PORTLAND NEEDS WILLAMETTE WEEK. NOW WILLAMETTE WEEK NEEDS YOU.
The need for strong, independent local journalism is more urgent than ever. Please support the city we love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.
Daddy Mojo’s Has the Finest Gallery of Signed Celebrity Memorabilia of Any Bar in Portland
Daddy Mojo’s is a bewildering kaleidoscope of breakfast cafe, sushi joint, soul kitchen and sports bar.
By AP Kryza
Mark Twain, Jimmy Carter, Tina Turner and Muhammad Ali walk into a bar in Portland—stop us if you've heard this one.
Along with being the last of the dive bars on inner Northeast Fremont Street, Daddy Mojo's is a bewildering kaleidoscope of breakfast cafe, sushi joint, soul kitchen and sports bar. But it's also the finest gallery of framed celebrity photographs and bric-a-brac in Portland, the singular obsession of owner Vilath Oudomphong, a Laotian immigrant who has lorded over Mojo's with his saucy wife, Rika, since 2004.
It might seem random—signed mugs of George Clooney and Robert De Niro keep watch over the ladies' room, while Abe Lincoln (unsigned) holds court next to Sinatra in a booth—but Oudomphong says his collection is carefully curated. There's a theme here: historical figures, musicians (including more than a dozen unsigned Michael Jackson shots on one wall), actors and a ton of tennis stars. Oudomphong's a rabid tennis fan, and his collection includes two replica Wimbledon rackets and shots of everyone from Maria Sharapova to Roger Federer alongside what he considers his greatest prize: a signed Anna Kournikova. He met her, he says, but had to buy the framed shot via eBay, same way he bought the mugs. All are certified authentic.
There's also a section of presidents. Carter and Obama—both signed—stick out among POTUSes past, though it sounds like Oudomphong's not planning on keeping current. "I'm not gonna hang Trump next to Obama," he says, smiling as customers play keno on an early Wednesday afternoon. "I'm not gonna do that."