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A picture of a country ham pizza with cherry tomatoes and aleppo pepper at Gracie’s Apizza in St. Johns
A pizza special at Gracie’s Apizza, the St. Johns pizzeria that shares a patio with two other spots on this map.
Gracie’s Apizza/Official

17 Vital Restaurants and Food Carts in St. Johns

From fried chicken to sourdough pizzas, where to eat in Portland’s most secluded neighborhood

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A pizza special at Gracie’s Apizza, the St. Johns pizzeria that shares a patio with two other spots on this map.
| Gracie’s Apizza/Official

St. Johns is a haven within Portland city limits: From Cathedral Park to its charming downtown, the North Portland neighborhood feels more like a quaint small town than an urban neighborhood. Its diversity of dining options — from Italian trattorias to Mexican markets, ramen shops to Jamaican restaurants, vegan comfort food spots to cocktail lounges — means that residents won’t have to leave the neighborhood to find something exceptional to eat or drink. In recent years the neighborhood has grown further, adding a wonderful food cart pod, deli, and one of the city’s best pizza shops. Here are a dozen spots to explore in St. Johns, as well as the best way to enjoy their offerings during the pandemic.

As usual, this map is organized geographically, not ranked.

A number of Portland restaurants have resumed onsite service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID update page. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mikasa Sushi & Ramen

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8777 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 719-7947
Visit Website

A relatively new addition to St. Johns, Mikasa has been quietly killing it for two years now with its steaming bowls of ramen filled with delicate but chewy noodles and light, bright broths. The rich and creamy chicken shoyu is a top choice here, omitting the more familiar slices of pork for shredded chicken, in addition to a jammy egg. There’s not a lot of nearby competition for the sushi, but even on its own it’s worth a visit. Orders can be placed online for outdoor dining or takeout; takeout ramen is disassembled for at-home preparation, which means it travels well even if you’re driving for a while. 

2. The Garrison

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8773 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

A sibling bar to Concordia’s neighborhood cocktail bar Wilder, the Garrison has similar appeal: a rustic, homey, and casual affair serving high-quality cocktails. The menu is divided between familiar classics — each made with aplomb — and more original drinks. The house drinks are generally spirit-driven and often incorporate more obscure vermouths and amari. While there are options for people who appreciate lighter, refreshing libations, it’s definitely a destination for those who like their drinks with a boozy and botanical kick. Drinks can be ordered at the bar for takeout or for enjoying out on the covered patio shared with Gracie’s and Mikasa.

3. Gracie’s Apizza

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8737 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(971) 512-0007
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The chef and owner of Gracie’s Apizza, Craig Melillo is a one-man pizza-making wonder. Formerly a food cart, the permanent St. Johns location opened in late 2019, just prior to the pandemic. It quickly established itself as one of Portland’s premiere pizzerias thanks to Melillo’s delicate, tangy, naturally leavened crust and minimalist toppings. Melillo claims his simplest pizza — with tomato sauce, herbs, and a dusting of pecorino — as his best. Cheesier pizzas with dollops of mozzarella and ricotta are also available, as are meatier calzones and custom vegan options. Working on his own with a wood-fired oven, Melillo regularly sells out daily, with pies available for takeout or for dining on the covered patio shared with cocktail bar the Garrison. Orders can be placed online.

4. Homegrown Smoker

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8638 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 477-7274
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A consummate location for vegan dining, Homegrown Smoker’s cheerful and spacious restaurant with hanging plants and quaint decor is currently closed for onsite dining. Still, customers can order its menu of vegan barbecue comfort food for takeout, including standbys like the trademark Macnocheeto burrito and pulled pork-style Slosmomofo sandwich, both made with smoked soy curls glazed in barbecue sauce. Vegan burgers, cheesesteaks, and faux barbecue plates are also available, and customers can order by calling in.

5. Tienda Santa Cruz

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8630 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 286-7302
Visit Website

Hidden behind a small mercado in downtown St. Johns, Tienda Santa Cruz is a cult favorite for rich and porky carnitas tacos, burritos the size of a small child harboring a full half-avocado, and some bright-red caldos. But the true star of this hole-in-the-wall is the avocado salsa, so popular that the restaurant has set limits on how much anyone can take. These days, the dining room is closed, but anyone can stop in and order some burritos to take to Cathedral Park, just down the street.

