Whether you love Portland dessert institution Papa Haydn or simply enjoy a bargain, you’ll want to swing by one of the business’s two locations at some point during October.
The bakery and restaurant turns 45 this year and is partying like it’s 1978 with throwback items and prices to match. Starting Oct. 4, Papa Haydn will revisit past decades by rolling out a menu that pays tribute to iconic dishes that once came out of its kitchens. But what’s truly impressive is the price tag for those items: a shockingly low $12—and these are full portions, not kid-sized scoops.
If you weren’t eating at Papa Haydn back in in the ’80s, ’90s or early aughts, examples of some of the meals include chicken Genovese with a fettuccine base that’s covered in a basil pesto cream sauce (it was on from 1984 to 1994 and became the business’s bestseller); a chèvre pate, a late ‘80s to early ‘90s staple made up of baked Montrachet and feta cheeses served alongside crostini; and torta rustica, a savory pie served during the same era as the chèvre that’s stuffed with produce that was seasonal and on hand—Papa Haydn says there is a longtime customer who requests it to this day.
If you’re the kind of Papa Haydn patron who goes there only for the sweets, there are a couple of old-school items that are just seven bucks in October: sachertorte (an Austrian chocolate cake that was available on day one when the restaurant opened), marjolaine (chocolate mousse), and a chocolate marquise.
Papa Haydn first launched not on Northwest 23rd, as some assume simply because it has been in that marquee spot for so long, but across town on Southeast Milwaukie Avenue under the leadership of Heidi and Jeff Van Dyke. At that time, the business offered a relatively pared-down menu of soups, quiches and pastries that were inspired by those that Heidi grew up eating in Germany.
The dessert case grew in 1980 when Heidi’s sister, Evelyn Franz, joined the family business—a move that was supposed to be temporary but turned into a long-term partnership when Franz discovered she could use her sculpting skills to turn dessert into works of art.
“When Jeff and I opened the doors to Papa Haydn, we had no idea if our little dream would even make it past a year,” Heidi Van Dyke stated in a press release. “To think of all the people that have passed through our doors since then, both staff and guests, and shared first dates, proms, meals with family, proposals, and so many other special life moments...it’s humbling, really, and we’re so grateful.”
The menu specials aren’t the only way Papa Haydn is marking its 45th. There will be two Boccone Birthday Bashes—one at each location—which will feature appetizers, a dessert smorgasbord, live music, dancing and a Champagne toast with current owners Evelyn Franz and her husband Michael Gibbons.
The Southeast Milwaukie Avenue restaurant will host its party on Saturday, Oct. 7, while the Northwest 23rd Avenue location’s will follow on Saturday, Oct. 21. Tickets are $45 and include all of the food and the wine for the toast.