Like his viking forebears, Peter Bro has long had expansionist urges. After modestly successful attempts to branch out from brunch into dinner, he's since settled on a simple strategy: Open more Broders! Near Washington Square mall! Out in Hood River! Everywhere Broders!
On one hand, Broder is now a borderline chain of stylish Scandinavian bruncheries. On the other, you'd probably never notice given the personal service and excellent food. A midsummer visit to the original cafe at the idyllic intersection of Southeast Clinton Street and Everything Portland Was in 2006 Avenue showed that the formula still works well and they haven't slipped on the small details, offering a little cup of warm, frothy milk with your coffee and playing Weezer's Blue Album all the way through from the kitchen.
Those taut lefse remain a perfect balance between potato heartiness and crêpe airiness. The globular pancakes with lemon curd and lingonberry remain a delight for kids and a curiosity for the un-Danish. The open-faced sandwiches still hit all the right notes, especially an avocado toast with dill aioli. The Broder Bord remains a perfect breakfast, with gooey and hard cheeses, salty smoked trout, fibrous brown crackers and a little parfait of fresh fruit, toasty granola and sour yogurt.
Not everything is perfect, as the pastries on a recent visit were overly dense and dry even by Danish standards, and the drip coffee, which runs a princely $4, was watery with an off-putting herbal bitterness. Still, it's perhaps the most reliable brunch in town. And it makes sense to bring it to other towns—expanding to Bend or Ashland requires only the same coldly rational calculation as pillaging provisions from defenseless Irishmen.
Pro tip: Weekdays are the new weekends—at least, for those people who don't want to wait an hour for brunch.