6. Chop St. Johns

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8537 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97210
(971) 888-4058
Visit Website

Another transplant to the area, Chop is a casual, counter-service deli offering breakfast, wine, sides, coffee, and most importantly, sandwiches. The breakfast sandwiches are always a solid choice, but lunch is when the restaurant truly shines with hearty offerings like the Italian Stallion, piled with cold cuts and salami, cheeses, peppers, and lettuce. The slightly spicy Dirty Bird is another standout, with turkey, provolone, spicy salami, and Mama Lil’s peppers. Hot sandwiches include fried chicken, French dips, and Cubanos, and for simpler fare there’s also grilled cheese and the classic peanut butter and jelly. Orders should be called in ahead of time, with potentially long waits around lunch time, especially on the weekend.   

7. Paiku

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7425 N Leavitt Ave
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 860-4773
Visit Website

Adored for its sweet and savory pies, Paiku owners Marica and Justin Thompson went from pie cart to brick-and-mortar in April 2018. Luckily for the St. Johns community, the cozy wood-toned restaurant has stayed in the neighborhood, though things look a little different these days. Paiku now offers its full pies, both savory and sweet, as well as Friday picnics and weekend brunches for two. Meals change weekly and pies seasonally, and orders for pick-up can be placed via the website.

8. Jamaica House

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8307 N Ivanhoe St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 462-9710

Jamaican restaurants are not exactly abundant in Portland, but this cozy, casual house-turned-restaurant is all the fun of a beachside barbecue. Inside, hand-painted murals line the walls; outside, listen for the sizzle of the restaurant’s knockout jerk chicken, a true crime to miss. Only vegans can get away with swapping for the jerk tofu — and with a pile of plantains, everyone is happy. Takeout is available by calling.

9. The Sparrow Bakery PDX

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8195 N Lombard St UNIT 101
Portland, OR 97203
(971) 386-2985
Visit Website

The Portland outpost of this Bend bakery delivers all the laminated pastry excellence of its Central Oregon sibling: Croissants sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning, braids of cinnamon knots, pinwheels of cardamom vanilla sugar the shop calls “ocean rolls.” The bakery also serves an array of bagels, sandwiches, and cookies, with espresso drinks for early risers. Drop in for takeout orders, which can be grazed in the nearby courtyard.

10. Banh Mi Up

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8037 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 719-4288
Visit Website

This Vietnamese spot is one of the neighborhood’s only spots for hulking banh mi, vermicelli noodle bowls overflowing with grilled prawns and pork belly, and a shimmering, oversized, golden-fried bao. The shop’s garlic noodles are an underrated star on the menu, as is the “beef stew pho,” which falls somewhere between bo kho and beef pho. The restaurant is open for takeout, online orders, and outdoor seating on a covered patio.

11. Leisure Public House

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8002 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 289-7606
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Leisure Public House captures that familiar Portland spirit of being a friendly, neighborhood haunt that also happens to serve quality drinks at an affordable price. Offering a cheerful, enclosed back patio space with heat lamps and plants as well as newer sidewalk dining arrangements, Leisure provides a safe and hospitable bar experience for the St. Johns crowd. Alongside a menu of familiar cocktails like mezcal negronis, hot toddies, and old fashioneds, the bar serves a relatively healthy and appetizing menu of panini, soups, and salads, as well as build-your-own bruschetta options. Cocktails and food are available for outdoor dining and for takeout, and can be ordered at the bar.

12. Gabagool

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7955 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 894-9096
Visit Website

Gabagool is one of those choice neighborhood Italian restaurants where there’s always someone slicing meat in the back for sandwiches, string lights hang from the ceiling, and bowls of pasta still cost less than $20. Those pastas happen to be some of the city’s best, tender with a touch of bite. The pappardelle is a top-seller with good reason: just a touch of kick, with hunks of fennel sausage and robust tomato sauce. Gabagool currently offers some lovely outdoor dining on a covered wooden patio, as well as serves its pastas to-go. Orders can be called in or placed online.

