Classic St. Johns eatery Pattie's Home Plate will have to vacate the corner it has occupied for decades this fall—but it may not be gone for good.
Pattie Deitz, owner of the restaurant for 21 years, learned just yesterday that the landlord is selling the building due to health issues. She has until mid-October to pack up, but offers to keep the business alive in a new location have already poured in. But she says it's too soon to know what will happen next.
"I'm 74," Deitz says, "so even if I just retire it would be about time."
The '50s-style joint—part diner, part rummage sale, part sock hop—has long been more than just a place to grab a burger and a root beer float. The location has gotten its fair share of attention on both the big and small screen: the former Rexall drugstore was the backdrop of a pivotal part in the 1995 film Mr. Holland's Opus, and also starred alongside Ed Begley, Jr. in Portlandia's second season finale.
Though the exterior has gotten more coverage, the inside is just as notable. Deitz has filled the space with a thrift store's haul of antiques and oddities, including dolls, costumes and even her grandfather's early 20th-century pool table. Even if she does decide to relocate, much of that will be sold as Deitz gets closer to the exit date, since her role at the potential new restaurants would be focused on serving food.
"Those sentimental things will be hard to get rid of," Deitz says, "but they have to go."
Deitz has also become a beloved figure in the neighborhood. Her annual classic car show raised money for the Good Samaritan Food Bank, she donated her costume collection to the Roosevelt High School drama program and regularly brought homeless individuals into the diner for meals during winter.
Deitz plans to continue the car show, even without the business, and you'll likely still see her in the area since she's part-owner of Blue Collar Wrestling, which holds bouts in the North Portland Eagles Lodge. That's enough to keep any 74-year-old busy, so it's no surprise that there aren't plans yet for a goodbye party. Deitz is still reeling from the news.
"I'm still in shock. This was a constant stay-awake thing last night. It's too early now for me to be coordinated like that," she says. "I'm really going to miss everybody. They're like family, not just a customer."