On Memorial Day weekend, a Portland pig was born—Blue Pig Cafe on Southeast Division Street. Owners Jay Azevedo and Mike Garofalo, who became friends while working at Southeast's Artemis Foods catering, decided to strike out on their own this year.
Blue Pig's 40-plus-seat space has a DIY feel with corrugated metal, old windows and doors as decor. The layout hasn't changed since Gramma Lucy's Cafe ruled the roost, but the atmosphere is several degrees warmer.
Tables are topped with flowers alongside hot-sauce-heavy condiment caddies, the mugs and plates are big and heavy, and portions hefty. You'd think pork would reign at this breakfast-and-lunch-all-day cafe, but beef is the draw. House-corned beef ($8.95), simmered and seasoned for eight hours, is served in a traditional hash or draped with locally fermented kraut, Swiss and Thousand Island in the house Reuben ($9.95).
The chicken-fried steak ($9.95) is a solid choice with sausage-studded gravy, two eggs and fried potatoes. There's also a popular build-your-own burger ($9.95)—beef or Boca. Both can be topped with an unlimited amount of standard and not-so-standard toppings, including grilled pineapple, chipotle mayo, roasted green chiles, and onion rings.
Beyond-beef options at Blue Pig: huevos rancheros ($10.95), french toast ($8.95), the BLT ($6.95), and a spinach salad ($6.95, $8.95 with grilled chicken) with dried cherries, candied almonds and blue cheese dressing.
Azevedo and Garofalo are slinging espresso drinks behind the counter, but the OLCC granted them a liquor license last week. Azevedo says they've already started celebrating by offering a slew of mimosas and Bloody Marys for daytime drinkers. The license also opens the door to private catered events in-house by night. Spit-roasted blue pig, anyone?
Blue Pig Cafe, 5026 SE Division St., 231-2775, bluepigcafe.typepad.com. 8 am-3 pm daily. $ Inexpensive. Call the cafe to book the space for private events.