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A man in a Blazers cap and a windbreaker leans over a chain-link fence.
Mic Capes, the Portland rapper known for songs like “Jansport” and “Well Known.”
Sam Gehrke / Official

Rapper Mic Capes’s Guide to Dining in Portland

The “Well Known” rapper tells us his favorite spots for gumbo, pizza, and an after-show drink

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When Portland-raised rapper Mic Capes was growing up in St. Johns, he and his friends would trawl the neighborhood’s Mexican restaurants for burritos — King Burrito, Rose City Taqueria, and the long-beloved Tienda Santa Cruz. “I think food is a bigger deal now,” Capes says. “Growing up in St. Johns, we went to the Mexican restaurants up there, but we ate at home a lot of the time. My mom cooked a lot.”

Capes, known for his albums Concrete Dreams and Cold Blooded, Vol. 1 and singles like “Well Known” and “No More,” is surrounded by good cooks, who also happen to be the women in his life: His mom, Aunt Faye, and Aunt Lodie would make things like gumbo, etouffee, and 7-Up cake throughout his life. But when Capes has a craving for Cajun and Creole cooking now, he heads to the Southeast Portland cart Mumbo Gumbo for shrimp and grits. “I’m not a cook, ” he says, with a laugh. “I don’t have the patience, man.”

Instead, Capes has figured out his favorite spots to grab a bite between shows or recording sessions: Swift Lounge for an after-show drink, the Hawthorne Asylum pod for a mid-week lunch, and a snowball from Hana’s PDX when he needs to cool off.

Now that he’s gearing up to return to venues — he’s headed to the Fixin’ To in September, and just released a new single — Capes shared a few of his favorite spots to eat and drink in Portland, from St. Johns to Southeast:


Breakfast: Gravy, Mother’s, and Jam on Hawthorne
“I’m not a big breakfast guy (I prefer cereal, lol), but if I do grab some breakfast, it’s from Gravy, Mother’s, or Jam On Hawthorne. I’m always looking for French toast — I’m not really a meat person in the morning, so I look for like, French toast and scrambled eggs. I prefer Gravy’s French toast; they use challah bread.”

Celebration Dinner Spot: Punch Bowl Social, Margarita Factory, and Jake’s
“I like Punch Bowl Social a lot! I’m very competitive, and they have plenty of games. But it’s been a while. I like Margarita Factory in Beaverton, it’s got a great atmosphere. It feels like you really left Portland, it’s like you’re in California or Miami, with good music and drinks. But for my birthday, I like to get out of town. I’m going to San Francisco this year; I’ve never been there.
“I like Jake’s, too. My dad used to work there, and he’d bring food home and stuff like that. My dad, he passed away in January. He always did his own thing.”

Favorite Post-Show Bar: Swift Lounge, The Fixin’ To
“I like Swift a lot. You can’t beat the jar drinks! The Fixin’ To in St. Johns is a favorite as well; I’ve got a good relationship with the people there. It’s in the neighborhood that I grew up in. At Swift, they have a drink called the Chimney Swift, it’s my go-to there. But in general, I like Long Island (ice tea)s. I’m a sweeter drink type person, not really into straight liquor.”

Favorite Mid-Week Lunch: Food Cart Pods
“For a mid-week lunch, I would hit a cart pod. I love Hawthorn Asylum, Park The Carts, St. John’s Food & Beer Porch, Cartside Food Carts, and anywhere there are gyros. I also love the shrimp and grits from Mumbo Gumbo.”

Best Spots in North Portland: Rose City Taqueria, Tienda Santa Cruz, King Burrito
“Santa Cruz is dope because they have a store in the front, and what you walk to the back, it’s a restaurant. I definitely eat a lot of Mexican food up there, in general.”

Favorite Pizzas: Pizza Schmizza, Hot Lips, PizzaSlut
“I really like pizza, but I’m not into fancy pizza — as long as shit tastes good.”

Most Underrated Spot in Portland: Hana’s PDX
“Maybe like six years ago, I went for the first time, and I really liked their snowballs. I don’t get it often, because I live in Southeast now; it’s harder to get there.”

Single favorite dish in Portland: Wings at Alberta Street Market or the Seafood Mac from Everybody Eats PDX
“I’ve known the owners (of Everybody Eats) for a long time, Johnny and Marcelle, from the neighborhood, but I started ordering from them as soon as I could. I went to a few parties when they were catering, and I went, ‘Yeah, this shit is good.’”

Mic Capes’ latest single, “W.W.J.D.,” is out now on Bandcamp and Spotify; follow Capes on Twitter for upcoming show information. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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