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Mapping Portland's Most Missed Restaurants

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There's an intrinsic heartbreak when a restaurant shutters. No matter what you thought of the place, it signals an end to the hope and energy and optimism that you know was there when it first launched.

But some closures are more heartbreaking than others, at least for the dining public, as we're left with nothing to feast on but unrequited cravings and foggy memories when one of our favorites closes its doors for good.

Once again we asked readers to tell us their most-missed restaurants and got a long list of comments. Several readers even listed places that live on in one form or another (Virginia's Cafe, Brasserie Montmartre) because they missed the originals.

This past year brought some very surprising shutters: Wildwood, Pal's Shanty, Produce Row, Boxer Sushi. Who saw those coming? So as the year draws to a close, we've updated our Sadness Heatmap to reflect those passings, as well as a few more reader favorites were were able to pin down.

But there is a silver lining. Last time we ran this map in January 2013, readers' most-missed restaurant was Billy Schumaker's Taqueria Nueve. And this year, T9 made a comeback.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Alba Osteria

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6440 Southwest Capitol Highway
Portland, OR 97239
(2003-2010). Chef Kurt Spak's neighborhood spot Alba Osteria shuttered after seven years in business, with his casual spot Caffe Autogrill following just two months later. Laments a reader, [it had] "the best pasta I've had in my life."

2. Sumida's

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6744 Northeast Sandy Boulevard
Portland, OR 97213
(1980s-late '90s). "One of the earliest (and still one of the best) sushi establishments to ever exist in the city. Etsuo Sumida was one of the first sushi chefs to come to Portland. A traditionalist with a big heart, he used to tell me of creating banquet sushi boats in the 70s that diners would barely touch. He was a master of the cuisine until a tragic stroke caused him to have to retire over 2 decades ago. He and his family were some of the kindest restaurateurs (and human beings) I have ever known. I will always miss them."

3. Little Red Bike Cafe

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4823 North Lombard Street
Portland, OR 97203
(2007-2010). North Portland neighborhood spot Little Red Bike Cafe was dearly beloved for its breakfasts; after being forced out by their landlord, owners Ali Jepson and Evan Dohrmann opened another beloved food truck, Lucy's Original, that also shuttered. Says a reader of LBR, "Our neighborhood so so dearly misses it."

4. Alberta Street Oyster Bar

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2926 Northeast Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211
(2005-2007). Also known as the spot where chef Eric Bechard made his name, Alberta Street Oyster Bar lasted two years in the location now known as Branch Whiskey Bar. One reader writes, "That place was ahead of its time. The 'surf and turf' combinations are what I miss most. Sturgeon and oxtails or scallops and duck liver. I think that place was also using foraged ingredients before it was so popular. I remember eating nettles, ferns, minors lettuce and matsutakes all for the first time all at the oyster house."

5. Lovely Hula Hands

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4057 North Mississippi Avenue
Portland, OR 97227
(2003-2009). It's been reborn as the pizza-and-ice-cream spot Lovely's Fifty-Fifty, but readers still miss the more formal setting of N. Mississippi's Lovely Hula Hands. Says one: "They're still making magic at Fifty Fifty, but it's not as 'special fancy dinner.'"

6. Fife

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4440 Northeast Fremont Street
Portland, OR 97213
(2002-2009). After six-and-a-half years in business, chef Marco Shaw closed his upscale American restaurant for a more to North Carolina. Says one reader, "I do miss Marco Shaw. He was one of the most under appreciated chefs portland has ever know[n]."

7. Carlyle

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1632 Northwest Thurman Street
Portland, OR 97209
(2003-2010). NW fine-dining spot Carlyle, known as the breeding ground for chefs Daniel Mondok and Jake Martin, has its share of crestfallen fans nearly three years after its closure. Writes one: "Great food, service, and ambiance."