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13. Cathedral Coffee

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7530 N Willamette Blvd
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 935-4312
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A cozy coffee shop catering to locals and University of Portland students, Cathedral Coffee is an essential part of the St. Johns community. The large, cozily industrial space is currently closed for indoor dining, but offers its coffee drinks (sourced from Alberta Street staple Proud Mary) and massive pastries for takeout. Alongside planet-sized cinnamon buns and baked apple fritters, the cafe offers savory and sweet breakfast turnovers as well as quiche. A few vegan and gluten-free options round out the pastries. Diners can order at the counter for takeout. 

14. Arlo's Fish & Chips

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7316 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(971) 813-9711
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There are a number of excellent options at food cart pod St. Johns Food and Beer Porch, from Thai to Italian to Mexican. One standout cart is Arlo’s, which offers one main item: beautifully golden-fried cod, served with a bed of fries in portions of two to four pieces. Each piece tends towards to huge side, so a single diner can be satisfied with the two-piece or opt to share a larger platter with a friend. The fish is tender and flaky within and golden, buttery and crisp on the exterior. The fries are a little too soft to justify a visit on their own, but are a serviceable side to the excellent fish; ordering a side of coleslaw is never a bad call. Orders can be placed at the cart. 

15. DeHomis

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7136 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 572-0425
Visit Website

Also located in the St. Johns Food and Beer Porch, this colorful food cart is all about the karaage, crispy little nuggets of seasoned fried chicken that are impossibly juicy at the center. The move is to get the chicken bowl, a $9 wonder of rice, chicken, and a tangy and sweet pickled vegetable salad. Like the other carts, the fare here can be enjoyed at the lot or taken home.

16. Rose City Taqueria

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7007 N Fessenden St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 247-3333
Visit Website

Some East St. Johns residents scoff at all the Tienda Santa Cruz hype in favor of this Fessenden taqueria, with its tome of a menu. The colorful restaurant serves everything from torta milanesa to Mexican shrimp cocktail to birria de chivo, as well as an impressive slate of burritos, tacos, and burgers. The move is generally to head in a beefy direction, whether it’s a lengua taco, a cabeza burrito, or a plain-old shredded beef enchilada. The shop takes online orders and has tables outside for onsite diners.

17. El Coyote

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6965 N Fessenden St
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 839-7093
Visit Website

Chefs across Portland love to whisper about this under-the-radar cart and its next-level carnitas. El Coyote, a nondescript cart just steps away from Rose City Taqueria, serves a shockingly large variety of tacos and burritos for its size, with fillings ranging from shrimp to buche to ham and pineapple. But here, it’s all about those salty, crispy carnitas, folded into a taco for less than $2. It’s open for walk-ups.

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1. Mikasa Sushi & Ramen

8777 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

A relatively new addition to St. Johns, Mikasa has been quietly killing it for two years now with its steaming bowls of ramen filled with delicate but chewy noodles and light, bright broths. The rich and creamy chicken shoyu is a top choice here, omitting the more familiar slices of pork for shredded chicken, in addition to a jammy egg. There’s not a lot of nearby competition for the sushi, but even on its own it’s worth a visit. Orders can be placed online for outdoor dining or takeout; takeout ramen is disassembled for at-home preparation, which means it travels well even if you’re driving for a while. 

8777 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

2. The Garrison

8773 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

A sibling bar to Concordia’s neighborhood cocktail bar Wilder, the Garrison has similar appeal: a rustic, homey, and casual affair serving high-quality cocktails. The menu is divided between familiar classics — each made with aplomb — and more original drinks. The house drinks are generally spirit-driven and often incorporate more obscure vermouths and amari. While there are options for people who appreciate lighter, refreshing libations, it’s definitely a destination for those who like their drinks with a boozy and botanical kick. Drinks can be ordered at the bar for takeout or for enjoying out on the covered patio shared with Gracie’s and Mikasa.

