Portland’s Screen Door aims to rep the South proper with a simple menu of classic dishes served up with that world famous hospitality. All that Southern goodness must be legendary though, because you should expect to wait a while to get a seat at this East Burnside Street restaurant.
Screen Door is as charming as its name suggests: whimsical, casual, and a friendliness that has a distinct Southern drawl. The open dining room filled with family style tables bustles with activity as servers zip back and forth from the kitchen.
(Above: Nothing says serious business like a plate full of chicken and waffles with a knife stabbed in the middle of the dish.)
First thing I noticed on the menu: Chicken and waffles. Now, seeing that I’d likely have to go all the way to Los Angeles to get my fix, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. The chicken and waffles arrived on a plate stacked with a knife driven down the center to hold it altogether.
The crude, yet dramatic plating foreshadowed what we were about to experience: three pieces of expertly breaded chicken breasts that was both crispy on the outside and unfailingly juicy on the inside. Cushioned below was a fluffy and delicate waffle that provided that sweet yin to the yang of the chicken’s savoury. Perfect harmony.
(Top to bottom: 1. Screen Door gets busy. 2. Supreme, indeed.)
Case ordered a waffle with a generous dusting of crushed pralines served with a rasher of crispy bacon and topped with dollops of whipped cream. It was like having dessert for breakfast: the savoury bacon a final exclamation point on this perfectly crisp soft statement of Southern pride.
(Above: Praline, bacon, and pancakes topped with whipped cream — all the four major food groups for breakfast. Your mother would be proud.)
Our meal came to under $30 including tips and two coffees, which quite frankly, felt like a bargain given both the generous portions and quality of food. Apparently, all of it is made daily with local organic produce and meats, but more importantly Screen Door executes without dumbing down or dressing up their dishes. You really do have to wait a pretty long time to get in, though — so get there early.
Perfect for: A taste of Southern hospitality — in the Pacific Northwest.