Oregon's 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 recurring feature we call Dining Confidential.
When you're a kid, you can be forgiven for having what amounts to bad taste. But when your mom runs four different restaurants, you'd better come correct and leave all childish things behind. (We're looking at you, chicken fingers.)
Luckily for 8-year-old Bishop Barnes, his palate is far more sophisticated than many other kids his age. But what would you expect when your mom runs a downtown diner (Dime Store), a pair of Italian joints (D.O.C. and Nonna) and an Asian fusion spot that makes one of this town's most adored burgers (Yakuza Lounge). And when Dayna McErlean takes Bishop out for a bite, it's often to All-Way, the Peter Bro-run restaurant that she stumbled into almost by accident a few weeks back.
"We were super excited," she says. "He loved his burger and was super loving his milkshake." And it didn't hurt that the staff warmly welcomes the kind of precocious kid who bellies up to the bar to chat up the staff. "They were really cool about it," McErlean says, and afterward, Bishop told her he wanted to come back the next time they found themselves in the area.
McErlean says that despite its downtown location, All-Way is a little off the beaten path (you have to walk into a foyer just to get the joint, and climb a set of stairs to have at your dinner or lunch), which is why she thinks it needs a little extra love. She adds that it's the kind of place you can duck into before or after a movie or some downtown summer concert when the rest of the area's restaurants are filling up during peak hours.
Meanwhile McErlean zeroes in on the kind of dish diner concepts don't usually offer: borscht. "It was a nice surprise for a summer evening," she says. "It was fresh and it wasn't overdone -- a perfect little meal in a small bowl."
If borscht isn't your thing, McErlean recommends any of All-Way's salads or the homemade veggie burger, which she likes to wash down with one of the bar's homemade sodas.
All-Way: 615 SW Broadway, (503) 299-6666