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Behold Portland's 12 Iconic Greasy Spoon Breakfasts

From diners to hole-in-the-wall cafes, here's where to find the bacon

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Portland loves its breakfast and brunch, and some of the best chefs in town are now after our business: Especially on the weekends, when the whole town is covered with exotic and fancy dishes from various cuisines made with farm-fresh ingredients.

And that's all fine. But sometimes you just want some breakfast, right? You want to sit down to a pile of hashbrowns and eggs and meat, and you don't really care where it came from. So here's your guide, newly updated, to 12 must-eat greasy-spoon breakfasts in Portland. (The points on this map guide are not ranked but organized geographically).

—Brought to you Portland's resident breakfast expert, Paul Gerald, with an assist by Chad Walsh

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cameo Cafe

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8111 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 284-0401
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You might remember the old Cameo Café in Northwest? Its sister restaurant lives on, at NE Sandy and 82nd, in what may be one of the stranger breakfast places around. It's got ceramic chef statues, signed PR shots from beauty pageant winners, and STRONG BREAD (written just like that). Also look for Korean twists like a Pindaettok, a pancake with vegetables, beans, spices, and ground rice, added to a "flavored" batter. [Photo]

2. Fat City Cafe

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7820 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland, OR 97219
(503) 245-5457
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Best known for being where a mayor once fired a police chief, Fat City is also the heart of the little "town" of Multnomah Village — and by heart, I mean the one filled with old-timers and the one plugged with cholesterol. But you can't expect healthy eating in a place famous for huge cinnamon rolls and a dish called the Fat City Sizzle, a shovel-sized pile of hashbrowns, ham, green peppers, onions, and cheddar with two eggs. [Photo]

3. Fuller's Coffee Shop

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136 NW 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 222-5608
Fuller's isn't old-fashioned; it's just old. It's been around since 1941, and when you slide under the W-shaped counter your knees will tell you that folks were shorter then. The food is so basic you really could cook it at home, but the ambience and shared conversation around the counter makes you glad something so old has survived in this part of town. [Photo]

4. Gateway Breakfast House

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11411 NE Halsey St
Portland, OR 97220
Probably off the radar for most Portlanders until President Obama dropped in for a 2012 campaign lunch, the Gateway has been known for some time as having probably the biggest portions in town: It's like they're trying to kill you with food. Obama's people probably chose it because it's working class and a genuine ethnic melting pot. [Photo]

5. Original Hotcake And Steak House

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1002 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 236-7402
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Some of the best free entertainment in town is going to this 24-hour place by the Ross Island Bridge right after the bars have closed. (It used to have a security guard on weekend nights.) It's much more casual by day, with some very fluffy pancakes, an amazing array of meat selections (cube steak, anyone?), and specials on Post-It notes. [Photo]

6. Paradox Cafe

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3439 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 232-7508
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Is there such a thing as a tempeh-spoon diner? The Paradox is (mostly) vegetarian and organic, and that's supposed to be healthy, but the vibe here is totally hipster diner. Even if you're a meat-eater, you'll still love the almond gravy, tree hugger hollandaise, and corn cakes. Plus, they remodeled not too long ago, doing away with those spring-in-your-ass booth seats. [Photo]

7. Pattie's Homeplate Cafe

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8501 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 289-7285
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Every time you walk into this market/gift shop/diner, old dudes at the counter have lifted their heads to look you over. St. Johns used to be its own little town, and in Pattie's you might think it still is. A trip here is going back in time, to when the café was the town gossip center, you knew (and watched) the chef, and the butter came in little plastic tubs. [Photo]

8. The Decoy

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10710 NW Saint Helens Rd
Portland, OR 97231
(503) 286-2655
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Unless you live in Linnton—or you’re on the road to Astoria—this not-so-little restaurant and bar is way, way out of the way. But with its duck hunting motif, friendly service, and friendlier regulars, it sure is a charmer. It’s the kind of spot that would exist in Twin Peaks if Twin Peaks was real. And where else in town can you score American breakfast classics alongside a hefty menu of Chinese classics? Nowhere, that’s where, excepting The Decoy, of course.  

[Photo: TripAdvisor/RoccoStBruno]

9. Nite Hawk Cafe & Lounge

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6423 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 285-7177
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At 85 years, the Nite Hawk is one of Portland’s most enduring restaurants. And it has amenities in spades. (It has its own parking lot, and there’s a Max stop that’s practically at its front door.) But most of its charm comes from its spotless dining room and its efficient kitchen which turns out chicken fried chicken, chicken fried steak, pork chops, meatloaf sandwiches, nachos, cheeseburgers and a whole mess of breakfast staples that are served all day long.  

[Photo: Yelp/Duane P.]

10. John's Coffee Shop

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301 NW Broadway
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 227-4611
The first thing you notice when you step inside John’s is the silence. There’s no music to greet you and many of the diners are eating solo, lost in their books or their fried eggs. But the couple that runs it is sweet, cool, and industrious. He does the cooking, she pours coffee and demands that you finish the bacon you’ve left on your plate. It’s cash-only, but don’t worry because you’re not going to spend a lot of it because the prices are so reasonable that they seem almost unreasonable. But blink and you’ll miss it: John’s closes at noon, and, frankly, if it’s empty at 11:30, the couple will probably just lock up and go home. But after more than 40 years of running the place, they’ve eared it.  

[Photo: Yelp/Robert G.]

11. Diane's Restaurant

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5052 SE Foster Rd
Portland, OR 97206
(503) 777-7099
Diane’s is a no-nonsense place. There’s no music. There are little signs above each 4-top that read, in capital letters, “NO BOOTH SERVICE BETWEEN 11:30 & 1:00 TO ONE PERSON ON JUST COFFEE.” (Pro-tip: Don’t ever, ever be the person who walks into a restaurant full of open 2-tops and take up a 4-top all to yourself. Servers hate that.) It’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of greasy spoon that does eggs, toast, bacon, and hash browns at impossibly low prices. And when your hand-written check comes to your table, remember to tip well.  

