Every June, The Oregonian publishes a guide to upscale Portland-area restaurants called Diner. Last June, Willamette Week published a guide to Portland diners, also called Diner. The Oregonian's lawyer asked us not to do that again. So, as Diner 2014 content begins populating the various streams, verticals and digital reader engagement platforms of OregonLive.com, we present Dinerzâ"¢ 2014, a guide to Portland diners. (Dinerzâ"¢ is not affiliated, and not intended to be confused, with Diner.) Because there are so many diners in Portland, we needed a theme. This year, all five diners in Dinerzâ"¢ are named for a person.
10765 SW Canyon Rd., Beaverton, 601-8522, antonisdiner.com. 7 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 7-2 am Friday-Saturday.
Who's Antoni? The neon alter-ego of Anthony Tzakis. He and his brother Napoleon started Antoni's to continue the legacy of their father Denny, the mastermind behind Touch of Athens and Santorini. Antoni kept a low profile during our visit (i.e., he wasn't there).
Antoni's Neighbors: Car dealers with stadium lights.
Antoni's Style: A jumble of kitsch and class, like that slightly cheesy pinstripe suit you've had for years that still fits perfectly. Hand-painted murals depicting lyre-wielding nymphs overlook the joint's cozy booths, which are upholstered with a desert cactus pattern that doesn't quite jibe with the rest of the vaguely Hellenic decor. Those booths and pueblo-style arches are the only real indicators that this used to be a Mexican place.
Antoni's Rules: Confusing. Are we supposed to "Please Wait to Be Seated," as the sign suggests, or order at the window with the massive blackboard menu? Talking soccer with the smiling waiter is pleasant, but optional: Antoni's has installed private tableside TVs in each of its booths (with a generous cable package, too—we enjoyed a rerun of Comedy Central's "Roast of James Franco"). Breakfast is served until 4 pm, and then again after 10, when the back-room bar teems with suburban twenty- and thirty-somethings chowing on buffalo wings and sipping fluorescent cocktails.
Antoni's Food: Straight out of a classic east-coast Greek diner, with a book-length menu that places teriyaki chicken next to penne pasta, souvlaki, and the requisite American classics. The Hungry Man's Breakfast offers two meats, two eggs, hashbrowns and a pancake for the reasonable price of $8.75. The pancake—thick, fluffy, and frisbee-sized—is worth the price tag all by itself, but the bacon lacks crunch and the hashbrowns' crispy golden surface gives way to a mealy mush underneath. The gyro ($8.55) satisfies despite missing a little moisture. The best thing we sampled, though, was the wonderfully Americanized Greek salad ($7.45), bathed in a mild vinaigrette and packed with crunchy bell peppers and salty globs of feta. it might just be the best use of iceberg lettuce in the greater Portland area.