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Jan 31, 2013 05:46 AM

Screen Door, Ox, and other spots without reservations?

Heading up to PDX in 48 hours and finalizing a couple plans - curious as to wait times at popular spots w/o reservations, specifically Ox for dinner and Screen Door for brunch. I'll be dining solo at both and don't mind sitting at the bar (if there is one) provided the full menu is offered. Thinking Screen Door around noonish on a Saturday, Ox either early (5p) or a bit later (9p) on either a Saturday or a Tuesday.


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  1. Ox does have the full menu at the restaurant bar. They have a separate bar next door where you can wait to be seated and have a cocktail.

    I haven't been to Screendoor in years but my recollection is that it is a bit of a zoo...I wouldn't personally enjoy dining there solo. I've enjoyed a basic breakfast at City State Diner which is near Screendoor on 28th. The other place I might try would be Sunshine Tavern on Division. If the weather is good - I'd wait in line for a Pine State Biscuit and eat it outside.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MyNextMeal

      Thanks - and Pine State was already on the list - and I'm still going to Screen Door, so anyone who has been please let me know.

    2. There is often a spot at the bar at Screen Door even if there is a huge line/wait for brunch. I can't guarantee it, but I have seen it before. I don't usually see a lot of single diners there, you might get lucky.

      I was last at Ox for my GF's and my 2 year anniversary in December. We got there at 5:15 and waited for about 65 minutes (shy of the 90 minute wait they told us). Get to Ox at 4:45 and you might be OK. Start slow with a drink as you look over the menu...

      Sunshine Tavern doesn't do a real brunch anymore, they open at noon on the weekends. Still, I like that place a lot.

      Spints is doing a very good brunch these days and I can also recommend Accanto. I haven't ever had to wait at either. (scroll down, the brunch menu is after the dinner and HH menus)

      7 Replies
      1. re: JillO

        ...I dig the Spints menu a lot, actually.
        Thanks for making things MORE complicated. :-)

        1. re: uhockey

          Yeah, the sweetbreads/french toast is aweseome and last week my GF had a really nice plate with a pile of crab on a potato pancake with green beans and hollandaise. Breakfast drinks are good here too. I like Spints, and they just started their brunch in the last couple of months. I have a party there for brunch on Sunday this week as a matter of fact.

          I think Ox is worth the wait. They make great drinks and the food is just so good. And I think as a single you'll be able to get a seat at the bar if you get there just before they open at 5pm...of course, as a single, you might get lucky with a seat at the bar almost any time you go. They have bar seating at their regular bar and in front of the wood-fired oven. Be prepared, wear a short sleeve shirt under a sweater you can take off in case you get seated in front of that is seriously hot. ;o)

          1. re: JillO

            Good stuff. Now I need to decide which of my other weekend brunches to move - Screen Door, Ned Ludd, or Woodsman Tavern.


            1. re: uhockey

              Bearing in mind that I've only been to Ned Ludd and I only know you from your posts, uhockey, my spidey senses are telling me that you'd get a kick out of Ned Ludd. I've certainly never eaten anywhere quite like it, and the uniqueness is in the food prep, the location and the ambiance.

              1. re: grayelf

                Grayelf, How is Ned Ludd for dinner? I will be in Portland for 1 night before heading out to Willamette and this post caught my eye! Could possibly do it for Saturday brunch but will most likely gorge at the PSU Farmers Market.

                1. re: Dee74

                  I'm hoping others who've been more than once will answer you too, Dee, but we really enjoyed our dinner at Ned Ludd, and that was after a pretty intense day of eating. They do kinda cool things like squid noodles, and the sauces are a bit creative. Salads also seem to get a lot of love, and we were impressed with the ones we had. It's a nice, slightly unusual room, too. I'd love to eat brunch on the patio sometime. Let me see if I can find my blurb on it from our March 2013 dinner, rather than making you search... here it is:

                  The room was fullish but nice and calm with great jazz. Really liked our server here. We shared a sformatino of nettle and ricotta with an excellent cress salad, the chicories with bocerones and soft egg salad, and petrale sole with olives. All were spot on with lots of umami, nicely sized for sharing. The salads were outstanding. We finished with a white chocolate cremeux with Meyer lemon jam and pistachios. After a brunch and a dinner here, I am a Ned Ludd fan.

                  FWIW, the dessert was the least successful, though still tasty and well executed. I remember thinking it needed a punch of something, maybe regular lemon juice...

                  1. re: grayelf


                    Thank you! This is definitely going on my list of possibilities!

      2. Please update on your experiences in PDX, uhockey. I see that your trip was early this year, but I'm getting out of this dreaded heat over Labor Day weekend. The top of my list is Ox ( worried about the no rez thing) there are two of us dining.

        Also would love to hear a brief on your other dining experiences. Did you go to Ned Ludd, as grayelf suggested? I've added this to my dining list (of possibilities). Did you blog post about Portland (haven't been on for a while)

        4 Replies
        1. re: pagesinthesun

          uhockey says he is six trips behind on his trip reports! He did post some stuff though, lemme see if I can find it... brunches Part 1(including Ned Ludd)

          brunches Part 2

          1. re: grayelf

            ALL the Portland posts are updated in the blog with copious pictures. I think most are covered by grayelf above, but if not, check the blog and let me know and I'll crosspost the text here.


            1. re: uhockey

              Oh cool, I just realized you have your posts ordered by city as well:

          2. re: pagesinthesun

            Thanks to you both. I follow both of you closely when planning trips. Your reviews and tips are always helpful!