Tucked in at the south edge of the West Hills—and notable to most Portlanders as the home of the iconic Burlingame Fred Meyer sign—Hillsdale is a traditional and relatively quiet neighborhood centered around institutions like Wilson High School and the Mittleman Community Center, which serves as the hub of Portland's long-tenured Jewish community. Hillsdale is best visited on Sunday afternoons, quiet days perfect for hitting the Hillsdale Farmers Market before exploring the southwest hills' trail system that weaves through scenic greenways and grazes most of the area's landmarks.
Salvador Molly's, 1523 SW Sunset Blvd.
Sasquatch Brewing Company, 6440 SW Capitol Highway.
Food Front, 6344 SW Capitol Highway.
Lunchtime Disc Golf Course, 2374 SW Vermont St.
6446 SW Capitol Highway, 503-384-2327, verdecocinamarket.com. Lunch-dinner Monday-Friday, breakfast-dinner Saturday-Sunday.
Truth be told, we usually visit Verde Cocina at the PSU Farmers Market (see page 28), where piles of market-fresh vegetables—think chard, kale, carrots and onions—adobo-smeared chicken quarters, palm-sized corn tortillas and half-inch-thick chunks of bacon sizzle away fragrantly on yard-wide comals for masses of hungry onlookers. That beautiful operation is headquartered in Hillsdale, where Chef Noel Garnica and company make seasonal, paleo, vegan and gluten-free friendly Mexican cuisine with a distinctly Pacific-Northwestern bent. You're going to eat a mountain of Mexican food, and, miraculously, not feel so heavy as to not take a walk around the neighborhood afterwards. $-$$.
Baker & Spice Bakery and Cakery
6330 SW Capitol Highway, 503-244-7573, bakerandspicepdx.com. Breakfast-early dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Prices vary on celebration cakes.
The unrepentant gluten and sugar fiends at Baker & Spice have built a multi-building empire along Hillsdale's short southern strip. The cakery churns out meticulous frosted towers and any tools or literature one may need in the pursuit thereof, while the bakery offers everything else, including less fancy cakes. $.
6238 SW Capitol Highway, 971-279-7252, burgerstevens.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
This bright-blue, chef-run burger cart may be the anchor Hillsdale Food Park has been looking for. The menu is simple: burgers, crisp fries, and proprietary soft serve. The burgers themselves are diner-style, with Franz buns recalling In-n-Out's sponge dough, and a kicked-up sauce. $.
6352 SW Capitol Highway, 503-246-2374. 11 am-10 pm daily.
When Baskin-Robbins' location was torn down, local ownership approximated the location across the street with Dairy Hill: an ice cream parlor supplied by Alpenrose and recalling Hillsdale's early days as a collection of dairies. True to Hillsdale's roots, Dairy Hill offers an array of kosher options. $.
6320 SW Capitol Highway, 503-977-2233, gigiscafepdx.com. Breakfast and lunch daily.
The brick-and-mortar location for the former Gaufre Gourmet food cart has been a breakfast and brunch hit since opening a couple years ago. It's a strip-mall diner well-done, with a menu covering protein and waffle-focused sweet-tooth bases, with a neighborly vibe that's been a hit in this close-knit community. $.
1523 SW Sunset Boulevard, 503-293-1790. Lunch and dinner daily.
One of Portland's original food-cart kings, founder Scott Moritz kicked Salvador Molly's off in 1994, shelling out tamales at the Portland Farmer's Market before branching out to a brick-and-mortar location and catering. For the uninitiated, the vibe is international, with an emphasis on bold flavors. Case in point: the restaurant once served as a proving ground for Aardvark Hot Sauce. $.
Sasquatch Brewing Company
6440 SW Capitol Highway, 503-420-1999, sasquatchbrewery.com.
Hillsdale's Sasquatch Brewing is a place you'd want to visit even if it didn't make its own beer. Next to the cozy taproom, there's a serious restaurant serving deep-fried kimchi pickles and chicken and waffles with Sriracha-infused maple syrup. Beers come in a range of styles, aimed at appeasing both beer geeks and folks just looking for an IPA.
Hillsdale Farmers Market
1405 SW Vermont St., 503-475-6555, hillsdalefarmersmarket.com. 10 am-2pm Sunday (weekly May-November, biweekly December-April).
Hillsdale's market runs Sundays in the Wilson High School parking lot and features an elite collection of stalls. Market organizers focus on farmers to fill their limited space, so Hillsdale avoids the sprawl and crowds from bigger markets while maintaining the level of quality.
6344 SW Capitol Highway, 503-546-6559, foodfront.coop.
The grocery battleground is dense with heavyweights, and yet Food Front has weathered the storm. The Hillsdale location benefits from a loyal following and, unlike the Northwest location, lack of a nearby New Seasons. Management changes in the past year and strong connections to farmers at Hillsdale's Sunday market have kept Food Front in the fight.
Mittleman Community Center
6651 SW Capitol Highway, 503-244-0111, oregonjcc.org. Morning-evening daily.
Relocated to Hillsdale from downtown in 1971, the Mittleman Center is the heart of Portland's Jewish community. The community center has long played host to luminaries, from Mark Rothko to the Schnitzers, and generously offers swim lessons and indoor soccer to folks outside the twelve tribes.
The Portland Ballet
6250 SW Capitol Highway, 503-452-8448, theportlandballet.org.
Following an expansion in 2014, the Portland Ballet continues to serve as the focal point for, well, Portland's ballet, functioning as both the center for the city's professional and youth productions—who perform regularly at PSU's Lincoln Hall—and a training ground for neophytes.
Lunchtime Disc Golf Course
2374 SW Vermont St., pdxchurch.org/disc-golf. 7 am-10 pm Monday-Saturday, 1-10 pm Sunday.
The grounds of Greater Portland Bible Church generously double as one of only a handful of disc courses within city limits proper. The course offers variety over its thirteen holes and 21 acres and pretty views of the Southwest Hills. The sport's rowdier days have been recently tamed due to complaints from neighbors about noise and errant discs, but the course itself beats on.
SW Trails PDX
While much of Southwest remains unfriendly to pedestrians, the Southwest Trails system is interwoven through the quadrant and connects the Southwest's disparate neighborhoods with a network of hiking paths. Hillsdale serves as a southern hub for this system, and trails wind down through green space and up along the crest of the Southwest Hills.