8773 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

3. Gracie’s Apizza

8737 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

The chef and owner of Gracie’s Apizza, Craig Melillo is a one-man pizza-making wonder. Formerly a food cart, the permanent St. Johns location opened in late 2019, just prior to the pandemic. It quickly established itself as one of Portland’s premiere pizzerias thanks to Melillo’s delicate, tangy, naturally leavened crust and minimalist toppings. Melillo claims his simplest pizza — with tomato sauce, herbs, and a dusting of pecorino — as his best. Cheesier pizzas with dollops of mozzarella and ricotta are also available, as are meatier calzones and custom vegan options. Working on his own with a wood-fired oven, Melillo regularly sells out daily, with pies available for takeout or for dining on the covered patio shared with cocktail bar the Garrison. Orders can be placed online.

8737 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

4. Homegrown Smoker

8638 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

A consummate location for vegan dining, Homegrown Smoker’s cheerful and spacious restaurant with hanging plants and quaint decor is currently closed for onsite dining. Still, customers can order its menu of vegan barbecue comfort food for takeout, including standbys like the trademark Macnocheeto burrito and pulled pork-style Slosmomofo sandwich, both made with smoked soy curls glazed in barbecue sauce. Vegan burgers, cheesesteaks, and faux barbecue plates are also available, and customers can order by calling in.

8638 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

5. Tienda Santa Cruz

8630 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

Hidden behind a small mercado in downtown St. Johns, Tienda Santa Cruz is a cult favorite for rich and porky carnitas tacos, burritos the size of a small child harboring a full half-avocado, and some bright-red caldos. But the true star of this hole-in-the-wall is the avocado salsa, so popular that the restaurant has set limits on how much anyone can take. These days, the dining room is closed, but anyone can stop in and order some burritos to take to Cathedral Park, just down the street.

8630 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

6. Chop St. Johns

8537 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97210

Another transplant to the area, Chop is a casual, counter-service deli offering breakfast, wine, sides, coffee, and most importantly, sandwiches. The breakfast sandwiches are always a solid choice, but lunch is when the restaurant truly shines with hearty offerings like the Italian Stallion, piled with cold cuts and salami, cheeses, peppers, and lettuce. The slightly spicy Dirty Bird is another standout, with turkey, provolone, spicy salami, and Mama Lil’s peppers. Hot sandwiches include fried chicken, French dips, and Cubanos, and for simpler fare there’s also grilled cheese and the classic peanut butter and jelly. Orders should be called in ahead of time, with potentially long waits around lunch time, especially on the weekend.   

8537 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97210

7. Paiku

7425 N Leavitt Ave, Portland, OR 97203

Adored for its sweet and savory pies, Paiku owners Marica and Justin Thompson went from pie cart to brick-and-mortar in April 2018. Luckily for the St. Johns community, the cozy wood-toned restaurant has stayed in the neighborhood, though things look a little different these days. Paiku now offers its full pies, both savory and sweet, as well as Friday picnics and weekend brunches for two. Meals change weekly and pies seasonally, and orders for pick-up can be placed via the website.

7425 N Leavitt Ave
Portland, OR 97203

8. Jamaica House

8307 N Ivanhoe St, Portland, OR 97203

Jamaican restaurants are not exactly abundant in Portland, but this cozy, casual house-turned-restaurant is all the fun of a beachside barbecue. Inside, hand-painted murals line the walls; outside, listen for the sizzle of the restaurant’s knockout jerk chicken, a true crime to miss. Only vegans can get away with swapping for the jerk tofu — and with a pile of plantains, everyone is happy. Takeout is available by calling.

8307 N Ivanhoe St
Portland, OR 97203

9. The Sparrow Bakery PDX

8195 N Lombard St UNIT 101, Portland, OR 97203

The Portland outpost of this Bend bakery delivers all the laminated pastry excellence of its Central Oregon sibling: Croissants sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning, braids of cinnamon knots, pinwheels of cardamom vanilla sugar the shop calls “ocean rolls.” The bakery also serves an array of bagels, sandwiches, and cookies, with espresso drinks for early risers. Drop in for takeout orders, which can be grazed in the nearby courtyard.

8195 N Lombard St UNIT 101
Portland, OR 97203

10. Banh Mi Up

8037 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

This Vietnamese spot is one of the neighborhood’s only spots for hulking banh mi, vermicelli noodle bowls overflowing with grilled prawns and pork belly, and a shimmering, oversized, golden-fried bao. The shop’s garlic noodles are an underrated star on the menu, as is the “beef stew pho,” which falls somewhere between bo kho and beef pho. The restaurant is open for takeout, online orders, and outdoor seating on a covered patio.

