Great restaurants are like great running backs: Some make their bones by juking you out with nimble spins, others by extending a stiff arm and bowling you over. There are a few immortals who can do both.

Well, Portland's very best Southern restaurant, Screen Door, reminds me of Jerome "The Bus" Bettis. Who needs trickery when brute force will do the job?

From the moment you arrive at the hourlong brunch line, you know at least one member of your party needs that foot-high stack of gleaming gold fried chicken above a fluffy waffle ($14.75) and that everyone else will envy that person. The brisket hash ($12.75) on a September visit was the exception that proved the rule: so rich and smoky I didn't know if I wanted the waffle or not.


Pro tip: Do you typically shun brunch cocktails before noon? C'mon, get that creole bloody mary ($8) or anything else off the excellent list here.

GO: 2337 E Burnside St., 542-0880, 8 am-2 pm and 5:30-10 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am-2:30 pm and 5:30-10 pm Saturday-Sunday. $$.