When people rhapsodize about Weird Old Portland, what they're talking about are places like Rimsky-Korsakoffee House.
The 40-year-old cafe, built inside an old Craftsman home in the Buckman neighborhood, has long been an attraction beyond its menu of coffee drinks and elaborate desserts. The décor is perhaps best described as "haunted Victorian brothel." Each table is named after a dead composer, and some of them appear to be "possessed," rotating and lowering almost imperceptibly until all of a sudden your raspberry sundae is out of reach. And this is what the restroom looks like:
The business has survived several waves of economic upheaval virtually unchanged. But as with pretty much everywhere else, COVID-19 is presenting Rimsky's with an existential threat it's never before faced.
For that reason, several loyal patrons and staff—with a nod from the owners—have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help keep the lights on and the tables spinning.
While the cafe has remained opened for takeout, the atmosphere has always been Rimsky's biggest draw. And with indoor service currently prohibited, the place is dealing with "significant financial hardships," according to the campaign's GoFundMe page.
"Rimsky's is more than just a business—for many of us, it's our second home," reads the message. "Portland wouldn't be the same without it, and neither would we."
The campaign is looking to raise $5,000 to assist with operating costs. Go here to donate, then maybe consider swinging by to pick up a torte to go and eating it by candlelight while listening to Django Reinhardt on Spotify. It's the closest you'll get to the full Rimsky's experience right now.