Patrick Coleman, of the Portland Mercury Scores interview with Greg Higgins
Patrick Coleman, the Mercury’s newish food writer, has done a long interview with Greg Higgins about early days in the Portland food scene.
So what was it like being in that whole neighborhood [SW Salmon and 10th] at the time? Vat and Tonsure was there, Hamburger Mary’s, Crocodile Records. What was that little downtown area like? It’s changed a lot.
Believe it or not, where the Heathman is now was considered fringy. It was a pretty dicey neighborhood [Higgins] was Broadway Revue then. If Broadway Revue had a heyday, I guess that was the heyday. The building across the street was called the Carriage Room and it was a strip joint and there was another strip joint on the other corner. Everybody thought there was no chance that the space [that is now] South Park where [B. Moloch was opened] could possibly succeed. They thought that it was just a doomed location. I was like, “What are you talking about. It’s like a block from the concert hall.”
People had different impressions of things, clearly. Maybe it took somebody from outside to say, “I think you could.” That whole area was funny. There was a little bar there, the Spot Tavern. It got taken over by Hamburger Mary’s eventually. It was a tavern no bigger than the area we are sitting in right here. And this crusty old retired bank executive who had been a marine in like World War II. Their whole thing was the coldest beers in town. It was decorated with all this stuff they had collected in traveling in the South Pacific as a Marine and that kind of thing. It was very much, a little slice of frozen time.
That was the way it was. That was a nice place to hang out. To this day people will say, “Oh, the stuffed mushrooms at Le Berge,” or “The Cornish game hen at the Vat and Tonsure.” I’m like, “C’mon. It’s a frozen Cornish game hen. I know you remember it like it was unbelievable, but things change.”
You can read the entire interview here. Patrick Coleman is a one man writing machine. Between him and Matt Davis, I’m not sure they have any other writers anymore.
Notice that Patrick completely stole our interview format; question, answer, question, answer. So blatant!