1. Pizza Thief
2610 NW Vaughn St., 503-719-7778, pizzathief.com. Noon-9 pm Wednesday-Monday.
Mondays are slow at most bars and restaurants, but not at Slabtown’s Pizza Thief. During its de facto service-industry night, you’ll find a growing number of brewers, distillers and cidermakers who’ve made this spot their regular hangout. And they’re not just there to drink. Pizza Thief has found a way to tap into our city’s vast fermentation labor force and put members to work baking pies and pouring beers. The new collaboration series is called Meet the Maker Mondays, which features a different Sicilian-style pizza created by a craft beverage company every week.
2930 NE Killingsworth St., 503-227-2669, damerestaurant.com. 5-10 pm Thursday-Sunday.
Dame may be the most wonderful, underpublicized restaurant in Portland. The intimate Italian meals served there nourish the body and elevate the spirit. Its chef, Patrick McKee, is an exemplary talent, leader and human being; the kitchen and floor staff reflect a constructive culture; and the food is simply superb. When you go, order pasta, the high-water mark of McKee’s creativity and the skill in his kitchen. Typically, a half-dozen pastas are made fresh daily, and every dish is the product of painstaking flavor-building technique. Servings are generous, but order ravenously; these pastas are virtuoso performances.
3. Yes Please Smash Burger
3950 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 707-500-2117, yespleasesmashburger.com. Noon-5 pm Wednesday-Sunday.
As the child of a naturopath and a herbalist, Tai Pfeifer grew up eating fresh and healthy, and was determined to bring that to his slow fast food. The Yes Please Smash Burger is grass-finished (as opposed to “grass-fed,” a term that still allows grain consumption), and until recently, Pfeifer ground the meat himself, using a mixture of brisket and heart. He also makes his own American cheese from real cheddar, which doesn’t have the dozen-plus ingredients you’ll find in Kraft Singles. It’s also actually a cheese sauce, which gets poured directly on the burger during cooking, resulting in an almost fricolike crusty, crispy cheese halo.
4. Pollo Bravo
1225 N Killingsworth St., 503-477-8999, pollobravopdx.com. 11:30 am-9 pm daily.
During the pandemic, Pollo Bravo stuck it out for a while with takeout and delivery from Pine Street Market, but without downtown’s tourists and office workers, co-owners Josh and Sarah Scofield eventually decided to go on hiatus. Now the beloved brand is back in a stand-alone restaurant with its signature chicken and stalwart sides (radicchio salad, patatas bravas), as well as select tapas and a rebooted Bravo burger. And nearly everything on the menu is ready to be dipped in Pollo Bravo’s decadent sauces.
5. RingSide Steakhouse
2165 W Burnside St., 503-223-1513, ringsidesteakhouse.com. 5-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 4:30-9:30 pm Friday, 4-9:30 pm Saturday, 4-9 pm Sunday.
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, RingSide will be open seven days a week. The iconic steakhouse remained closed on Mondays and Tuesdays once it resumed indoor dining, but let’s face it: Sometimes you really need to carve into a dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye to get your week started on the right foot. The $48 three-course prime rib special has returned to its normal Monday slot, and June just happens to be National Steakhouse Month, giving you another excuse to drop in.