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A bowl of Special Kasoy at Kasoy & Co
Special kasoy at Kasoy & Co.
Krista Garcia/Eater Portland

Where to Eat and Drink in Gresham, Oregon

Restaurants, food carts, and diners to hit in the Eastern suburb

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Special kasoy at Kasoy & Co.
| Krista Garcia/Eater Portland

When it comes to food, the affluent Westside suburbs get far more attention than the Eastside. No, Gresham doesn’t get offshoots of popular Portland restaurants, destination food cart pods, or splashy taprooms.

What it does have is a mix of longstanding casual faves, a robust Mexican food scene — see Where to Find Next-Level Tacos in Gresham,— and Ethiopian, Lao, Lebanese food, and more, tucked into strip malls and side streets.

While there may be a tendency to wave off everything east of the 205 as Gresham, the actual Portland-Gresham border doesn’t start until 162nd Street, which this map uses as a guideline. A new and improved East Portland map is in the works, so Eastside residents and boosters are encouraged to chime in on future picks.

Note: Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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La Villa Grill & Bar

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In downtown Rockwood, diners at La Villa tuck into traditional Mexican dishes such as Jalisco-style pozole rojo and chiles en nogada, as well as a sizable selection of seafood. The mariscos on the menu include tacos gobernador and shrimp or octopus prepared “zarandeado” style. The mariscada grande — a show-stopping seafood sampler platter with salmon, octopus, and four types of shrimp — is ideal for a celebratory group dinner.

Kasoy & Co

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Specializing in Lao and Mien food, Kasoy is a food cart standout next to a self-storage operation that’s easily missable if buzzing down Burnside. Those who stop will be rewarded with the namesake soup, kasoy: a large bowl of bone broth filled with fresh wide rice noodles, topped with minced pork sauce, cherry tomatoes, quail eggs, and beef meatballs. Some of the menu leans Thai (and even Korean), but the tham mak hoong, a Laotian-style papaya salad made with fermented crab, or the fried milk fish served with spicy Laotian dipping sauce jeow som, are both standouts.

Nicholas Restaurant Lebanese and Mediterranean Cuisine

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The Gresham outpost of the popular family-run Lebanese restaurant serves the same freshly baked pita, creamy hummus, pizzas, and meze the original is known for. Right on the quintessential small-town main drag, Nicholas, with its gold and scarlet color scheme, is suburban-style spacious with generous room between the solid wood tables and wrought-iron chairs. It’s worth saving room for dessert, with options like chocolate-peanut butter baklava.

Tamale Factory

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Gresham might be a taco-lovers paradise, but tamale fanatics can find a stunning array at a strip mall on the border of Troutdale. “Food To Go” lettered on the side of the shop hints at the simple wooden tables and chairs within, though even if the cutlery is disposable, the plates are not. It’s hard to go wrong at Tamale Factory, whether customers order the restaurant’s corn husk tamales, like the pork in red sauce, or the Oaxacan-style chicken mole tamales wrapped and steamed in aromatic banana leaves.

Imm Dee Thai Restaurant & Bar

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Gresham’s Imm Dee also functions as a sports bar, so it’s entirely possible to enjoy a few skewers of happy hour satay with a vodka-spiked Thai iced tea or a full table-service meal while keeping an eye on the game. The menu doesn’t stray too far from standards, but read between the lines and it gets more interesting. A dish simply called Bangkok seafood appears to be a rendition of Thai curry crab, made from curry powder and evaporated milk (half and half is used here), and Thai pho with beef meatballs closely resembles boat noodles, minus the liver and pig’s blood. Perfectionists can adjust seasonings to taste, using the ground chile powder or chile-infused fish sauce in the caddies on the wooden tables.

The Local Cow

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An organic burger specialist right on Main Street, The Local Cow is on the opposite side of the menu spectrum from Dea’s. In other words, the spot promises Oregon-raised grass-fed beef patties on brioche buns in a variety of creative burgers. The Rockwood combines pepperjack, guacamole, fried banana peppers, and chipotle mayo. Many burgers include local touches like Rose City Pepperheads Hawaiian jalapeno jelly, and the restaurant serves Boring Cider on tap.

Try Me Ethiopian Cuisine

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Try Me, a small, sparsely furnished Ethiopian restaurant with apple green walls, is a strip mall standout. Not all Ethiopian restaurants in town serve kifto, a berbere-laced, finely chopped steak tartare served with ayeb (cottage cheese) and gomen (collard greens), and Try Me’s version is an opportunity for those unfamiliar to, ahem, try the dish. Much of the restaurant’s Ethiopian cuisine is vegan-friendly by default, but the menu provides balance with many lamb and beef choices, too.

La Herradura

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For some of the best barbacoa de borrego in town, La Herradura, across from Gresham High School, delivers. The space has a split personality: counter-service for the fast food-like seating on the left, and green vinyl booths, full menus, and table service on the right. Sure, there’s burritos and and tacos, but the braised lamb, served with rich consomme containing rice and garbanzos and soft handmade tortillas on the side, is a weekend draw.

A taco sits on a white plate.
Barbacoa taco and consomme at La Herradura.
Krista Garcia/Eater Portland

Dea's In & Out

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A Gresham fixture for more than 50 years, this counter-service diner with a drive-thru closed the main restaurant for renovations during the pandemic but opened an outdoor patio and spruced up the bar where a full menu is served, including breakfast. But most people come for the nostalgic fare like Dea’s signature longburgers with rectangular hamburger patties on soft buns. Don’t forget an order of fried mushrooms, coated in onion ring batter, and a milkshake in a lesser-seen flavor like peanut butter, root beer, or pineapple.

