Top Picks:
  • F.H. Steinbart to learn alchemy.
  • Livingscape Nursery to indulge your back-to-the-land fantasies.
  • Rose’s Equipment & Supply to load up on kitchen basics.
  • Sharpening4U to experience the joy of a fresh edge.
  • Urban Farm Store to ogle chicks. 

Bargreen Ellingson

3232 NW Industrial St., 875-1161, Closed Sunday.

[BIG LOTS] A bright, spacious showroom way, way out in Northwest Portland, all gleaming stainless steel and glass, Bargreen Ellingson is far from the claustrophobic and horrible restaurant supply stores of our imaginings. Although the company caters mostly to business clients, the showroom is entirely open to the public. While dishes and glassware come only by the case, most items are available by the piece. And what pieces! Really big measuring cups, 42-inch pizza paddles and 24-cake aluminum cupcake pans may all be found in the store's shimmering aisles. Ever wanted to own a 10-inch meat slicer? Now you can. BW.

Shopping list: Baking pans, really big measuring cups, steel bowls in every conceivable size.

Bee Thinking

1229 SE Nehalem St. 1551 SE Poplar Street, 770-0233, Closed Sunday-Monday.

[APICULTURE] Are you suffering from a case of colony collapse disorder? If so, then look no further. Bee Thinking in Sellwood is ready to rock your world. Pour some honey on me! Although the shop is small and tidy, you'll find everything you need to start beekeeping, including protective jackets, hats and veils, and stainless steel hive smokers. If you're feeling particularly flush, check out the shop's milled-in-Portland Western red cedar beehives ($175-$285) on display and available online. LC.

Shopping list: Foundationless shop-made hives, leather ventilated beekeeping gloves, beginner beekeeping classes.

Boxer Northwest

438 NW Broadway, 547-5700, Closed Sunday.

[CAFETERIAWARES] Boxer Northwest's main focus is supplying restaurants with large appliances and dishware and cutlery of every kind imaginable. Looking for a giant Hobart mixer or a used industrial-grade deep fryer? You'll find it here. But this easily missed 8,000-square-foot store, near the west end of the Broadway Bridge, also provides plenty of interest for a home cook, and not just because it's fun to gawk at the huge pots and strainers. Because really—if it's an item you'll actually use in the kitchen, you'll find it here. These aren't the cutesy kitchenwares you'll find at other stores; these are the unsung heroes of the kitchen, the workhorse products that can take a serious beating and still perform. If these pots, pans and utensils can survive a high-school cafeteria operation without serious damage, they're probably more resilient than you. CB.

Shopping list: Stainless-steel pots and pans, mix-and-match silverware, diner-style condiment dispensers.

City Farm

7636 N Lombard St., 285-0855,

[GARDEN STARTS] This brand-new little shop, located in what appears to be a former gas station on a sunny stretch in St. Johns, stands out not for its chicks or outstanding supply of heirloom seeds from Wild Garden and Seed Savers Exchange, but for its spectacular supply of medicinal and vegetable starts. Obscure heirloom tomatoes, broccoli raab, borage, wild ginger, and an impressive variety of seed potatoes share space with chicken feed and scratch, trellises, onion sets, and used tools. Bought something? Get 20 percent off a beverage or snack from the Garden Well food cart out front. KM.

Shopping list: Thornless blackberry plant, bourbon red turkey chick, comfrey and goldenseal starts.

The Decorette Shop

5338 SE Foster Road, 774-3760, Closed Sunday.

[CAKE GEAR] Did I hear you say you wanted to make chocolates in the shape of a fax machine, telephone or beeper? Well, look no further because the old-school, circa-1973 Decorette Shop has you covered in all business- and pleasure-themed candy molds. The candy and chocolate molds are upstairs and everything else pastry- and dessert-wise is downstairs, including pastry tins, cookie cutters, sugar dessert toppers (pink bunnies, white doves), cake-serving stands and more. There's even a doilies section. LC.

Shopping list: Candy molds, pretty cupcake wrappers, patriotic cookie cutters (Abe Lincoln, George Washington, an eagle and the USA).

F.H. Steinbart

234 SE 12th Ave., 232-8793, Closed Sunday.

[BREWING SUPPLIES] The city's finest wine- and beer-making supplies manufacturer and retailer, in business for almost a century, has been outfitting the DIY boozing set since the ban on home brewing ended in 1978. Anything you might need to ferment one thing into another, better-tasting, alcoholic thing can be purchased here: yeast, hops, tubes, filters, pots, carboys, crushers, bungs and even turbo distilling yeasts. Stock up in anticipation of moonshine decriminalization. BW.

Shopping list: Five-gallon carboy, oak barrel, red wine yeast, bench corker, triple scale hydrometer.

Hawthorne Cutlery and Gifts

3208 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 234-8898, Closed Sunday.

[KNIVES] There's a fake bloody hand next to a sword display that reads, "This could happen to you if you touch without asking!" Welcome to Hawthorne Cutlery and Gifts, where you'll find samurai swords next to antique kitchen shears, knife blocks, Microplanes and more chef's knives than you're ever likely to see in one place. LC.

