2337 E Burnside St., 542-0880, screendoorrestaurant.com.
[MASON-DIXON...LINE] Perhaps nowhere more accurately mirrors the dichotomy of Portlanders’ eating habits than this East Burnside institution. It is possible to order a plate consisting of chicken-fried pork and mac ’n’ cheese on one side with locally grown, organic kale and flageolet beans on the other. Greasy fried comfort food with a side of sanctimony. Perhaps this is why Screen Door has become something of a fail-safe destination for locals of all ages and stages; the crowd is always as diverse as the lines are long. In fact, if you’re planning on coming for the vaunted fried chicken and waffle at brunch, don’t be surprised to see the line snaking halfway around the block nearly 30 minutes before opening time, with waits of an hour or more by 10 am. Dinner sees a wait nearly as long, especially on weekends, but service is quick and the buttermilk-battered fried chicken ($14.75) is so good you’ll forget how long you waited. (Especially if you throw in a tall glass of sage-scented Porch Swing Lemonade, $7.50.) Or, for more variety, try the above-referenced Screen Door plate: your choice of a combination of Southern classics such as gumbo, jambalaya and fried catfish paired with selections from the daily changing “local organics” menu ($13.95). Eat your veggies, y’all.
Ideal meal: Screen Door plate.
Best deal: Screen Door plate.
Pro tip: The buttermilk fried chicken tenders on the appetizer menu ($6.75) are not in the same league as the fried chicken on the entree menu. If you’re a fried-chicken aficionado, get the latter.
5:30-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30-9 pm Sunday-Monday, brunch 9 am-2:30 pm Saturday-Sunday. $$.