Oregon is home to a lot of restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders just aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food players to share their under-the-radar recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Kat Hand has spent the last 15 years managing restaurants of all sizes, from corporate to small independents to family-owned. She's been at Hotel deLuxe for almost five years, having joined the team with her partner Mike Robertson who manages the Driftwood Room, and took the helm as manager at Gracie's earlier this year. Born in Panama to parents in the government service, Kat was exposed to global flavors during a childhood spent at exotic posts like Wake Island and Hawaii. But Kat has a special place in heart (and stomach) for Bridges Cafe which is conveniently located near her home in the Mississippi neighborhood. "Bridges is a teeny tiny place that serves great comfort food," says Hand. "It's not gourmet, but it's delicious, real and feels like home."
My dad's side of the family is from the South and I remember fondly visiting family — and eating — in South Carolina and Georgia as a child. Low country favorites like fried okra and grits just have a special place in my heart. Bridges serves an amazing grits breakfast with cheesy grits, mushrooms, spinach, and peppers. I always order it with a side of bacon to crumble over the top. It takes me right back to Charleston.
Most of their ingredients are organic and they have delicious fresh juices squeezed on site. Order one poured straight or, better yet, made into a mimosa. I always get my mimosa made with half-orange, half-grapefruit. We serve a ton of champagne cocktails at Gracie's and the Driftwood Room so, you can imagine, I'm a little jaded when it comes to champagne cocktails. Mixing the juices jazzes it up in all the right ways.
Image of Bridges Cafe courtesy Dan H. via Yelp