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Smokehouse Tavern
Smokehouse Tavern
Dina Avila

Where to Take Your Parents Out to Eat, Mapped

If you're tired of playing it safe when choosing the right restaurant, here's your solution

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Smokehouse Tavern
| Dina Avila

At Eater, we've often heard the following complaint verbatim: My parents only like to eat at places like Olive Garden. So for all of you wondering where to take your parents when they're visiting from out of town, here's the answer: A selection of restaurants that strike a balance between adventurous and reliable. You won't find yakitori, fried pig brains, or stripper-inspired cocktails, but you won't find endless free breadsticks that taste like styrofoam, either.

Know of another reliable spot for entertaining the 'rents? Share it in the comments! (The points on this map guide are not ranked but organized geographically).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cassidy's Restaurant

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1331 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 223-0054
Visit Website
Looking for a bite after a show at the Schnitz? Bring your in-laws here for a cocktail and some risotto, mac and cheese, or a really fine cheeseburger that’s simple but spot-on, especially if you’re already a couple of drinks deep.  

[Photo: Yelp/Sherri S.]

2. Grassa

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1205 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 241-1133
Visit Website
Its more industrial digs may give your in-laws pause as they try to compare it to the comfy booths of the Olive Garden, but Grassa, with its antipasti, fritto misto, and its roster of 10 handmade pasta, will soften their stance. Plus, tell them that Jerry Seinfeld popped in for some noodles during his last trip to Portland, and if it’s good enough for Jerry, it’s good enough for them, right?  

[Photo: Grassa]

3. Mother's Bistro & Bar

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212 SW Stark St
Portland, OR 97204
(503) 464-1122
Visit Website
With its long list of small town home-cooked dinnertime favorites—meatloaf, pot roast, fried chicken—there’s something for pretty much everyone at Mother’s, from the finicky young (macaroni and cheese) to the folks getting on in years (chopped liver). If you’re looking for a sure-shot pleaser, this is it.  

[Photo: Facebook/Mother’s Bistro and Bar/p>

4. Pause

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5101 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217
(971) 230-0705
When your wife or husband’s mom or dad wants a cheeseburger, take them to Pause. The burgers are stripped down—just lettuce, onion, aioli, and cheese—but they’re on-point. Just make sure you know when to take them, as the place is very family-friendly and can get a bit hairy around dinnertime, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.  

[Photo: Yelp/Daniel H.]

5. RingSide

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2165 W Burnside St
Portland, OR 97210
(503) 223-1513
Visit Website
This is the kind of place your in-laws go to once a year to celebrate something special. Lucky for you, you can show off this classy and classic steakhouse and its peerless tuxedoed service. Even better: Take them during Sunday happy hour. Sure there’s a line, but it moves fast. And don’t forget to let them pick up the check so they can realize how much food they just got for so small a price.  

[Photo: Facebook/RingSide Steakhouse]

6. Screen Door

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2337 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 542-0880
Visit Website
If your in-laws have done their homework, this place is likely on the list, and with fried chicken, low country shrimp, and double pimento cheeseburgers, why wouldn’t it be? Your only homework assignment is to scout for times when the inevitable line is at its shortest.  

[Photo: Yelp/Pauline P.]

7. Smokehouse Tavern

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1401 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 97214
(971) 279-4850
Visit Website
Who doesn’t love barbecue? Bring your visiting in-laws here and walk them through their many meaty choices while ordering deviled eggs, poutine, and Frito pie for the whole table. They’ll leave happy and full. And, the hip hop, looping through the sound system, will remind them that they’re decidedly not at Appleby’s.  

[Photo: Dina Avila]

8. Sunshine Tavern

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3111 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 688-1750
Visit Website
When you’re craving Jenn Louis’ handmade pastas but are convinced that Lincoln’s too adventurous for the in-laws, don’t sweat it: You can take them to Louis’ other restaurant on the other side of town, where the folks can split a pizza or try something that’s likely off their radars (duck egg sandwiches, pork burgers) as you scratch that pasta itch with a plate of Louis’ bucatini.  

