Strolling the stretch of Southeast Stark Street between 82nd and Mt. Tabor, I always get a bit of a crush on scrappy Montavilla, a city neighborhood even a country mouse would feel at home in. The all-American lineup of small businesses occupying its easily-overlooked seven-block commercial core include the neighborhood mechanic, lumber store, Academy movie theater, pizzeria, pie shop, bakery, requisite handful of dive bars, and The Country Cat, a humble but dapper family-friendly little eatery woven seamlessly into Montavilla’s working-class tapestry.
If you’re looking for hearty and value conscious weeknight grub, definitely explore Country Cat’s weeknight specials menu, my favorite’s the Tuesday PB&J (Pork sandwich, BBQ baked beans, and a jigger of Jack) for a mere $12.
Chef Adam Sappington’s Midwestern upbringing, longtime tour of kitchen duty at renowned Wildwood, and deep affection for Portland’s edible resources influence his farm-to-table country cookin’-with-an-edge—order cast iron skillet-fried chicken with bacon-braised collards or get a bit fancier with the hickory-smoked duck leg in porcini mustard, grilled Idaho trout and roasted sweet pepper hash, and the Whole Hog—a three-pronged porkout consisting of rolled belly, grilled ham steak and smoked shoulder with South Carolina grits.
Pastry Chef and Other Half Jackie Sappington rides herd on a dessert menu that elevates classics to new levels—her cheesecake is laced with bourbon and tucked into a dark chocolate crust, her fruit crisp is baked with sweet local plums and brown sugar and paired with creamy butter pecan ice cream, her take on good old-fashioned pudding involves three tea party-sized cups of chocolate, butterscotch and crème brulee—always a hit with kids and kids at heart alike.
If you’re looking for hearty and value conscious weeknight grub, definitely explore Country Cat’s weeknight specials menu, my favorite’s the Tuesday PB&J (Pork sandwich, BBQ baked beans, and a jigger of Jack) for a mere $12, and brunch is fantastic, try the whiskey custard challah french toast, cast iron skillet fried chicken with toasted pecan spoonbread, and famous cinnamon rolls (available only on the weekends).
Executive Chef: Adam Sappington
Pastry Chef: Jackie Sappington
Atmosphere: Open kitchen overlooking a busy, buzzing dining room filled with neighborhood folk and PB&J aficionados alike
Outdoor seating: Yes, a row of sidewalk tables along SE Stark Street
Best Seat: A booth
Noise Level: Energetic
Dress Code: Casual
Bring the Kids: Yes, even I would happily eat off the kids menu
Bathrooms: In the hallway dividing the main dining room from the kitchen
Parking: Free and plentiful on surrounding side streets
Cocktails: Full bar and strong cocktails
Corkage: $15 per 750 mL
Tea: Tao of Tea
Ideal Meal: Butter lettuce wedge with Green Goddess dressing, cast iron skillet fried chicken, one of every dessert on the menu
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Vegan Friendly: Yes
Good for the following occasions: Kids Included, Brunch, Out With Friends, Family Supper
Group/Private Party Details: Country Cat can accommodate up to 30 people in the dining room, and will rent out the entire restaurant for private parties.
Reservations: Yes, call for parties of 4 or more
Deals: Don't miss the weeknight dinner specials
Mon: Heritage Burger & Draft Beer $12
Tue: PB&J $12
Wed: 10 wings & Draft Beer $12
Thu: Fish Fry & Draft Beer $12