The instant Portland’s famously weepy skies cloud over and the rain begins to pelt the windows, my Pavolvian response is to crave Blueplate’s hearty grilled cheese sandwich dipped in piping hot tomato soup…and a brown cow made with creamy Cascade Glacier ice cream.
The instant Portland’s famously weepy skies cloud over and the rain begins to pelt the windows, my Pavolvian response is to crave Blueplate’s hearty grilled cheese sandwich dipped in piping hot tomato soup.
Blueplate isn’t just cooking up supremely satisfying comfort food, it’s providing a nostalgic haven—a classic little soda fountain with a long scuffed wood bar, hodge podge of affectionately mismatched booths and tables, eponymous daily specials of mid-20th century lunch counter lore with a Pacific Northwest twist (think grilled meatloaf sandwiches on Texas toast with basil mayo and local pork chops with scalloped Yukon gold potatoes), and vintage glass jars of old-time sweets like root beer barrels, Sweet Tarts and Mary Jane’s that will send you back to the office with bulging pockets and a guilty candy-eatin’ grin.
Tucked into a narrow space in the historic Dekum building along a busy downtown artery, this tiny diner is easy to miss—watch for the cheery blue and yellow sandwich board outside the front door. Executive Chef Jeffery Reiter’s menu reads like Mom’s home cooking, except my Mom’s meatloaf wasn’t this rich, her brisket wasn’t this tender, her mac ‘n cheese did not have bacon and mushrooms in it, and she was far more interested in keeping me captive at the table until I ate my salad than inquiring as to whether I’d like a three-scoop caramel apple milkshake, a housemade hibiscus and star anise soda, or a strawberry ice cream sundae with marshmallow whipped cream and the works for dessert.
At least now that I’m all growed up, I can go to Blueplate anytime I want, and I never have to finish my dinner before I order dessert.
Executive Chef: Jeffery Reiter
Atmosphere: Bustling old-fashioned downtown soda fountain
Outdoor seating: No
Best Seat: At the counter, overlooking Chef Jeff’s domain
Noise Level: Energetic
Dress Code: Casual
Bring the Kids: Definitely
Parking: Blueplate’s in the heart of downtown, so a metered parking spot can be nothing short of a miracle. There’s a nearby SmartPark at SW 3rd & Alder.
Teetotalers: A list of delicious house sodas, shakes, iced tea, sweet tea, lemonade, limeade, chocolate or strawberry milk
Ideal Meal: Tomato soup and grilled cheese, and a peanut butter and chocolate milkshake and/or a P.R. Nelson--huckleberry ice cream blended with house made purple haze hibiscus syrup
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Vegan Friendly: Not really
Good for the following occasions: Out to Lunch, Meal With Friends, Dining Solo, Kids Included