After months of repairs, Pearl District diner Fuller’s Coffee Shop has begun serving its Monte Cristos and double-decker chicken salad club sandwiches once again. The breakfast counter and luncheonette closed this winter following a fire that caused significant smoke and water damage. Originally, the diner hoped to reopen in the early summer, but June came and went without news. However, an Instagram post announced Fuller’s reopening today, November 8.
Fuller’s first opened in 1947, before moving to Northwest Portland in 1960. Its winding lunch counter has long hosted locals and attracted the attention of food personalities, celebrities, and chefs. Former Simpsons showrunner and fast food aficionado Bill Oakley is a devotee of the diner’s take on a club sandwich, layered with chicken salad as opposed to the traditional ham and turkey; meanwhile, Ox co-owner Greg Denton has praised the restaurant’s take on a burger, which inspired a spinoff restaurant, Fuller’s Burger Shack.
Mark Byrum — who also co-owns restaurants like Bartini, Brix Tavern, and Carlita’s as a part of his Urban Restaurant Group — first ate at Fuller’s in 2000, and asked then-owner John Fuller if he’d ever sell. In 2017, Fuller reached out to Byrum, and the restaurant group took over the space in 2018.
On February 19, a fire broke out after the restaurant closed, spreading to the exhaust hood that had just been professionally cleaned. Manager Rachel Pean told KGW that the sprinklers, triggered by the fire, damaged the space, in addition to the smoke. Byrum placed the staff at Fuller’s at other Urban Restaurant Group properties while the restaurant underwent repairs; soon afterward, Fuller’s Burger Shack announced plans to open a second location in Pioneer Square. A Veteran’s Day special hinted at a potential fall reopening for Fuller’s, which a spokesperson confirmed in a conversation with the Oregonian. While the Fuller’s team initially said the diner would reopen before October ended, the restaurant didn’t fully reopen until Wednesday, November 8.
Fuller’s Coffee Shop has retained much of the look and feel of the diner pre-fire, and the menu includes all the favorites from the original — including its burger and club sandwich on house-made bread.
Fuller’s is located at 139 NW 9th Avenue.