The industrial eastside has always been in the middle of everything. When streetcar lines first ran along Union Avenue—what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard—Italian immigrants established fresh produce stands near the stops, laying the foundation for Produce Row (and yes, inspiring a bar of the same name on Southeast Oak Street). Turn-of-the-century grocers like the Poleo brothers' Sheridan Fruit Co. still stand on the same block 103 years later, but the surrounding manufacturing blocks are evolving into creative studios and not one but two outposts of Tokyo ramen standouts. These are streets where the vintage and the novel are visited with the same frequency.
You don't have to have tickets to a concert or a cannabis cup to head here, though it's among the city's favorite venues at the moment. Even if you have tickets, you'll end up on the roof, enjoying the views of central Portland from the perfect sunset vantage point. $.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Starting with a food cart and working her way up to a series of restaurants, Nong Poonsukwattana became a Portland icon for her khao man gai—delicately seasoned, poached chicken on fluffy rice, served with cucumber, cilantro and sipping broth. It's an exercise in perfection and simplicity. $.
Though primarily known for its charcuterie, butchery and sausage making, Olympia Provisions' restaurants have a lot more to offer. The Southeast location does lean heavily toward meat, with the iconic sausages and cured meat, plus other meaty courses, but also features a bold wine list, fun cocktails, a pretty stellar weekend brunch, and even some great vegetable dishes. $$$.
It's possible Gabriel Rucker can do no wrong. The third installment of his Franco-American restaurant empire easily met lofty expectations. A certain amount of that responsibility falls to the decadent duck stack ($16)—savory pancakes stacked high with duck eggs and gravy. But just about everything from chicken wings to snap peas and wakame merits a visit to this Belle Époque-fashioned cafe. $$$.