Its massive rotating sign has literally been spinning for a few days, but now, a look inside the little sister to Vitaly Paley's downtown restaurant Imperial: the Portland Penny Diner, which softly opened yesterday, has officially taken over the former Bo Restobar space inside the Hotel Lucia. The "reimagined" diner concept — in actuality, more a counter-service cafe than true greasy spoon — will try to lure downtown diners from the early-morning breakfast crowd to late-night drinkers, with casual bartop-style seating and a soda-fountain-inspired cocktail menu.
Complete menus are already available online, with breakfast offering a rotating set of sweets by pastry chef Michelle Vernier and all-day breakfast sandwiches (including one called "The Hipster," which involves scrambled eggs, tomato, pepper jack, and hazelnut romesco). Paley and executive chef Ben Bettinger's "all day" menu (spanning from lunch until late night on weekends), heavily features sandwiches — both on and off the Native American frybread that fueled the concept. Falafel, pork confit, and a take on the banh mi appear on frybread; options like a beef patty melt arrive on Grand Central bread. A daily "hot plate" will feature comfort foods like meatloaf with mashed potatoes; and a weekend-only late night menu highlights crispy chicken oysters and fried cheese curds. Bar manager Brandon Wise, meanwhile, will offer housemade sodas and boozy fountain classics (non-alcoholic favorites like egg creams will be available, too).
The Portland Penny Diner is now softly open, with an official opening scheduled for this Friday, November 30. Hours of operation: Monday to Thursday, 7a.m. to 7p.m.; Friday, 7a.m. to 1a.m.; Saturday, 7p.m.-1a.m.
· Portland Penny Diner [Official site]
· All Previous Portland Penny Coverage [Eater PDX]
· All Previous Vitaly Paley Coverage [Eater PDX]