clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hands On Cafe Warms Up the Kerns Kitchen Crew

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

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.


Sitting around the kitchen table talking food and philosophy is an essential part of everyday life for the owners of the just-opened Kerns Kitchen. Sisters Sara Starr Medici and Amy Starr Thomas — along with and their husbands Nick Medici and Rand Thomas — have shared more than just meals around their tables, be it family news, spirited opinions, or simply musings on their daily lives. This was the inspiration for SE's Kerns Kitchen — a shared desire to bring people together over delicious food to nurture and nourish. One of the Medicis' favorite places for a memorable meal also happens to be one of the most artistic spaces in Southwest Portland: The cafe inside the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

Nick and I love the rustic homemade soups and giant chunks of warm country bread at Hands on Café at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Eating on the handmade ceramic dishes in the beautiful natural setting revives body and soul! We love the chickpea, peanut and cabbage soup, always leaving room for one of the fabulous desserts, a favorite being the Citrus Zest Cake with Blueberry compote. The menu changes daily and features ethnic but regionally inspired dishes. The school was founded in 1907 as the Arts and Crafts Society to educate the public on the value of art and craft in daily life. The café echoes this vision with simply prepared essential food that is inspiring yet accessible. Originally serving as kitchen to the student body, the current mix of students, business people and lunching "ladies of a certain age" make for an eclectic atmosphere.

· Hands On Cafe [Oregon College of Art and Craft]
· All Previous Dining Confidentials [Eater PDX]

Photo of Hands On Cafe courtesy Yelp

Hands On Cafe

8245 SW Barnes Rd., Portland, OR