8. Alder Pastry & Dessert

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2448 East Burnside Street
Portland, OR 97214
(2011-2011). In just 10 short months, pastry chef Matthew Zack attracted a loyal (if not slightly rabid) following for his pastries and gelatos at Alder Pastry. (Writes one reader, "That gelato was a highlight of my life!") The location became Levant.

9. Opus Too & Jazz De Opus

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33 Northwest 2nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
(1972-2003). Longtime nightclub Opus Too & Jazz De Opus featured live jazz and old-school eats for nearly 30 years. Writes one former employee: "It was THE steak & seafood house before all of the Ruth's Chris, Mortons and their like came to town. The had a great mesquite grill, fresh pasta, at least ten kinds of fresh seafood, steaks & chops. I got to spend five years cooking there and still regard it as one of my favorite places to cook and eat."

10. Kin

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524 Northwest 14th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
(2010-2012). Chef Kevin Shikami's Pearl District restaurant closed at the end of 2012, but its absence is already missed by readers. Writes one: "I was there for the last two nights, very sad to see the restaurant close and Kevin leave Portland. His food was always incredibly good. And he is an amazingly kind and nice person as well."

11. Henry Ford's

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9589 Southwest Barbur Boulevard
Portland, OR 97219
(1970s-early 2000s). SW Portland piano bar Henry Ford's is missed for its old-school steakhouse vibe. Writes on commenter, "Classic old school Portland. Miss the red carpet and bubbly fountain and seeing an old guy play bossa nova on an electric keyboard."

12. Vat & Tonsure

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911 Southwest Taylor Street
Portland, OR 97205
(1978-1997). The original incarnation of this popular bistro was shuttered to make way for downtown's Fox Tower; an attempt to resurrect the spot in 2002 was unsuccessful. But former guests miss its boisterous bar scene/wine list and roasted game hen.

13. Quality Pie

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1180 Northwest 23rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97210
(1950s-1992). A holdout from the 1950s diner era, the 24-hour Quality Pie — famous for its exterior sign and late-night eats — remains a much-missed greasy spoon. Writes one reader: "Best people-watching in Portland."

14. Hiroshi

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926 Northwest 10th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
(2007-2010). Chef Hiro Ikegaya's upscale sushi spot Hiroshi shuttered after its move to the Pearl District; but Hiro's knives are still at work at his more casual E. Burnside spot Mirakutei.

15. Lauro Kitchen

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3377 Southeast Division Street
Portland, OR 97202
(2003-2012). Chef/restaurateur David Machado launched his mini-empire with Lauro Kitchen, which pre-dated Division's status as PDX's "Restaurant Row." Says a reader of the Mediterranean-influenced menu: "Loved Lauro Kitchen. Always consistent and interesting."

16. Rose & Raindrop

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532 Southeast Grand Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
(1998-2006). Central Eastside beer bar Rose & Raindrop — co-owned by legendary beerman Don Younger — has best known for its historic digs, extensive beer list, and parlor games. Says on commenter: "Our Scrabble club met there weekly for years and we knew the menu by heart, loved the burgers and crispy fries, the waiters were the best (miss you Russel), decent drinks and at one time, video poker. Now it's a bank, how boring is that."

17. Zefiro

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500 Northwest 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
(1990-2000). NW's legendary restaurant Zefiro marked Portland's introduction to four now-well-known culinary minds: Bruce Carey, Monique Siu (Castagna), Kevin Gibson (Davenport), and Chris Israel (Gruner). Unsurprisingly, it was frequently mentioned as a "most missed" spot, with one reader summing up, "there will never be another Zefiro."

18. Cafe Azul

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112 Northwest 9th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
(1998-2004). Chef Claire Archibald's Mexican spot Cafe Azul is now looked upon as "ahead of its time" for its upscale-authentic approach to Oaxacan cooking, and many readers are still nostalgic. Writes one, "Food, service, all top Q" — which we assume stands for "quality."