Shopping list: Knife sharpening ($5), soft or hard steel chef's knife.

Homebrew Exchange

1907 N Kilpatrick St., 286-0343, Closed Monday.

[BREWING SUPPLIES] Home brewing is not all about barley, though there's plenty of it (and wheat, and malt) to go around at Homebrew Exchange. HBX (as it's known in badass abbreviated form) also caters to domestic vintners, cheesemongers, soda jerks and kombucha nuts. Shelves are stocked with kits, herbs, tools and cleaning supplies; corks and bottlecaps come in bulk, and there are even a few pairs of beer-stein-patterned socks for good measure. HBX offers classes, too, and its website fosters forums and blogs for like-minded brewers. CM.

Shopping list: Sarsaparilla extract, kombucha starter kit, stainless-steel brew pots.

Kitchen Kaboodle

404 NW 23rd Ave., 241-4040; 1520 NE Broadway, 288-1500; 8788 SW Hall Blvd., 643-5491 and other locations, 

[GADGET OVERLOAD] Since 1975, we've been lucky to have this Portland-born kitchen supply (and then some) store. Like most stores of its kind, you'll find the essentials in every department—stand-up mixers, rolling pins, sauté pans, cutting boards—along with nonessentials, such as interlocking corncob holders and cowhide-decorated cappuccino makers. Most products are useful, though, including electric and hand-crank meat grinders, All-Clad cookware and all sorts of gadgets. LC.

Shopping list: Digital or standard kitchen scale, immersion blender, mortar and pestle.

Kobos Coffee

2355 NW Vaughn St., 222-2181, 

[LOTS OF CUPS] Though something of a lone reed in the retail desert of outer Northwest Portland, this locally owned coffee roaster and purveyor of quality kitchenware makes it worth going out of your way. It's one-stop shopping for kitchen basics, plus glassware and coffee, tea and espresso-making equipment. Don't miss the corner devoted to cleaning tools and supplies, and grab a cup to go on your way out. BW.

Shopping list: Technivorm Moccamaster coffee maker, porcelain travel mug, scrub brushes.

Livingscape Nursery

3926 N Vancouver Ave., 248-0104, 

[GREEN LIVING] This purveyor of all things green, sustainable and tasty will have you converting your house into a chicken coop, and your backyard into a nursery. Or you'll just want to cut out the middleman and move in to Livingscape altogether: rainwater collection systems on the porch, juicers for rent in the living room, chicks in the basement, veggie starts in the back, and beehives and a nursery in the yard. It just feels good to be there. An extensive array of outdoor gear, kitchenware and garden tools is also on offer. CM.

Shopping list: Hay, hardy kiwi starts, turken chicks (also known as Transylvanian naked necks).

Mirador Community Store

2106 SE Division St., 231-5175, 

[HIPPIE KITCHEN] Don't let the nag champa-scented, candle- and paisley-filled entryway to this New Agey shop scare you off; past the aromatherapy gauntlet hides a thoughtful selection of high-quality tools for the Aquarian chef. Mirador is probably Portland's best source for food-preservation supplies, and dependably has canners, dehydrators and pickling crocks in stock, along with American-made knives, unfinished wooden utensils, cheesemaking kits and lots of cast iron. The cookbook shelf has some woo-woo tendencies, but you can tell those books by their covers; the rest are quite good. BW.

Shopping list: Hemp coffee filters, BPA-free jar lids, Excalibur food dehydrator, kombucha kit.

Naomi's Organic Farm Supply

2615 SE Schiller St., 517-8551, Closed Monday-Wednesday.

[BACKYARD FARM EMPORIUM] When this Southeast garden shop faced eviction from McLoughlin Boulevard last summer, urban pastoralists rallied to save it, demonstrating the devoted following it's sown over the years. After the fight proved unwinnable, Naomi Montacre took it into partial hibernation, promising to return soon. So there was much rejoicing in March, when the colorful Naomi's sign reappeared in an obscure light industrial district near Reed College, just south of Holgate Boulevard. The new neighbors are pallet makers and metal finishers, and without as big a lot, there's no room for the sprawling animal enclosures of the old location. But the ever-affable Naomi and her husband, Neil, are just getting started. In its first weeks after reopening, the warehouselike space was crawling with customers bursting like bulbs from winter slumber to stock up on soil, seeds, organic feed and advice, looking mighty pleased to have Naomi's back. CB.

Shopping list: Gardening manuals, live chicks, organic Payback chicken feed.

Portland Homestead Supply Company 

8012 SE 13th Ave., 233-8691, Monday.

[HIPSTER DUCKS] The Balinese duck with the big tuft of feathers on his head that owner Kristl Bridge claims customers say has a likening to Phyllis Diller was named Li'l Ed by a young girl who visited the store. Portland Homestead Supply Company in Sellwood's antique row is a place where ducks have names, chicks find homes (chicks, pullets and chicken and duck supplies in-house) and there's just-baked cobbler on the table above the bulk grains and DIY kitchen supplies. Not only does the year-old store carry urban homesteading supplies, it also offers all sorts of $25-$35 classes on everything from cheesemaking and sushi to gardening. LC.

