Portland kitsch

Speaking of Portland: A new guide from Herb Lester

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Just some quick self promotion here. I helped collaborate with Herb Lester Associates out of London on their brand, spanking new guide/map to Portland.

They do exceptional work – and each map from the different cities they’ve covered are designed in a – not really retro- but truly modern style- with a dash from the past.

I hope some history nerd 30 years from now finds a copy and imagines what Portland was like in 2013.

Sign of the times

Portland Penny Diner’s new signage wins Sign of the Year, hands down!

From the restaurant’s website:

In 1845 Frances Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy determined the city of Portland’s name with the flip of a coin. And we like to think that after the toss they walked into their favorite diner, or as they called them in that time “lunch wagons,” for a celebratory bite to eat. The Portland Penny Diner embraces that spirit, brings people in from the rain and artfully combines the culinary traditions of Northwest immigrants and natives.

Lost: Country Bills, Portland, Ore.

A few weeks back, Country Bills in Woodstock was demolished to make way for Gawd-knows-what (mixed-used condos?). My pal managed to capture a couple of pix of ghost signs that were revealed during the demo.

What else is there to say? Was the food good? Hardly. But it was more than just a restaurant- it had a great bar, signage, and vibe that is quickly disappearing. Another part of old Portland that’s gone forever. Check out some photos from its life, here.

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If old Oregon postcards were Smiths’ songs (or lyrics)

(aka, a reason to group unrelated cards under one post)

How Soon is Now? (Amato’s Portland, Ore.)

You Just Haven’t Earned It, Baby (Horseshoe Motel, Florence)

Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me (Jack’s Fine Foods, Biggs The Dalles ).
Click here for a more recent (1997) view.

I need advice…I need advice…nobody ever looks at me twice. (Town House, Newport)

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want (Trader Vic’s, Portland)

Nowhere Fast (Oregon Motor Hotel, The Dalles)

And if you ever need self-validation just meet me in the alley by the railway-station (Eastport Plaza, Portland)

Pretty Girls Make Graves, (Curio Shop, Pendleton)

Portland’s restaurant heritage

Long before Portland became Foodgasm Central, home of artisan food worship and countless breathless articles written by the national media, there was the 1970s. Mustaches, feathered hair, smoking, orange decor, and wood paneling ruled the day.

In honor of Memorial Day, here’s a salute to the groundbreakers who gave their all to help set the stage for the modern day Portland dining experience.

10/25/13 update: This has proven to be one of the most popular posts ever on Lost Oregon! I encourage you to read the comments – a bit jumbled – but some great memories there! Here’s one example (from Ross Pullen – he’s a goldmine for local food history):

Asparro’s on SE Grand was a fixture for years. I believe it had a Greek style menu, but I may be mistaken on that. (Union Avenue Social Club was the name given after he sold it)

HOLMAN’S at SE 28 TH and Burnside is still open and operating last I checked.

The “German restaurant on 82 ND and Burnside that Jim Darke mentioned was actually a Swiss place called THE MATTERHORN and operated until early 2000s when it was sold and they built a Walgreen’s.

[Click imagery for large portions.]

Enjoy your order of the Man Platter, sir.

Disco dancing and backgammon?!  Slabtown still rocks.

The Kon-Tiki was around much later than I had thought.

Digger O’Dell’s on SE Grand offered an oyster bar, freshly baked cornbread and accepted Carte Blanche credit cards.

L’Auberge on Burnside had its menu “delivered verbally by your waiter or waitress.” As opposed to being verbally abused.

Victoria’s Nephew [now Mother’s Bistro] was, according to them, the only place in town to offer a cappuccino [1979]. That guy in the middle – totally jotting down mental notes for his Yelp review.

They also offered sidewalk seating “whenever weather permits.”

Some things never change.