First Impression, by Well Seasoned
Everything seems to be just right in this small, welcoming pub in the heart of Sellwood. The owners (according to info I found on www.altportland.com) are Jim Parker, “former Oregon Brewers Guild director and general indicator of good beer” and Jerry Fechter “of the Lompoc empire.” They’ve taken the space occupied most recently by Jones Public House (and formerly by Tartine) and turned it into a nice example of what they describe on their menu as a “Third Place”: “A good public house should be an example of what sociologist Ray Oldenburg calls a “Third Place” – a friendly, comfortable haven where guests can leave behind the cares of the “First Place” (home) and “Second Place” (work) and enjoy the company of friends while someone else cooks the food and does the dishes.”
I’ve been only twice, once with a friend, so I’ve had a chance to try only a few things on the menu. Under the category of “What We’ve Been Smokin’,” the pulled pork sandwich is excellent (though inferior to Podnah’s): smoky, savory, fall-apart-tender pork on a hamburger bun with a nice mustard dipping sauce and righteous fries. (The establishment pushes Tater Tots with evangelical zeal; despite profound misgivings, I guess I’ll have to give them a try next time.) The P.A.B.S.T. sandwich (“the only PABST you’ll find here” says the menu description), combines Provolone, avocado, bacon, shredded lettuce, and tomato with roasted garlic mayo on sourdough toast – yum! Soup of the day one time was clam chowder, which was really good: not flour-thickened like the goop they serve at Mo’s (yuck!), just plenty of tender clam pieces, bacon, and skin-on chunks of red potatoes in a light, thyme-scented broth with just enough cream to make it rich without being cloying. The house salad is made with a good-quality mesclun mix topped with shredded carrots and thin rounds of sweet red onion, served with your choice of dressing on the side. They even do a good dessert: Stout Chocolate Brownie Sundae with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.
Not being a beer expert, I can’t say a lot about the beer list, but the two beers on tap I’ve sampled have both been excellent: Lompoc’s Sockeye Stout, rich and tasty, and Lompoc’s Proletarian Red, hoppy and refreshing. The beer list changes frequently. They also serve cocktails (many of them named for neighborhood business owners who’ve become regulars) and offer a minuscule but thoughtful list of wines by the glass.
They don’t have a website, so I can’t paste in the menu, and it would take too long to type it in (the descriptions are long and overly cutesy). The choice of menu items is mostly what you’d expect, but what sets this place apart is the quality of the ingredients (like Strawberry Mountain beef for the burgers) and the skill of the cooks. The prices are very reasonable, and there’s a kids’ menu with all the items at $3 or less. Service is efficient and friendly.
The place has been packed both lunchtimes I’ve been there. It looks like a winner.
Address: 1621 SE Bybee Blvd., Portland. Or. 97202
Happy Hours: (Beer & Food): 3:00pm-6:00pm: Mon-Thu, Food: 3:00pm-6:00pm: Fri, Beer: 3:00pm-6:00pm: Sun 9:00pm-12:00am : Mon-Thu, Sun