[Photo: Facebook/Sunshine Tavern]

9. Swift and Union

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8103 N Denver Ave
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 206-4281
Visit Website
Angling to take the folks far from the maddening crowds tangling up the sidewalks up and down Hawthorne, Division, and Alberta? Hop on the Max and head north to the sleepy (for now) neighborhood of Kenton, where you can break bread with a wide roster of burgers and sandwiches or over a big warm dish of lamby hunter’s pie.  

[Photo: Dina Avila]

10. The Old Spaghetti Factory

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0715 SW Bancroft St
Portland, OR 97239
(503) 222-5375
Visit Website
Chances are your in-laws have already dined at an OSF, since one is probably located not too far from where they live. But you can boast to them that it all started here, in the City of Roses. The OSF also gives them a chance to satiate their Italian cravings, except our version treats them to bread, starters, and dessert in lieu of bottomless breadsticks. The OSF is essentially the OG Olive Garden.  

[Photo: Facebook/Old Spaghetti Factory]

11. The Original

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300 SW 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97204
(503) 546-2666
Visit Website
Another one-size fits all spot, The Original is one of the only places downtown where you can enjoy a house-ground cheeseburger and a barrel-aged Manhattan while your large party is accommodated often with little wait. Plus the portions are huge, a la the Midwest.  

[Photo: The Original]

12. Noble Rot

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1111 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 233-1999
Visit Website
If you want to show your visiting in-laws the good life, take them to Leather Storrs’ Noble Rot. There, perched on the balcony, they can take in views of the western hills as the sun sets below them. Then, while they enjoy a glass of wine from one of this city’s best wine menus, you can brag to them that a lot of what’s on their plate has been either plucked, pickled, or prepared (and sometimes all three) from the hard work that goes into Storrs’ on-site rooftop garden. And when your in-laws return, they’ll be able to get in on the bragging game as they tell all of their friends back home about how inspired our scene here is. Back home, they’ll all know that there’s more to big box shops that promise bottomless breadsticks.  

[Photo: Facebook/Noble Rot]

13. Firehouse Restaurant

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711 NE Dekum St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 954-1702
Visit Website
Out of the way, underrated, and charming as can be: That’s how you’d describe this Italian restaurant and its historic digs to visiting sophisticates. But the food and the space will gobsmack your visiting in-laws. The space is rustic, romantic, and puts out some refined Italian eats, from wood-fired steaks, fishes, and pizzas to crème brûlée desserts, affordable glasses (and bottles) or wine, and digestifs like Cynar, Fernet Branca, and grappa. Score them a seat on Firehouse’s quiet and unsung patio, and you’ll earn even more bonus points.  

[Photo: Firehouse Restaurant]

1. Cassidy's Restaurant

1331 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205
Looking for a bite after a show at the Schnitz? Bring your in-laws here for a cocktail and some risotto, mac and cheese, or a really fine cheeseburger that’s simple but spot-on, especially if you’re already a couple of drinks deep.  

[Photo: Yelp/Sherri S.]

1331 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97205

2. Grassa

1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205
Its more industrial digs may give your in-laws pause as they try to compare it to the comfy booths of the Olive Garden, but Grassa, with its antipasti, fritto misto, and its roster of 10 handmade pasta, will soften their stance. Plus, tell them that Jerry Seinfeld popped in for some noodles during his last trip to Portland, and if it’s good enough for Jerry, it’s good enough for them, right?  

[Photo: Grassa]

1205 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97205

3. Mother's Bistro & Bar

212 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97204
With its long list of small town home-cooked dinnertime favorites—meatloaf, pot roast, fried chicken—there’s something for pretty much everyone at Mother’s, from the finicky young (macaroni and cheese) to the folks getting on in years (chopped liver). If you’re looking for a sure-shot pleaser, this is it.  

[Photo: Facebook/Mother’s Bistro and Bar/p>

212 SW Stark St
Portland, OR 97204

4. Pause

5101 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97217
When your wife or husband’s mom or dad wants a cheeseburger, take them to Pause. The burgers are stripped down—just lettuce, onion, aioli, and cheese—but they’re on-point. Just make sure you know when to take them, as the place is very family-friendly and can get a bit hairy around dinnertime, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.  

[Photo: Yelp/Daniel H.]