8037 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

11. Leisure Public House

8002 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

Leisure Public House captures that familiar Portland spirit of being a friendly, neighborhood haunt that also happens to serve quality drinks at an affordable price. Offering a cheerful, enclosed back patio space with heat lamps and plants as well as newer sidewalk dining arrangements, Leisure provides a safe and hospitable bar experience for the St. Johns crowd. Alongside a menu of familiar cocktails like mezcal negronis, hot toddies, and old fashioneds, the bar serves a relatively healthy and appetizing menu of panini, soups, and salads, as well as build-your-own bruschetta options. Cocktails and food are available for outdoor dining and for takeout, and can be ordered at the bar.

8002 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

12. Gabagool

7955 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

Gabagool is one of those choice neighborhood Italian restaurants where there’s always someone slicing meat in the back for sandwiches, string lights hang from the ceiling, and bowls of pasta still cost less than $20. Those pastas happen to be some of the city’s best, tender with a touch of bite. The pappardelle is a top-seller with good reason: just a touch of kick, with hunks of fennel sausage and robust tomato sauce. Gabagool currently offers some lovely outdoor dining on a covered wooden patio, as well as serves its pastas to-go. Orders can be called in or placed online.

7955 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

13. Cathedral Coffee

7530 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, OR 97203

A cozy coffee shop catering to locals and University of Portland students, Cathedral Coffee is an essential part of the St. Johns community. The large, cozily industrial space is currently closed for indoor dining, but offers its coffee drinks (sourced from Alberta Street staple Proud Mary) and massive pastries for takeout. Alongside planet-sized cinnamon buns and baked apple fritters, the cafe offers savory and sweet breakfast turnovers as well as quiche. A few vegan and gluten-free options round out the pastries. Diners can order at the counter for takeout. 

7530 N Willamette Blvd
Portland, OR 97203

14. Arlo's Fish & Chips

7316 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

There are a number of excellent options at food cart pod St. Johns Food and Beer Porch, from Thai to Italian to Mexican. One standout cart is Arlo’s, which offers one main item: beautifully golden-fried cod, served with a bed of fries in portions of two to four pieces. Each piece tends towards to huge side, so a single diner can be satisfied with the two-piece or opt to share a larger platter with a friend. The fish is tender and flaky within and golden, buttery and crisp on the exterior. The fries are a little too soft to justify a visit on their own, but are a serviceable side to the excellent fish; ordering a side of coleslaw is never a bad call. Orders can be placed at the cart. 

7316 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

15. DeHomis

7136 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

Also located in the St. Johns Food and Beer Porch, this colorful food cart is all about the karaage, crispy little nuggets of seasoned fried chicken that are impossibly juicy at the center. The move is to get the chicken bowl, a $9 wonder of rice, chicken, and a tangy and sweet pickled vegetable salad. Like the other carts, the fare here can be enjoyed at the lot or taken home.

7136 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

Related Maps

16. Rose City Taqueria

7007 N Fessenden St, Portland, OR 97203

Some East St. Johns residents scoff at all the Tienda Santa Cruz hype in favor of this Fessenden taqueria, with its tome of a menu. The colorful restaurant serves everything from torta milanesa to Mexican shrimp cocktail to birria de chivo, as well as an impressive slate of burritos, tacos, and burgers. The move is generally to head in a beefy direction, whether it’s a lengua taco, a cabeza burrito, or a plain-old shredded beef enchilada. The shop takes online orders and has tables outside for onsite diners.

7007 N Fessenden St
Portland, OR 97203

17. El Coyote

6965 N Fessenden St, Portland, OR 97203

Chefs across Portland love to whisper about this under-the-radar cart and its next-level carnitas. El Coyote, a nondescript cart just steps away from Rose City Taqueria, serves a shockingly large variety of tacos and burritos for its size, with fillings ranging from shrimp to buche to ham and pineapple. But here, it’s all about those salty, crispy carnitas, folded into a taco for less than $2. It’s open for walk-ups.

6965 N Fessenden St
Portland, OR 97203

Related Maps