19. Half and Half

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923 SW Oak St
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 545-6444
Visit Website
(2000-2010) Beloved Courier Coffee was once the beloved Half and Half cafe. Customers cried when the 10-year-old shop shuttered, sure they could never live without the changing menu of excellent sandwiches and pies.

20. Henry Thiele's

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2315 NW Westover Rd
Portland, OR 97210
(503) 916-1606
Visit Website
(1930s-1990s) German pancakes, buttered noodles with beef tips. For decades, Thiele's was a landmark for continental cuisine. Now it's a World Market.

21. Hung Far Low

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329 NW Couch
Portland, OR
(1928-2005) Although the best-named Chinese restaurant ever is still alive and kicking out on SE 82nd Ave., it's this original Chinatown location that people miss.

22. Wildwood

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1221 Northwest 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
(1994-2014) For 20 years it stood as an icon of Portland's farm-to-table ethos, and it was going strong right up until the end. But leases have a way of bringing even the biggest names to their knees.

23. Pal's Shanty

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4630 Northeast Sandy Boulevard
Portland, OR 97213
(1966-2014) Pal's was beloved for having some of the freshest seafood in town, in an unapologetically dive-y atmosphere. During it's heyday in the 1970s, the lines were so long, it's been reported that then-mayor Goldschmidt would help bus tables so he could get his own seat faster.

24. Boxer Sushi

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1524 Southeast 20th Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
(2012-2014) Usually when a chef moves on another comes to take his or her place. Not so at Boxer Sushi. When opening chef Ian Skomski (an alum of Camden's NE Japanese restaurant Yakuza) decided to relocate to Bend, owners Katie Poppe and Micah Camden decided to call it quits, much to fans' dismay.

25. Esparza's

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2725 SE Ankeny Street
Portland, OR 97214
(1990-2014) The Tex-Mex joint earned a loyal following for more than two decades, and readers still miss their cowboy tacos.

1. Alba Osteria

6440 Southwest Capitol Highway, Portland, OR 97239
(2003-2010). Chef Kurt Spak's neighborhood spot Alba Osteria shuttered after seven years in business, with his casual spot Caffe Autogrill following just two months later. Laments a reader, [it had] "the best pasta I've had in my life."
6440 Southwest Capitol Highway
Portland, OR 97239

2. Sumida's

6744 Northeast Sandy Boulevard, Portland, OR 97213
(1980s-late '90s). "One of the earliest (and still one of the best) sushi establishments to ever exist in the city. Etsuo Sumida was one of the first sushi chefs to come to Portland. A traditionalist with a big heart, he used to tell me of creating banquet sushi boats in the 70s that diners would barely touch. He was a master of the cuisine until a tragic stroke caused him to have to retire over 2 decades ago. He and his family were some of the kindest restaurateurs (and human beings) I have ever known. I will always miss them."
6744 Northeast Sandy Boulevard
Portland, OR 97213

3. Little Red Bike Cafe

4823 North Lombard Street, Portland, OR 97203
(2007-2010). North Portland neighborhood spot Little Red Bike Cafe was dearly beloved for its breakfasts; after being forced out by their landlord, owners Ali Jepson and Evan Dohrmann opened another beloved food truck, Lucy's Original, that also shuttered. Says a reader of LBR, "Our neighborhood so so dearly misses it."
4823 North Lombard Street
Portland, OR 97203

4. Alberta Street Oyster Bar

2926 Northeast Alberta Street, Portland, OR 97211
(2005-2007). Also known as the spot where chef Eric Bechard made his name, Alberta Street Oyster Bar lasted two years in the location now known as Branch Whiskey Bar. One reader writes, "That place was ahead of its time. The 'surf and turf' combinations are what I miss most. Sturgeon and oxtails or scallops and duck liver. I think that place was also using foraged ingredients before it was so popular. I remember eating nettles, ferns, minors lettuce and matsutakes all for the first time all at the oyster house."
2926 Northeast Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211