5101 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217

5. RingSide

2165 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97210
This is the kind of place your in-laws go to once a year to celebrate something special. Lucky for you, you can show off this classy and classic steakhouse and its peerless tuxedoed service. Even better: Take them during Sunday happy hour. Sure there’s a line, but it moves fast. And don’t forget to let them pick up the check so they can realize how much food they just got for so small a price.  

[Photo: Facebook/RingSide Steakhouse]

2165 W Burnside St
Portland, OR 97210

6. Screen Door

2337 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
If your in-laws have done their homework, this place is likely on the list, and with fried chicken, low country shrimp, and double pimento cheeseburgers, why wouldn’t it be? Your only homework assignment is to scout for times when the inevitable line is at its shortest.  

[Photo: Yelp/Pauline P.]

2337 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

7. Smokehouse Tavern

1401 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214
Who doesn’t love barbecue? Bring your visiting in-laws here and walk them through their many meaty choices while ordering deviled eggs, poutine, and Frito pie for the whole table. They’ll leave happy and full. And, the hip hop, looping through the sound system, will remind them that they’re decidedly not at Appleby’s.  

[Photo: Dina Avila]

1401 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 97214

8. Sunshine Tavern

3111 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
When you’re craving Jenn Louis’ handmade pastas but are convinced that Lincoln’s too adventurous for the in-laws, don’t sweat it: You can take them to Louis’ other restaurant on the other side of town, where the folks can split a pizza or try something that’s likely off their radars (duck egg sandwiches, pork burgers) as you scratch that pasta itch with a plate of Louis’ bucatini.  

[Photo: Facebook/Sunshine Tavern]

3111 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202

9. Swift and Union

8103 N Denver Ave, Portland, OR 97217
Angling to take the folks far from the maddening crowds tangling up the sidewalks up and down Hawthorne, Division, and Alberta? Hop on the Max and head north to the sleepy (for now) neighborhood of Kenton, where you can break bread with a wide roster of burgers and sandwiches or over a big warm dish of lamby hunter’s pie.  

[Photo: Dina Avila]

8103 N Denver Ave
Portland, OR 97217

10. The Old Spaghetti Factory

0715 SW Bancroft St, Portland, OR 97239
Chances are your in-laws have already dined at an OSF, since one is probably located not too far from where they live. But you can boast to them that it all started here, in the City of Roses. The OSF also gives them a chance to satiate their Italian cravings, except our version treats them to bread, starters, and dessert in lieu of bottomless breadsticks. The OSF is essentially the OG Olive Garden.  

[Photo: Facebook/Old Spaghetti Factory]

0715 SW Bancroft St
Portland, OR 97239

11. The Original

300 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204
Another one-size fits all spot, The Original is one of the only places downtown where you can enjoy a house-ground cheeseburger and a barrel-aged Manhattan while your large party is accommodated often with little wait. Plus the portions are huge, a la the Midwest.  

[Photo: The Original]

300 SW 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97204

12. Noble Rot

1111 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
If you want to show your visiting in-laws the good life, take them to Leather Storrs’ Noble Rot. There, perched on the balcony, they can take in views of the western hills as the sun sets below them. Then, while they enjoy a glass of wine from one of this city’s best wine menus, you can brag to them that a lot of what’s on their plate has been either plucked, pickled, or prepared (and sometimes all three) from the hard work that goes into Storrs’ on-site rooftop garden. And when your in-laws return, they’ll be able to get in on the bragging game as they tell all of their friends back home about how inspired our scene here is. Back home, they’ll all know that there’s more to big box shops that promise bottomless breadsticks.  

[Photo: Facebook/Noble Rot]

1111 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

13. Firehouse Restaurant

711 NE Dekum St, Portland, OR 97211
Out of the way, underrated, and charming as can be: That’s how you’d describe this Italian restaurant and its historic digs to visiting sophisticates. But the food and the space will gobsmack your visiting in-laws. The space is rustic, romantic, and puts out some refined Italian eats, from wood-fired steaks, fishes, and pizzas to crème brûlée desserts, affordable glasses (and bottles) or wine, and digestifs like Cynar, Fernet Branca, and grappa. Score them a seat on Firehouse’s quiet and unsung patio, and you’ll earn even more bonus points.  

[Photo: Firehouse Restaurant]

711 NE Dekum St
Portland, OR 97211

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