Shopping list: Chicken and duck eggs, old-school butter churner, pickling crocks, DIY books.

Rose's Equipment & Supply

207 SE Clay St., 233-7450, Closed Saturday-Sunday.

[PRO SHOP] If you love to cook, you may go into uncontrollable spasms of joy when you step into the huge showroom of Rose's Equipment & Supply. It's the REI of kitchen equipment stores. Pros know Rose's has been around for 30-plus years, but to the nonprofessional, it's a revelation. "Look at these half-sheet pans, they're so cheap!" exclaimed an excited shopper. You can get a pizza stone for only $10.25, but make sure to pick up the peel, too. More specialized gadgets like a 60-quart stock pot, VitaMix blender, movie theater-style hot dog griller or your very own two-tap, draft-beer coolers aren't so cheap, but they have them if you need them. If you host lots of parties, you can find reasonably priced chafing dishes, platters, even those little red burger baskets. And this is without going into the used-supplies section. Rose's is practically an excuse to start your own food cart. DC. 

Shopping list: All the utensils you wish you had, ramekins, giant mixing bowls—you name it.


3429 NE Sandy Blvd., 962-0574, Closed Sunday-Monday.

[DEEP CUTS] There is a certain irony to the fact this knife-sharpening shop is right across the street from a tire store. It's also funny that there are a couple of fake, chopped-off fingers next to the sharpening station. It's no joke, however, when you get your sharpened-on-the-spot knives back. Heed owner Harmonie Medlin's advice when she hands them to you and says, "The first cut is startling, so keep it away from your fingers. This knife is now sharper than when you bought it." Knives ($3-$7 to sharpen), gardening tools and lawnmower blades all get the same finger-endangering treatment at this year-old business on Northeast Sandy Boulevard. If you're looking to visit the shop in the spring or summer, check the website first because Medlin does the farmers-market circuit, and hours get squirrelly. LC.

Shopping list: High-carbon steel 1904 Henckels chef knife ($70) from the St. Louis World's Fair, a $5-$8 knife from the bargain bins, sharpened knives.

Sur La Table

1102 NW Couch St., 295-9679, 

[GEWGAWS] Sur La Table has established itself as a slightly less snooty alternative to Williams-Sonoma, a reliable source of kitchen gadgetry and technology that's indubitably stylish, if not absolutely necessary. This is the store for people who don't just want an ice cream maker; they want a choice of five colors of ice cream makers. Sure, there are boring traditional items here like garlic presses, dish towels, and exclusive lines of cookware, but why settle for that when you can have a neat-o flexible spatula knife or a personal soda maker? Sur La Table advertises "the art and soul of cooking"; if so, a trip to the Brewery Blocks store is like a spiritual awakening, revealing sides of the soul heretofore unknown. Beware: Such discoveries are occasionally frightening, such as when you discover that somebody apparently demands a "baby gourmet" baby-food maker. CB.

Shopping list: Bodum glassware, reliable knives, vintage aprons. And actually, the flexible spatula knife is pretty cool.


6306 SW Capitol Highway, 546-3737, Closed Monday.

[BAKING BITS] Give a man a scone, and he'll eat for a day. But give him a pastry blender and an afternoon cooking class, and he'll eat for a lifetime. Baker & Spice has been helping Hillsdale residents achieve their sugar highs for over a decade, so it's right that they should help locals feed themselves. SweetWares is their venture for doing so, and it's an enormous success, with artfully arranged baking accessories that will please both professional bakers and neophytes. Dozens of pastry-bag tips, scores of sprinkle colors and high-end mixers and utensils are all here, while classes ensure that nobody need suffer through a tough pie crust or sloppy cupcake. If you know a baker, it's an ideal place to buy them a gift. If you are a baker, it's an ideal place to send someone to buy you a gift. Either way, the rewards are potentially limitless. CB.

Shopping list: Modern Bauer ceramic bowls, canning supplies, cannoli forms.

Urban Farm Store

2100 SE Belmont St., 234-7733,

[HOT CHICKS] At first glance, the Urban Farm Store looks like your average inner-city gardening store—mulch, trowels, seeds, watering cans—and then you notice a curious, incessant noise in the background. It's the sound of hundreds of chicks chirping, "Take me home and let me lay delicious fresh eggs for you or annoy your neighbors with my crowing!" Owners Robert and Hannah Litt's stated goal is to put "a chicken in every yard"—they even wrote a how-to guide with that exact title—and sell just about everything you could possibly need to make their dream a reality: a menagerie of different chicks and ducklings (with helpful notes on what they'll be like fully grown), coops, feed, litter and even chicken-keeping classes. There's also a solid range of other self-sustainability swag, such as soap- and cheesemaking supplies, composting equipment and fruit trees. RB.

Shopping list: Chicken-keeping supplies, gardening equipment, meat from Afton Field Farm.