Thursday, June 4, 2009

comfort food


I’d like to come clean about something. We don’t always eat organic, healthy meals. Once in a while we like to eat in what some may actually call a greasy spoon. Okay, M and I have breakfast there on most Friday mornings. This neighborhood diner we frequent is aptly named, Fat City. It’s in the heart of Multnomah Village in Portland, Oregon. There is something so warm and welcoming about this little place. Like a favorite pair of jeans. A comfy pair of socks. It’s a place where everybody knows our names, and usually what we’ll be ordering. What’s not to love?

Our lovely waitress, Ruby, zips around the cafe at the speed of light. She never lets our tea get cold.




When you enter this old fashioned cafe, you’re transformed into another time and place. You could be in any small town USA. License plates and quirky signs cover most of the wall space. A long shelf lined with old beer cans sits above remnants of an old soda fountain, which unfortunately, is no longer in service. The local history here is as thick and rich as the homemade cinnamon rolls they dish out in droves on a daily basis.

A couple key events helped put Fat City on the map in Portland. In 1973, a Fat City customer known only as Bob, shot his lover Vivian in the restaurant when his love was not reciprocated. The bullet holes are still in the basement wall as proof of this event. In 1987, Portland’s Mayor, Bud Clark, met his Police Chief, Jim Davis, at the restaurant. Over breakfast, the mayor fired the police chief, saying, “Read my lips. You’re fired.” Signs next to this booth designate the positions of its prior occupants.

On a typical Friday morning, we can be found occupying one of the comfy booths at Fat City, sipping a cuppa hot tea and enjoying french toast, blueberry pancakes, or eggs and hash browns, maybe even a slice or two of crisp bacon. Fat City momentary brings our busy lives to a slower pace and takes us back to a simplier time. Isn’t that what comfort food is all about?


These people cannot possibly go in here...



Also a great place to plan your next vacation across Oregon.



jazgal said...

I love a cafe where they bring you your beverage as soon as you sit down, know your name and what the kids are up to. We have had a string of them over the years, life is just not the same without them. Currently it is Genie's, SE 11th and Division, we are there almost every Saturday.
Salt of the earth!

Cindy said...

Hi Jazgal, Glad to hear you also enjoy such a ritual. A week can feel so incomplete without this kind of break. We've tried other breakfast spots, but keep returning to this old favorite. We may need to venture out and try yours one day.

jazgal said...

I know - one develops quite the loyalty. We have several others that are slightly upgraded fall-backs, (Mother's and Zell's) but we still hit Genie's most often. I like to know what I can expect. Very hard to break off and try something new, although I do like to keep an eye out for good breakfast joints. Other good ones: Byways, Besaws. Don't have the frequecy of use with those so that they know who I am (although one of the hosts at Mother's does seem to always remember me despite that).

Susan said...

In Marysville, we have McKinley's Grill where I would take the grandkids for breakfast sometimes, but we weren't regulars, so no one called us by name. Since having my own fresh eggs, I rarely go out for breakfast, because the eggs just can't measure up. :(

It's a great tradition. When I was a kid we had The Coffee Shop and Dave's Sandwich Shop where he made the little half-dollar-sized hamburgers that cost 5 cents each. There was also Hetty's that was right next to my intermediate school. We could go there for lunch and you could get a hot dog w/coney sauce and a Coke for 30 cents. Or french fries and Coke. Most of the time I walked home for lunch though.

Cindy said...

Susan, Can't beat those fresh eggs! But having someone else do the cooking and serving... priceless.

I love the idea of the little 5 cent hamburger joint. How many of those would you have to eat to get filled up? We had 'the ice cream store' (it probably had a real name, but we always referred to it as that) a few blocks away where we could walk on our own as kids and have ice cream. It's now a Baskin and Robbins (which is a chain store) in a strip mall.

jazgal said...

True, you can't beat the fresh eggs, but sometimes having the service is more important - once a week is a good frequency for me. I love the ambiance too, equally important, in fact. this morning we tried Hash, on SE 17th for a second time. A bit upscale for the neighborhood, perhaps, but tasty. Definitely not the greasy spoon though.

62TeeBird said...

Love your profile of Fat City, especially the pic of the counter crowd - classic! I haven't been there in a long time. Think I'll take the kids this summer.

Cindy said...

Tee, Thank you! You definitely should take a trip into Multnomah Village this summer for breakfast at Fat City and a bit of shopping too. If you haven't been in awhile, you'll be amazed at the fun little shops. It's becoming a miniature NW 23rd. A new bath shop just opened that I need to check out. Give me a call before you go so we can meet up.