Open thread: where to eat and drink in Portland for Evolution 2017 and #ESA2017

Evolution 2017 starts in in a couple of days, and #ESA2017 is coming up soon after that! We have a local lined up to write a guest post for us about where to eat and drink in Portland for #ESA2017, but in the meantime: been anywhere good? Tell us, and your many hungry and thirsty colleagues, in the comments!

I’ll start: McMenamins Kennedy School is worth the car ride. It’s a historic elementary school that’s been converted into a boutique hotel and brewpub. My wife and I stayed there a few years ago. You have to see it to believe it, it’s such a cool place. Every nook and cranny is put to use. There are several bars, each with its own funky decor; even the boiler room is a (cozy) bar now. The auditorium is now a theater that features classic movies and live music. You can eat and drink outside in the courtyard in the center of the school. The walls are festooned with paintings from local artists, every one of which was commissioned to commemorate the school. And the classrooms are now hotel rooms–that still have the chalkboards and chalk. In the ultra-competitive world of Portland brewing, McMenamins beers are fine, nothing special. Same for the food–it’s average brewpub food. But you’re going for the setting. McMenamins has made a name for themselves with their amazing renovations of historic properties in and around Portland, but they really topped themselves with the Kennedy School. I took my lab group there last time the ESA was in Portland, and might do so again. Maybe I’ll see you there!

15 thoughts on “Open thread: where to eat and drink in Portland for Evolution 2017 and #ESA2017

  1. Northeast (NE) 28th Ave, from Glisan Street heading south to Burnside Street. The abundance of family-owned eateries is an embarrassment of riches, truly. Simply one authentic delicacy after another. So, if you are with a group, you can confidently go here and look around, and then decide where to dine. Caution, though- it is busy on these streets seven days a week. Finding parking is difficult because of all the customers. Go east on Everett or Couch Streets for your best chance at parking. Getting an Uber or Lyft might be better though.

    My personal fav on this strip of heaven is La Buca: Traditional and authentic, delicious and affordable Italian food (wine not so affordable…)- but you can go to Stammtisch just down the way for some of Portland’s best German beers. You cannot go wrong in this neighborhood.

  2. Cheryl’s on 12th has amazing everything, but specifically great coffee drinks, pastries and beignets in the morning, and things like Portuguese fried rice with linguica, Croque and Madam Monsieur, and the fig and goat cheese hot sandwich! Getting hungry thinking about it. Looks like about ½ hr walk from the convention center if you’re feeling the need to stretch your legs, or a 10 minute drive across the river.

  3. Hey all, I live in Portland… here are a few ideas I have that are close to the Convention Center…
    1. If you want really good coffee on your way in, try Ristretto Roasters at 555 NE Couch.
    2. I don’t have great walk-to lunch recommendations in that area–my suggestion would be to hop the MAX going east and get off in a few blocks at Lloyd Center Mall and find something in that area. The streets with restaurants near the mall are Broadway and Weidler.
    3. You’ll find the best food and drink on Mississippi Ave, which is just about a mile and a half north of the Convention Center. Several small, fun, locally-owned hang-outs, and shopping, too.
    4. The Water Avenue district has a lot to offer, too. It’s south of the C. Center, off of MLK Blvd, by OMSI.
    5. If you are looking for a grocery that also has lunch, grab-n-go food, etc., there is a New Seasons on Fremont and Williams, which is less than a mile north of the C. Center.

    If you are looking to get outside and experience some nature/ecology of the region, here are some ideas:
    1. If you need a run/walk, start at Steel Bridge, which is right by the Convention Center. Cross the river on the lower deck, head south along the waterfront, cross back (going east) on the Hawthorne Bridge, head north along the river until you get back to the Steel Bridge. It’s about 3 miles.
    2. Forest Park, for an evening light hike…
    3. Smith and Bybee Wetlands, for an evening stroll…
    4. Fern Hill Wetlands… This site is about 45 minutes out of the city, but if you have time for a half-day trip, it is well worth it. Very interesting restoration work… It’s on the Pacific Flyway, was a municipal sewage dump, and is now being restored and then linked to similar projects north and south. I’ve planted trees out there twice now. Very special place.

    I hope this helps. I’d love to meet some of you I randomly blog with in person! Happy to lead a hike if anyone is interested.


  4. About 20 minute walk from the meeting is a spot called Taste Tickler. Great an informal lunch –
    excellent, no-frills submarine sandwiches that remind me of the early ’80s before the chains took over (some of my earliest memories!).

  5. Pingback: Molecular Ecologists at #Evol2017 —  see you in Portland! |

  6. I really enjoyed Veritable Quandry the last time we were in Portland but they’ve closed. Google tells me the chef and general manager recently opened Q Restaurant — anyone local tried it?

    • Counterpoint to one entry in that thread: Deschutes Wowzenbock is one of the best beers I’ve ever had in my life. And I’ve had a lot of beers. I’m planning to stop by Deshutes just to see if they have it (which they might not, I think it’s a seasonal).

  7. I recall someone recently asking for vegan alternatives in Portland. I am not vegan, but as luck would have it, some vegan friends took me to the Blossoming Lotus this evening (100% vegan). Fantastic- incredible really, even for a carnivore like me. I am told it is a relatively new place but has a large devoted following.

    1713 NE 15th Ave
    Portland 97212

  8. Pingback: Where to drink in Portland at #ESA2017 if you’re a beer geek | Dynamic Ecology

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