We have lived in the St. Johns neighborhood of North Portland for almost a year now and in that time we have found some great places to get out and about with the kids. As with any neighborhood in Portland there are parks around every corner and great streets for biking around town. The places that we have really loved are the one where we can grab a bite or some entertainment and if that’s what your looking for here are a couple of Gems:
St. Johns Theatre and Pub: Another great McMenamins restaurant, this unique building was orginally on the other side of the river. It has been moved a couple of times and had many different occupants but now is a great place to grab dinner and a movie. On Tuesday nights they have special deals on a Burger, a movie, and a Pint for $6 and happy hour prices. The theatre has couches and tables to hold all your treats and the outside fire is a nice place sit on cool spring nights. We have gone for movie nights, caught a Timbers game there on the big screen, and enjoyed lunches with Beautiful sitting up in the balcony with all the hanging lamps. Great beer, good food, and unique atmosphere.
Giralsole: This new Brick oven fired pizza joint is a nice addition to downtown St. johns. They have a large play area for kids and an inexpensive menu full of tasty options. The pizzas are thin crust crunchy pies with a smokey taste from the brick oven. The boys immediately join the other kids there in the play area and always take time to stand at the bar and watch the pizzas cook. Jars of beer and large bottles of water on tables made from old doors lend a laid back southern vibe to this fun place. They aren’t open on Mondays so don’t try and meet your wife there for lunch on Monday when she’s having a rough day, it will only make it worse. I mean, not that it happened to us, I’m just saying.
East Side Deli: This is a new Deli in space formerly occupied by the amazing Red bike Cafe and so I didn’t want to like it. They had nothing to do with Red bike going under but it still felt wrong to go there. Huge sandwiches and hot dogs for great prices helped me get over it quickly. You come in and grab a menu and a pen and build your perfect Dagwood along with most of the nine to fivers in the neighborhood. They are hoping at lunch time and for good reason. The Roast beef is great, a barometer for great deli’s from beautiful’s point of view, and the hot dogs provide ample opportunity for creativity. It’s hard to get a table inside for lunch but if you do you will see some great images of the St. Johns bridge burned into the tops.
Other Places we love:
John Street Cafe
St. John Cinema
Beautiful and the chipmunks
For his fourth birthday Primo got a membership to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) from Grandma and with Beautiful between jobs for two days we decided to go see what kind of deal we got. I am pretty excited about this gift because we now have a place to bring the boys when it is too wet to go to the Zoo, and I wanted to see if it was something I could handle on my own like we do at the Zoo. One trip in I don’t think that I can handle the three boys in that chaotically fun space. I had the two littlest boys while Primo stayed with Beautiful while they explored the space. We went right to the play area and dressed up like animals, dug up bones in the sand pit, played in the water table, and watched ping pong balls hover on streams of air. It was so much fun for the boys and just as much fun for me. A number of the parents there were on their smart phones and using the space as babysitter while they checked in and I totally get that, not every moment needs to be dedicated to the kids. But for me that space was about getting down there and exploring with boys. Trying to explain how the air kept the ball afloat, or the mechanics of the wheel and gears that turn the windmill. It was a time play, and teach, and learn. I wonder how many times we will have to go before I am one of those phone checking parents too?
The Great thing about having the membership is feeling like you don’t have to over do it on one day to get you money’s worth. We were able to explore and play for two hours and then head to find lunch before we lost the boys to over stimulation. We left more to discover for the next trip and made our way through the rain to a great breakfast place in Hipsterville called Gravy. Really great food and a great time with Beautiful on a rare week day adventure.
Part of the Fatherhood Friday group of blogging Fathers and Mothers over at Dad Blogs. Please click on the image to the left to find more great writing from other bloggers trying to make sense of this whole parenting thing
Tyler From Ruby Dragon (photo from Foodcartsportland.com)
A weekend with friends visiting has left us a little tired but happy for the time we spent. We got to show off some great places in Portland that we love going to with our kids since they have two kids as well. I thought since we just spent the weekend enjoying some of these places I would share them here as well. Some great places to eat with kids in North Portland:
- Pause – This is a burger joint on Interstate Ave situated amongst the neon and seedy hotels that line an otherwise revitalized area. A couple things that make this great for kids. They have free bowls of butter pasta for the kids that they get started as soon as you get there. They have nice outdoor seating next to a big fenced in patch of grass for running around in, and they have special two sliders, fries, and a pint for $7. Also it’s close enough to walk but far enough to make you think you earned that pint.
- Mississippi Pizza - This is Hipster Pizza hut with it’s microbrews on tap, gluten free pizza, and tons of live music at almost any time of the day. The kids love the music and running around outside while listening to whichever singer/songwriter was playing at the time.
- Mississippi Food Carts – Portland Food carts are so great because you get the choices of a mall food court, with the quality of a fancy restaurant. They have big tables and little picnic tables for the kids to sit at and some great carts that make choosing difficult. This last trip I ate at the Ruby Dragon and had a great meal with curried home fries. Everyone else went to a different cart and we had egg and mushroom sandwiches, burgers, coffee, and treats without a bad apple in the bunch. The kids loved being at their own table and when they were done they ran around the area chatting up the other diners.
We had a great time with our friends from Minnesota and we had a great time getting out into a city that we love more and more. If you have some places in Portland that you love, or where you live let us know.