Birrias Tamazula

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A few blocks from the historic downtown strip, Birrias Tamazula gives the people what they want: birria, by the crimson bowlful or tucked into tacos. Eschewing the current craze of more-is-more creations oozing with cheese, this table service restaurant leans more traditional with a choice of beef or goat in consomé, tacos, or platters with rice and beans–and even eggs, for breakfast, all served with freshly made corn tortillas.

La Villa Grill & Bar

In downtown Rockwood, diners at La Villa tuck into traditional Mexican dishes such as Jalisco-style pozole rojo and chiles en nogada, as well as a sizable selection of seafood. The mariscos on the menu include tacos gobernador and shrimp or octopus prepared “zarandeado” style. The mariscada grande — a show-stopping seafood sampler platter with salmon, octopus, and four types of shrimp — is ideal for a celebratory group dinner.

Kasoy & Co

Specializing in Lao and Mien food, Kasoy is a food cart standout next to a self-storage operation that’s easily missable if buzzing down Burnside. Those who stop will be rewarded with the namesake soup, kasoy: a large bowl of bone broth filled with fresh wide rice noodles, topped with minced pork sauce, cherry tomatoes, quail eggs, and beef meatballs. Some of the menu leans Thai (and even Korean), but the tham mak hoong, a Laotian-style papaya salad made with fermented crab, or the fried milk fish served with spicy Laotian dipping sauce jeow som, are both standouts.

Nicholas Restaurant Lebanese and Mediterranean Cuisine

The Gresham outpost of the popular family-run Lebanese restaurant serves the same freshly baked pita, creamy hummus, pizzas, and meze the original is known for. Right on the quintessential small-town main drag, Nicholas, with its gold and scarlet color scheme, is suburban-style spacious with generous room between the solid wood tables and wrought-iron chairs. It’s worth saving room for dessert, with options like chocolate-peanut butter baklava.

Tamale Factory

Gresham might be a taco-lovers paradise, but tamale fanatics can find a stunning array at a strip mall on the border of Troutdale. “Food To Go” lettered on the side of the shop hints at the simple wooden tables and chairs within, though even if the cutlery is disposable, the plates are not. It’s hard to go wrong at Tamale Factory, whether customers order the restaurant’s corn husk tamales, like the pork in red sauce, or the Oaxacan-style chicken mole tamales wrapped and steamed in aromatic banana leaves.

Imm Dee Thai Restaurant & Bar

Gresham’s Imm Dee also functions as a sports bar, so it’s entirely possible to enjoy a few skewers of happy hour satay with a vodka-spiked Thai iced tea or a full table-service meal while keeping an eye on the game. The menu doesn’t stray too far from standards, but read between the lines and it gets more interesting. A dish simply called Bangkok seafood appears to be a rendition of Thai curry crab, made from curry powder and evaporated milk (half and half is used here), and Thai pho with beef meatballs closely resembles boat noodles, minus the liver and pig’s blood. Perfectionists can adjust seasonings to taste, using the ground chile powder or chile-infused fish sauce in the caddies on the wooden tables.

The Local Cow

An organic burger specialist right on Main Street, The Local Cow is on the opposite side of the menu spectrum from Dea’s. In other words, the spot promises Oregon-raised grass-fed beef patties on brioche buns in a variety of creative burgers. The Rockwood combines pepperjack, guacamole, fried banana peppers, and chipotle mayo. Many burgers include local touches like Rose City Pepperheads Hawaiian jalapeno jelly, and the restaurant serves Boring Cider on tap.

Try Me Ethiopian Cuisine

Try Me, a small, sparsely furnished Ethiopian restaurant with apple green walls, is a strip mall standout. Not all Ethiopian restaurants in town serve kifto, a berbere-laced, finely chopped steak tartare served with ayeb (cottage cheese) and gomen (collard greens), and Try Me’s version is an opportunity for those unfamiliar to, ahem, try the dish. Much of the restaurant’s Ethiopian cuisine is vegan-friendly by default, but the menu provides balance with many lamb and beef choices, too.

La Herradura

For some of the best barbacoa de borrego in town, La Herradura, across from Gresham High School, delivers. The space has a split personality: counter-service for the fast food-like seating on the left, and green vinyl booths, full menus, and table service on the right. Sure, there’s burritos and and tacos, but the braised lamb, served with rich consomme containing rice and garbanzos and soft handmade tortillas on the side, is a weekend draw.

A taco sits on a white plate.
Barbacoa taco and consomme at La Herradura.
Krista Garcia/Eater Portland

Dea's In & Out

A Gresham fixture for more than 50 years, this counter-service diner with a drive-thru closed the main restaurant for renovations during the pandemic but opened an outdoor patio and spruced up the bar where a full menu is served, including breakfast. But most people come for the nostalgic fare like Dea’s signature longburgers with rectangular hamburger patties on soft buns. Don’t forget an order of fried mushrooms, coated in onion ring batter, and a milkshake in a lesser-seen flavor like peanut butter, root beer, or pineapple.

Birrias Tamazula

A few blocks from the historic downtown strip, Birrias Tamazula gives the people what they want: birria, by the crimson bowlful or tucked into tacos. Eschewing the current craze of more-is-more creations oozing with cheese, this table service restaurant leans more traditional with a choice of beef or goat in consomé, tacos, or platters with rice and beans–and even eggs, for breakfast, all served with freshly made corn tortillas.

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