[Photo: Yelp/Jim M.]

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1. Cameo Cafe

8111 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97213
You might remember the old Cameo Café in Northwest? Its sister restaurant lives on, at NE Sandy and 82nd, in what may be one of the stranger breakfast places around. It's got ceramic chef statues, signed PR shots from beauty pageant winners, and STRONG BREAD (written just like that). Also look for Korean twists like a Pindaettok, a pancake with vegetables, beans, spices, and ground rice, added to a "flavored" batter. [Photo]
8111 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97213

2. Fat City Cafe

7820 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219
Best known for being where a mayor once fired a police chief, Fat City is also the heart of the little "town" of Multnomah Village — and by heart, I mean the one filled with old-timers and the one plugged with cholesterol. But you can't expect healthy eating in a place famous for huge cinnamon rolls and a dish called the Fat City Sizzle, a shovel-sized pile of hashbrowns, ham, green peppers, onions, and cheddar with two eggs. [Photo]
7820 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland, OR 97219

3. Fuller's Coffee Shop

136 NW 9th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Fuller's isn't old-fashioned; it's just old. It's been around since 1941, and when you slide under the W-shaped counter your knees will tell you that folks were shorter then. The food is so basic you really could cook it at home, but the ambience and shared conversation around the counter makes you glad something so old has survived in this part of town. [Photo]
136 NW 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97209

4. Gateway Breakfast House

11411 NE Halsey St, Portland, OR 97220
Probably off the radar for most Portlanders until President Obama dropped in for a 2012 campaign lunch, the Gateway has been known for some time as having probably the biggest portions in town: It's like they're trying to kill you with food. Obama's people probably chose it because it's working class and a genuine ethnic melting pot. [Photo]
11411 NE Halsey St
Portland, OR 97220

5. Original Hotcake And Steak House

1002 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97202
Some of the best free entertainment in town is going to this 24-hour place by the Ross Island Bridge right after the bars have closed. (It used to have a security guard on weekend nights.) It's much more casual by day, with some very fluffy pancakes, an amazing array of meat selections (cube steak, anyone?), and specials on Post-It notes. [Photo]
1002 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97202

6. Paradox Cafe

3439 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214
Is there such a thing as a tempeh-spoon diner? The Paradox is (mostly) vegetarian and organic, and that's supposed to be healthy, but the vibe here is totally hipster diner. Even if you're a meat-eater, you'll still love the almond gravy, tree hugger hollandaise, and corn cakes. Plus, they remodeled not too long ago, doing away with those spring-in-your-ass booth seats. [Photo]
3439 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214

7. Pattie's Homeplate Cafe

8501 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203
Every time you walk into this market/gift shop/diner, old dudes at the counter have lifted their heads to look you over. St. Johns used to be its own little town, and in Pattie's you might think it still is. A trip here is going back in time, to when the café was the town gossip center, you knew (and watched) the chef, and the butter came in little plastic tubs. [Photo]
8501 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

8. The Decoy

10710 NW Saint Helens Rd, Portland, OR 97231
Unless you live in Linnton—or you’re on the road to Astoria—this not-so-little restaurant and bar is way, way out of the way. But with its duck hunting motif, friendly service, and friendlier regulars, it sure is a charmer. It’s the kind of spot that would exist in Twin Peaks if Twin Peaks was real. And where else in town can you score American breakfast classics alongside a hefty menu of Chinese classics? Nowhere, that’s where, excepting The Decoy, of course.  

[Photo: TripAdvisor/RoccoStBruno]

10710 NW Saint Helens Rd
Portland, OR 97231

9. Nite Hawk Cafe & Lounge

6423 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97217
At 85 years, the Nite Hawk is one of Portland’s most enduring restaurants. And it has amenities in spades. (It has its own parking lot, and there’s a Max stop that’s practically at its front door.) But most of its charm comes from its spotless dining room and its efficient kitchen which turns out chicken fried chicken, chicken fried steak, pork chops, meatloaf sandwiches, nachos, cheeseburgers and a whole mess of breakfast staples that are served all day long.  

[Photo: Yelp/Duane P.]

6423 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217

10. John's Coffee Shop

301 NW Broadway, Portland, OR 97209
The first thing you notice when you step inside John’s is the silence. There’s no music to greet you and many of the diners are eating solo, lost in their books or their fried eggs. But the couple that runs it is sweet, cool, and industrious. He does the cooking, she pours coffee and demands that you finish the bacon you’ve left on your plate. It’s cash-only, but don’t worry because you’re not going to spend a lot of it because the prices are so reasonable that they seem almost unreasonable. But blink and you’ll miss it: John’s closes at noon, and, frankly, if it’s empty at 11:30, the couple will probably just lock up and go home. But after more than 40 years of running the place, they’ve eared it.  

[Photo: Yelp/Robert G.]

301 NW Broadway
Portland, OR 97209

11. Diane's Restaurant

5052 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206
Diane’s is a no-nonsense place. There’s no music. There are little signs above each 4-top that read, in capital letters, “NO BOOTH SERVICE BETWEEN 11:30 & 1:00 TO ONE PERSON ON JUST COFFEE.” (Pro-tip: Don’t ever, ever be the person who walks into a restaurant full of open 2-tops and take up a 4-top all to yourself. Servers hate that.) It’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of greasy spoon that does eggs, toast, bacon, and hash browns at impossibly low prices. And when your hand-written check comes to your table, remember to tip well.  

[Photo: Yelp/Jim M.]

5052 SE Foster Rd
Portland, OR 97206

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