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Breakfast City

In food-forward Portland, chefs are bypassing the standard eggs benny and giving brunch a well-deserved creative boost. Here are five noteworthy restaurants redefining the experience.

Broder Portland Danish aebleskiver pancake ballsPhoto by Kennymatic (Broder)

Global yearnings
With just 12 tables, lineups are de rigueur at Broder, a sliver of a restaurant in the city’s vibrant Clinton neighbourhood. Crowds queue on the sidewalk outside (with complimentary coffee in hand) for restaurateur Peter Pro’s take on Scandinavian fare, including smoked trout pytt i panna (Swedish hash topped with eggs and pickled beets with a wedge of walnut bread) and Danish æbleskiver ­(puffy Ping-Pong-ball-size pancakes served with housemade lemon curd and lingonberry jam). Decked out with lemon-yellow stools and cornflower blue chairs, this Euro-style brunch hub is well worth the wait.

2508 SE Clinton St., 503-736-3333, served daily, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Buttermilk fried chicken at Country Cat Dinner House in PortlandPhoto by John Vall (Country Cat Dinner House and Bar)

At family-friendly Country Cat Dinner House and Bar on Portland’s far east side, chef/owner Adam Sappington turns out a protein-packed breakfast of spicy, slow-braised pork chili piled over South Carolina corn grits and topped with sunny-side-up eggs. A well-known butcher who teaches sold-out classes in sausage making and meat curing, he also works wonders with buttermilk-fried chicken. Rise and shine to his great-grandma’s skillet-crusted recipe made with bacon, pecan spoon bread and maple syrup.

7937 SE Stark St., 503-408-1414, served daily, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tasty n Alder, PortlandPhoto by David L. Reamer (Tasty n Alder)

Dinner for breakfast
Housed in a repurposed downtown parking garage, Tasty n Alder’s brunch menu showcases small-plate dishes that could easily turn up at supper. Start with the Polenta and Sugo, a hearty chicken and pork stew topped with mozzarella and an over-easy egg, followed by a radicchio salad composed of bacon lardons, Manchego cheese and chopped six-minute eggs. Generous breakfast mains include chef John Gorham’s masterful Bim Bop Bacon & Eggs: a spinoff of the traditional Korean rice dish made with bulgogi-style pork belly, bean sprouts, house-fermented kimchee, spinach, carrots and short grain rice, all stirred together in a sizzling clay pot.

580 SW 12th Ave., 503-621-9251, served daily, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Urban flavours
In the upscale Pearl District – the warehouses and railroad yards have been replaced with art galleries, high-rise condos and boutiques – the lofty Irving St. Kitchen preserves an industrial vibe while still managing to feel cozy. Snag one of the curtained, wooden booths or a table by the bookshelves in the restaurant’s mini-library, and tuck into southern-inspired fare, like salmon gravlax Benedict served on a buttermilk biscuit with wild arugula and a dill hollandaise. Diners with a sweet tooth should opt for the creamy, steel-cut oatmeal jazzed up with caramelized apple slices and cocoa nibs.

701 NW 13th Ave., 503-343-9440, weekend brunch, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Ned Ludd PortlandNed Ludd

Purely Portland
Fans of the hit comedy series Portlandia, which satirizes the city’s obsessive DIY tendencies, will feel right at home at rustic Ned Ludd. Named after England’s 19th-century, anti-industrial folk hero, the restaurant fittingly eschews one very basic, modern kitchen comfort: a stove. Instead, celebrity chef/owner Jason French scratch-cooks his eclectic Sunday brunch – ­think sheep-cheese frittata drizzled with a corn-cob-infused whey sauce – in a 1.8-metre-high, 400°C wood-burning oven fuelled with logs he splits himself. With copper pans, rooster sculptures, Mason jar terrariums and piles of wood in each corner, the cabin-size eatery’s decor is a tad eccentric – but so is Portland.

3925 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-288-6900, Sunday brunch



Getting There

Air Canada offers the most non-stop flights between Vancouver and Portland, with convenient connections to the rest of its’ extensive Domestic and International network.

Comments… or add another


Monday, December 9th 2013 16:08
Wow. You profile restaurants in Portland, of all places, and don't include even ONE vegan restaurant?! FYI, Portland is Vegan Mecca. Proving once again that you are severely out of touch with your travellers.


Monday, December 9th 2013 18:04
Portland is actually very whole animal meat-centric.


Monday, December 9th 2013 18:39
Karin - or proves that they are severely out of touch with vegans.... and I'm over it.


Monday, December 9th 2013 20:23
I haven't been to all those places but I can vouch for Ned Ludd and Tasty n Alder. Awesome food!


Tuesday, December 10th 2013 09:18
not just vegan, no one eats that kind of stuff, most of us just want normal plain food, vegans without meat and a reg diet with meat and vegetarians with some, no one likes the recipe's above! If I go for breakfast I want regular eggs benedict not something that looks like a dogs breakfast, which I wouldn't feed my dog by the way!


Tuesday, December 10th 2013 12:43
I would like to try some of them when I go to Portland!
Those breakfast looks amazing to me! And I love EGGs!


Tuesday, December 10th 2013 14:13
While Portland is very vegan friendly, I'd argue that brunch is probably the hardest meal to accommodate for vegans/gluten-free, so Karin's remark is a little bit harsh. When I was in the Bay Area, I could count on one hand the number of vegan brunch places I knew. Portland prolly has just as many but with a much smaller population.

BTW, Broder's kicks ass. This article is right about it being crowded. I went on a Friday at 1:30pm; it felt like Sunday at 11am.


Tuesday, December 10th 2013 14:25
Add to this list: Toast (5222 SE 52nd Ave.; open every day 8am-2pm) for their homemade English muffins and simply divine ingredients from local farms; Xico (3715 SE Division St., Sun. brunch) for authentic Mexican chilaquiles and other classics plus drinking chocolate and hot rum horchata.

Elizabeth Warkentin

Thursday, December 26th 2013 20:38
Yes, I also would like to know about vegan options. There is more of an obsession with meat-centered restaurants these days than when I first became a veggie 25 years ago.
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