Oregon is home to a lot of restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders 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 recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Photo of Renner's courtesy islandwomanculebra via blogspot
A graduate of California Culinary Institute, pastry chef Lauren Fortgang has worked at celebrated restaurants around the country, including NYC's Craft and Hearth. Fortgang moved to Portland in 2007, working as pastry chef of Paley's Place, then at chef Gabriel Rucker's hot spot, Le Pigeon. When Rucker and his business partner Andrew Fortgang opened Little Bird Bistro in 2010, Lauren developed and led the award-winning restaurant's pastry program for two years until taking maternity leave. Fortgang has since returned and is currently at the helm of the Little Bird pastry kitchen, where she creates seasonally inspired updates of classic French desserts. But when she and Andrew get some "babysitter time," they get comfortable at Multnomah Village's longtime neighborhood bar, Renner's.
We live in Hillsdale which most people would consider the burbs. Our favorite place to go in the hood is Renner's Grill in Multnomah Village. It's been around since the '40s and it still has that vibe inside. From the leather booths to the coffee counter swivel seats, it just feels so good to be in there. The music is always great and I love the fact that no matter how packed it is you can always find a seat. My go to order there is a grilled cheese and tater tots and they're good about keeping the bourbon and sodas flowing. They have delicious greasy food but for a dive bar, they have a surprisingly interesting list of daily specials. Andy and I usually end up there at the end of a night out if our babysitter time hasn't expired. With another baby on the way, I'm not going for the bourbon and sodas anymore but the grilled cheese tastes just as good and the cranberry juice and sodas aren't half-bad, either.