...something about purity and dedication to one thing. Oh, and Country Cat continues to get raves, and most of those point to the fried chicken....well, it has to be the worst fried chicken I've ever had...chicken tenders, and not very well done. No, too well was dry, flavorless, overcooked. And all this goodness and culinary abuse of a revered classic for only eighteen bucks. The single fried chicken thigh I had last week from Popeye's in the Dallas airport was about 10,000,000 times better than Country Cat WANTS to be. How all the food writers in this town can continue to call it the best fried chicken in town is beyond me...says two things...either they have absolutely no basis for their evaluations, or, if indeed it IS the best in town, then the overall level of quality in Portland is pretty low....I'm voting for both. Sorry. On the other hand, in a town where the overall quality of Viet food is pretty bad, Bun Bo Hue on SE 82nd has some of the best, most vibrant Vietnamese flavors I've had anywhere, but they are never mentioned or talked about while other, far less interesting places, ahhh, but new and fit the "i discovered this new hole in the wall and it's amazing" kind of names right now. Rama Thai in Beaverton is quite good, to me far more interesting than Pok Pok, and without the attitude (oh, they're cookin' for Thais and Laos, not hipsters), but get no love anywhere. And poor Lucky Strike, they are trying hard, do some things really well, others not as successful, and though it really is one of the best Chinese places in Portland because of their hits, the local press is currently treating them as if they invented Sichuan cuisine, wrote the book, and established the flavor profiles of all the classic dishes they serve because these writers have never eaten true Sichuan anywhere else and can't comment on how some of the dishes are a bit off the mark. Again, lack of knowledge and experience. And don't get me started on Alba Osteria...they are one of the best Italian restaurants in the USA for what they do...their agnolotti are as good as about any I've had in Alba (that's in Piemonte, and that's in Italy). They are probably the only restaurant in the USA with a totally Piemontese wine list. Yet when I go in they are usually half full at best (some exceptions). They should have a line around the block. But on two occasions, I've seen folks in fancy, rich-folk cars drive up, get out, look at the posted menu, scratch their heads, get back in their fancy rich-folks cars and drive away, probably to some crowded, lousy, but highly touted Italian joint around NW 23rd, you know the ones. Again, lack of knowledge and experience. The local market doesn't know when they have something really amazing, and yet rave on and on about places that are average or below, but have somehow entered the "you just have to eat at XXXX" category. Oh, and this sort of thing is not happening just in Portland. It's common in SF, NY, Austin, and, yes, Rome, Rio and Florence. And Wichita, yeah I've eaten there too, and poked around until I found an amazing Lao place which was almost always empty, save for a few SE Asians who were regulars. Great food, cheap, and wonderful owners. But how could the local food writers mention it the paper when, one, they'd never heard of it and never will, and two, when the owner has a mattress on top a table in the corner where he takes naps during the slow times? That just won't fly for the respectable readers of the paper!!!!

            Just my two Euros (two cents now have the buying power at about this level!)

            Pok Pok
            3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

            Potato Champion
            SE 12th and Hawthorne, Portland, OR

            Laurelhurst Market
            3155 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97232

            Rama Thai Restaurant
            12874 SW Canyon Rd, Beaverton, OR 97005

            1. re: sambamaster

              "The single fried chicken thigh I had last week from Popeye's in the Dallas airport was about 10,000,000 times better than Country Cat WANTS to be"

              1. re: sambamaster

                While I disagree with Sambamaster about Apizza Scholls, I wholeheatedly agree with everything he says about Alba. As good as any fine dining place in Portland. Never a wait, never a hassle.

                Apizza Scholls
                4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

                281 N 3rd Ave, Stayton, OR 97383

            2. re: sambamaster

              I agree with sambamaster, Portland is just not a pizza, bagel, chili or barbecue town. There are so many other places that have much better representative foods of the region, Paley's Place, Wildwood, Higgens, I just can see coming to Portland for pizza. I've lived here for 10 years and had pizza everywhere and am vaguely unsatisfied. When I want good pizza, I generally go back to the east coast to get it.

              The one exception is Pizza Fino in Kenton, for $2 a slice, it's as close to what I used to get back home, but it's probably because Linda the owner is from Brooklyn. Her crust is just about perfect, chewy and not floppy with delish toppings without the line and hype.

              Paley's Place
              1204 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

              Pizza Fino
              8225 N Denver Ave, Portland, OR 97217

              1. re: sambamaster

                I've lived in New York for many years, and ate much pizza there, and in New Haven and in Europe. I am a pizza snob, and Apizza Scholls is up there with the best anywhere.

                Apizza Scholls
                4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

                281 N 3rd Ave, Stayton, OR 97383

                1. re: MichaelG

                  DItto, and word.

                  I'm from Bensonhurst in Brooklyn and grew up there '60s-'80s, lived in Queens too, as an adult (and still went into Bklyn for pizza) and ate a lot of pizza. Also had a good friend who lived near New Haven, ate at Pepe's and Sally's. Apizza Scholls is every bit as good (and sometimes better) as any pizza I have had in NY or CT. And Al Forno Ferruzza's calzones are better than any I ever had anywhere...they make their own freakin' ricotta ferchrissakes!

                  Podnah's BBQ is awesome stuff, true Texas handcrafted Q. And the bagels made by hand at Kenny & Zuke's are better than many you will find in NY...and their pastrami is better than most in NY too (Katz's and Ben's Best on Queens Blvd. are the only ones left in NY that have good pastrami).

                  Chili, well, there ya got me, don't like the stuff.

                  Apizza Scholls
                  4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215