IMAGE: meghann gilligan
Why, when I stepped inside Trippin’ Billies (3326 N Lombard St., 283-0205), did it feel like 1996 again? Maybe it was the ’90s-era prices—six bucks will get you a latte, a pot of tea and a locally made cupcake. Or perhaps it was 26-year-old Ariel Zimmer’s “North Portland Poetry Jam” (every first and third Sunday), which attracted eager young bards with names like Blue and Le James (the latter impressed with Stravinsky-shifting rhythms on rhymes like this: “Jesus never wore a three-piece suit/ But he did run with a prostitute”). A quartet of pixie-cut twentysomethings, squeezed onto a futon, sipped wine and applauded politely. Owner Justine Hollinger, a former Starbucks coffee-slinger, opened the comfy neighborhood haunt just 10 weeks ago; she says business is moving along. Certainly the black-and-white A-frame sign out front helps: “Espresso/Wi-Fi/Good Eats,” it reads—all of which are true. Live music, readings and vis-arts are also on her agenda. Pulling fresh espresso shots, she mentions a recent onslaught of visitors, all attracted by the shop’s unique name. It’s only then that I realize she’s christened her business in honor of a Dave Matthews Band song (from that classic 1996 album, Crash ). Ah, yes—it all makes sense now.