For years Miss Dish has tried to tell the people that, while restaurant reviews may be interesting or informative or some combination of the two, they have no power over the life and death of a restaurant. Eateries that WW eviscerated years ago remain open, while others showered with the highest praise have shuttered. Another force controls the fate of a restaurant's success; what that factor is, however, can be hard to decipher.

Take J&M Cafe. In the past year, this longtime breakfast favorite decided to add dinner to its repertoire. They did a good job--you might even say great--and got strictly positive reviews in the local papers. But, according to co-owner Jim French, good write-ups weren't enough to make the dinner thing work for J&M, and the restaurant recently stopped that service (fear not, the famous breakfast and lunch menus continue on). "We got good reviews from everybody," says French. "But people weren't coming in."

French thinks a variety of factors played into the death of dinner. Mainly, it was hard for people to grasp the concept of going to their favorite morning place at night. Also, the space is hidden in Southeast's industrial zone. But then Portland noshers will remember that the same fate struck the Bijou Cafe. Decidedly odd. Repeat: J&M (527 SE Ash St., 230-0463) is still open for breakfast and lunch but, alas, no more dinner.


This press release just crossed the Dish desk: "The Haute Air Faire is a new event featuring Pacific Northwest cuisine, humorous, interactive, family entertainment, and the majesty of hot-air balloons...." Sigh. If you find this fetching, steer yourself to Canby on July 26 and 27. Call 577-1373 for more, more, more.


Doughnut vs. doughnut. Krispy Kreme is poised to open its first Oregon store at 5:30 am Tuesday, July 29, at 9950 SE 82nd Ave. If you go, you know you'll be in for a long wait for pastry crack. However, at downtown's Voodoo Doughnut (22 SW 3rd Ave., 241-4704), home of both the NyQuil and the Pepto-Bismol doughnut, there are other options. They've just announced some new policies: (1) They say if it's officially 100 degrees outside or snowing they will give each customer a free doughnut. (2) Every first Friday of the month, as the clock strikes midnight, they will drop the flag on a doughnut-eating contest. Pastry crack or NyQuil doughnut: You decide.