Engaged couple Evan Dohrmann and Ali Jepson got the idea for their recently opened Little Red Bike Cafe in St. Johns while traveling around the South Seas three years ago. After sustaining a long-distance relationship through college, the two set off post-commencement on a 'round-the-world journey where they met the cafe of their dreams in South Island, New Zealand.

After building up a small Portland catering business last year, sharing their edible wares at local farmers markets for several months, they opened Little Red Bike Cafe in late September on North Lombard Street.

The tiny breakfast and lunch spot, with five tables and a window bar, in addition to a couple sidewalk tables and a bike-thru window, packs a lot in the small space—much of which is in or around the prominent dessert case.

Locally made, raw, vegan chocolates; Fleur de Lis pastries; baked-in-house sweets, such as doughnut holes and cupcakes big and small (pastries $1.75-$2.50); and old-fashioned, hard-to-find sodas crowd the case, while a drinking-chocolate machine, brimming candy jars, and locally made jams and preserves surround it.

Hidden in the freezer are several stunning small-batch ice creams (one scoop $2.50, two scoops $4.50). Although the blends constantly rotate, recent favorites include pink-grapefruit champagne sorbet, dark-chocolate pudding ice cream and a maple-and-bacon blend.

But don't just stick to the front of the house—order something plated in the kitchen. Just about everything is made from scratch and features local ingredients, including delicious soups like purple potato, cheddar, bacon chowder and North African peanut stew. Sandwiches are also tasty. The roast beef ($6 with chips or mixed greens) stacks the goods on a flour-dusted ciabatta with Gorgonzola, caramelized onions and a horseradish-buttermilk spread.

Jepson and Dohrmann are taking their bike-friendly cafe one spoke at a time, but they hope to branch into dinner by way of housemade pot pies in upcoming months. When asked about the pot pie prospectus, Dohrmann rattles off a few ideas that include meaty as well as veggie and vegan options. You can get a hint at lunch, where Thai curry and Mexican-inspired chilaquile pot pies have recently made appearances.


4823 N Lombard St., 289-0120. Breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Friday 7 am-3 pm; brunch Saturday-Sunday 8 am-3 pm. $