Welcome to Diner 2013—not a guide to the Portland area’s best restaurants, or even to the best Oregonian-operated diners, but a seven-part series where we ate at seven Portland diners we hadn't been to in a while. Over the next week, we hit standbys where you can get eggs and coffee at a counter early or late in the day. Diner 2013: It's the best name for a series about Portland diners published in 2013.

Overlook Family Restaurant
288-0880, 1332 N Skidmore Street, facebook.com/OverlookRestaurantLounge.  

Neighborhood: Overlook, a bluff nestled between the interstate and industrial Swan Island. A colleague described the immediate area as “a park built on top of a superfund site.”

Vibe: “May we suggest a Morning Cocktail” are the first words on the Overlook’s menu. They are prescient. This “family restaurant” feels much more like a well-worn Reno Lounge than wholesome diner, with orange stained glass windows, pink-hued chandeliers and a crackling gas fireplace provide dim dive bar lighting. Video lottery and Keno machines are out in the middle of the nearly empty room. A cigarette vending machine sits by the rear door. Big television screens are set to the Today show, a cooking segment, which we watch as our waitress slips out the front door for a smoke.

The Grub: Well, the toast is great—lightly buttered sourdough with a nice tang. Everything else was not. A Belgian waffle ($6.50) was dense and dry, as though it’d been made with all egg yolks instead of all egg whites. The massive “small” cinnamon roll ($3.75) tasted like a past-its-prime Franz loaf that’d been reformed into a swirl and and topped with sugar goo. A Western omelette ($8.95) had just enough ham, green peppers and sharp cheddar, but the ingredients were blended into the eggs then pan-fried—to me, that’s more a scramble, than an omelette. Hashbrowns were undercooked in the center, left limp and gritty. “It’s not somewhere I like to eat, but I could drink and watch college football there all day long,” a colleague said. Too bad it’s not actually Reno—this place could use a sports book where the Keno machines sit.