5. Lovely Hula Hands

4057 North Mississippi Avenue, Portland, OR 97227
(2003-2009). It's been reborn as the pizza-and-ice-cream spot Lovely's Fifty-Fifty, but readers still miss the more formal setting of N. Mississippi's Lovely Hula Hands. Says one: "They're still making magic at Fifty Fifty, but it's not as 'special fancy dinner.'"
4057 North Mississippi Avenue
Portland, OR 97227

6. Fife

4440 Northeast Fremont Street, Portland, OR 97213
(2002-2009). After six-and-a-half years in business, chef Marco Shaw closed his upscale American restaurant for a more to North Carolina. Says one reader, "I do miss Marco Shaw. He was one of the most under appreciated chefs portland has ever know[n]."
4440 Northeast Fremont Street
Portland, OR 97213

7. Carlyle

1632 Northwest Thurman Street, Portland, OR 97209
(2003-2010). NW fine-dining spot Carlyle, known as the breeding ground for chefs Daniel Mondok and Jake Martin, has its share of crestfallen fans nearly three years after its closure. Writes one: "Great food, service, and ambiance."
1632 Northwest Thurman Street
Portland, OR 97209

8. Alder Pastry & Dessert

2448 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97214
(2011-2011). In just 10 short months, pastry chef Matthew Zack attracted a loyal (if not slightly rabid) following for his pastries and gelatos at Alder Pastry. (Writes one reader, "That gelato was a highlight of my life!") The location became Levant.
2448 East Burnside Street
Portland, OR 97214

9. Opus Too & Jazz De Opus

33 Northwest 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
(1972-2003). Longtime nightclub Opus Too & Jazz De Opus featured live jazz and old-school eats for nearly 30 years. Writes one former employee: "It was THE steak & seafood house before all of the Ruth's Chris, Mortons and their like came to town. The had a great mesquite grill, fresh pasta, at least ten kinds of fresh seafood, steaks & chops. I got to spend five years cooking there and still regard it as one of my favorite places to cook and eat."
33 Northwest 2nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

10. Kin

524 Northwest 14th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
(2010-2012). Chef Kevin Shikami's Pearl District restaurant closed at the end of 2012, but its absence is already missed by readers. Writes one: "I was there for the last two nights, very sad to see the restaurant close and Kevin leave Portland. His food was always incredibly good. And he is an amazingly kind and nice person as well."
524 Northwest 14th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

11. Henry Ford's

9589 Southwest Barbur Boulevard, Portland, OR 97219
(1970s-early 2000s). SW Portland piano bar Henry Ford's is missed for its old-school steakhouse vibe. Writes on commenter, "Classic old school Portland. Miss the red carpet and bubbly fountain and seeing an old guy play bossa nova on an electric keyboard."
9589 Southwest Barbur Boulevard
Portland, OR 97219

12. Vat & Tonsure

911 Southwest Taylor Street, Portland, OR 97205
(1978-1997). The original incarnation of this popular bistro was shuttered to make way for downtown's Fox Tower; an attempt to resurrect the spot in 2002 was unsuccessful. But former guests miss its boisterous bar scene/wine list and roasted game hen.
911 Southwest Taylor Street
Portland, OR 97205

13. Quality Pie

1180 Northwest 23rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97210
(1950s-1992). A holdout from the 1950s diner era, the 24-hour Quality Pie — famous for its exterior sign and late-night eats — remains a much-missed greasy spoon. Writes one reader: "Best people-watching in Portland."
1180 Northwest 23rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97210

14. Hiroshi

926 Northwest 10th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
(2007-2010). Chef Hiro Ikegaya's upscale sushi spot Hiroshi shuttered after its move to the Pearl District; but Hiro's knives are still at work at his more casual E. Burnside spot Mirakutei.
926 Northwest 10th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

