As we finish out 2014, we're looking back at the year's most popular posts. It's a mash-up of exciting openings, sad shutters, must-eat and drink lists, and freebie alerts. In short, it's just like last year, but this time we have cats.
January 2014: Updating Portland's Essential 38 Restaurants
The Essential 38 is perennially the site's most popular post, an epic must-eat map residents and visitors turn to again and again. But it's never more popular than it is in January, when everyone's looking forward to a new year of eating. Last year, the update knocked Screen Door and Evoe off the list to make way for Sweedeedee and Bollywood Theater. And Portobello Vegan Trattoria got a hiatus while it underwent a revamp, leaving a spot for Expatriate in its place.
February 2014: What's open during Snowpocalypse?
On this balmy December day, we can barely remember the insane snowstorm that hammered the Northwest last year. Portland got 7.3 inches, the city shut down, and the streets turned into a ski resort. Eater kept a tally of the restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that were open, closed, somewhere in between, or offering snow day specials, proving quite popular with a town that had with cabin fever.
Portland may be dog city, but we love fluffy kitties, too. And we especially love the idea of snuggling them while drinking a latte and never having to worry about litterboxes or scratched up furniture. Early word of Purrington's Cat Lounge, set to open this winter, got everyone buzzing.
The city's food lovers have wisely learned to pay attention to anything the team behind Simpatica and Laurelhurst Market decides to do. Hence, the rabid attention paid to the launch of their barbecue joint in Sellwood. The promise of smoked meats with four regional barbecue sauces, finger-lickin fried chicken, a brisket-topped burger, and a heady assortment of sides got everyone drooling.
North Portland's turquoise, big-plate breakfast stop Beaterville Cafe, and its Lubritorium Bar next door, was a beloved throwback to an earlier Portland. But owner Bill Lockner, who opened the cafe in 1993, was ready to retire.
Our love of free stuff and willingness to wait in lines aligned in June, when restaurateurs Micah Camden and Katie Poppe (Little Big Burger, Boxer Ramen, Blue Star Donuts) celebrated the opening of their new fried chicken and biscuit shop on SE Division by giving away 1,000 fried chicken meals. Everybody did, indeed, panic.
Crass, ill-informed, questionable, rambling, pedantic, lame. Yelp reviews come in myriad forms. But a particularly sexist "joke" review for EastBurn prompted owner Mike Bender to cleverly take the reviewer to task and pledge a month of proceeds from his grilled cheese sandwich to the Portland Women's Crisis Line.
August 2014 Genie's Cafe Taking Over the Space Room Lounge
SE Hawthorne's Space Room bar was/is a mid-century institution, so there was much gnashing of teeth when Genie's Cafe owner Justin Johnson announced he was taking it over, as well as the adjacent Brite Spot Diner, and giving it a major remodeling.
September 2014 Produce Row to Shutter Tonight After 40-year run
Venerable 40-year-old ProRow was always busy, which made the news of its closure all the more shocking. But current owner Alan Davis shuttered the Eastside Industrial favorite indefinitely in order to focus on other things. There's still hope of a resurrection, Davis says, if he can find the right person to carry the torch.
October 2014 Portland's Best Cocktail Happy Hours, Mapped
This year we closed out Eater's Cocktail Week with perhaps the handiest map of all time: Where to get truly stellar happy hour deals. We Portlanders are proud penny-pinchers, and the map became a bookmarked favorite.
November 2014: Vote for Portland's Chef of the Year
The week before Thanksgiving was a time to look back and ask readers to vote for their chef and restaurant favorites from the past year. With current Top Chef contestant Gregory Gourdet in the running for Chef of the Year, more people than ever jumped in to rock the vote.
December 2014: Portland's Skyline Tavern is For Sale
Once again, one of the top posts of the year is news of a beloved institution possibly biting the dust. The Skyline Tavern is on a piece of prime real estate and it's also a turn-key hipster bar — two reasons to give its fans something to worry about.