PORTLAND – Portland is known for its rich food scene. Eagerly awaiting a table at a boutique restaurant in a trendy neighborhood is how many a Portland foodie spends his or her Sunday.
In Northwest Portland, the non-gourmands go to Joe’s Cellar Restaurant and Lounge. The landmark greasy-spoon specializes in hearty breakfasts like bacon and eggs, omelets, and biscuits and gravy.
Unfortunately for Joes’ faithful followers, the restaurant’s last meal was served up Sunday.
The historic building at Northwest 21st Avenue and Northwest Pettygrove Street looks like a relic from the past. At the counter you’re more likely to see someone reading a newspaper than staring at a smart phone. The black and white photos on the wall tell a story as old as the building they are in.
The lounge next door is a local dive bar with unpretentious karaoke and dependable crew of locals who don’t want their drinks made by a “mixologist.” They too will have to find a new watering hole.
After making it through the recession, it seemed like Joe’s Cellar could survive another 100 years. Dianna Johs, a waitress at the restaurant, told KGW city inspectors condemned the 114-year-old building after it was recently sold. Now, she and 24 other employees are out of work.
"This is a place where everybody talks to everybody. People that are sitting there and I can interact. Next thing you know, everybody is talking to everybody. You go to a Shari's, you go an IHOP, they don't talk to each other. Here they do," Johs said.
Regulars at the restaurant are calling the loss tragic. Joe’s will not be relocating.