On the one hand, Sizzle Pie's new Mini Mini (638 E Burnside St.) is a mini-mart. Like the Plaid Pantry a few blocks down East Burnside, Mini Mini will happily sell you American Spirits or Parliament Lights, and some D-cell batteries for your presumed '80s boom box. And if you're in a deodorant pinch, it's got Old Spice and Sure Solid to gum up your sweat glands. But at the same time, it's an art project, a mini-mart in air quotes—the retro trucker hat of mini-marts.
Warm cans of Rainier and empty Mini Mini-brand crowlers nonsensically line its front shelving as if anyone would ever actually buy warm Rainier or an open-topped crowler. An entire fridge case is taken up by blue cartons of water that say "JUST WATER," just because. Other cool cases sport rows of multifarious Occidental and Royale beers whose colorful labels look nice through the glass.
Fashioned by celebrity designer Aaron Draplin, the store is as bright-white and blank as the waiting room in the afterlife. Well, fuck it: If it's gonna be a Gus Van Sant dream-world midcentury mini-mart, we're gonna have a stoop beer. Because that's what Matt Dillon would do.
We left behind the Jones Soda crowlers ($5) and kombucha crowlers ($9) and Double Mountain crowlers ($7) and got some Stiegl grapefruit radler and a Sizzle Pie hot pocket ($3.50)—fluffier and with better cheese than the freezer versions, though just as greasy and prone to hot oil spills—and took our cans to the old, abandoned restaurant next door.
The former Farm has a perfect stoop, shaded by trees. The day was sunny. Life was perfect. Then, from the parking lot behind us, we heard a voice: "How you doin'?" asked a woman who'd set up camp in the parking lot, calling us by a racial slur we don't print in the paper without good reason. The slur—which didn't easily apply to anyone within eyeshot—seemed less hostile than an aggressive form of camp. As a peacekeeping gesture, we offered her one of our Stiegls. But seeing the can, she demurred. "I don't do grapefruit," she said. "That stuff will bleach out my hormones." Turned out we weren't in a Van Sant movie after all—it was Richard Linklater.