15. Lauro Kitchen

3377 Southeast Division Street, Portland, OR 97202
(2003-2012). Chef/restaurateur David Machado launched his mini-empire with Lauro Kitchen, which pre-dated Division's status as PDX's "Restaurant Row." Says a reader of the Mediterranean-influenced menu: "Loved Lauro Kitchen. Always consistent and interesting."
3377 Southeast Division Street
Portland, OR 97202

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16. Rose & Raindrop

532 Southeast Grand Avenue, Portland, OR 97214
(1998-2006). Central Eastside beer bar Rose & Raindrop — co-owned by legendary beerman Don Younger — has best known for its historic digs, extensive beer list, and parlor games. Says on commenter: "Our Scrabble club met there weekly for years and we knew the menu by heart, loved the burgers and crispy fries, the waiters were the best (miss you Russel), decent drinks and at one time, video poker. Now it's a bank, how boring is that."
532 Southeast Grand Avenue
Portland, OR 97214

17. Zefiro

500 Northwest 21st Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
(1990-2000). NW's legendary restaurant Zefiro marked Portland's introduction to four now-well-known culinary minds: Bruce Carey, Monique Siu (Castagna), Kevin Gibson (Davenport), and Chris Israel (Gruner). Unsurprisingly, it was frequently mentioned as a "most missed" spot, with one reader summing up, "there will never be another Zefiro."
500 Northwest 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

18. Cafe Azul

112 Northwest 9th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
(1998-2004). Chef Claire Archibald's Mexican spot Cafe Azul is now looked upon as "ahead of its time" for its upscale-authentic approach to Oaxacan cooking, and many readers are still nostalgic. Writes one, "Food, service, all top Q" — which we assume stands for "quality."
112 Northwest 9th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

19. Half and Half

923 SW Oak St, Portland, OR 97205
(2000-2010) Beloved Courier Coffee was once the beloved Half and Half cafe. Customers cried when the 10-year-old shop shuttered, sure they could never live without the changing menu of excellent sandwiches and pies.
923 SW Oak St
Portland, OR 97205

20. Henry Thiele's

2315 NW Westover Rd, Portland, OR 97210
(1930s-1990s) German pancakes, buttered noodles with beef tips. For decades, Thiele's was a landmark for continental cuisine. Now it's a World Market.
2315 NW Westover Rd
Portland, OR 97210

21. Hung Far Low

329 NW Couch, Portland, OR
(1928-2005) Although the best-named Chinese restaurant ever is still alive and kicking out on SE 82nd Ave., it's this original Chinatown location that people miss.
329 NW Couch
Portland, OR

22. Wildwood

1221 Northwest 21st Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
(1994-2014) For 20 years it stood as an icon of Portland's farm-to-table ethos, and it was going strong right up until the end. But leases have a way of bringing even the biggest names to their knees.
1221 Northwest 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

23. Pal's Shanty

4630 Northeast Sandy Boulevard, Portland, OR 97213
(1966-2014) Pal's was beloved for having some of the freshest seafood in town, in an unapologetically dive-y atmosphere. During it's heyday in the 1970s, the lines were so long, it's been reported that then-mayor Goldschmidt would help bus tables so he could get his own seat faster.
4630 Northeast Sandy Boulevard
Portland, OR 97213

24. Boxer Sushi

1524 Southeast 20th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214
(2012-2014) Usually when a chef moves on another comes to take his or her place. Not so at Boxer Sushi. When opening chef Ian Skomski (an alum of Camden's NE Japanese restaurant Yakuza) decided to relocate to Bend, owners Katie Poppe and Micah Camden decided to call it quits, much to fans' dismay.
1524 Southeast 20th Avenue
Portland, OR 97214

25. Esparza's

2725 SE Ankeny Street, Portland, OR 97214
(1990-2014) The Tex-Mex joint earned a loyal following for more than two decades, and readers still miss their cowboy tacos.
2725 SE Ankeny Street
Portland, OR 97214

Related Maps