Review: Lovejoy Bakers (Pearl District)


Lovejoy Bakers
939 NW 10th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209
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Ph: 503-208-3113
Hours: 6 a.m to 8 p.m daily
Website | Menu | Facebook
Lunch Money: $$-$$$
Rating: ★★½☆☆

First of all, let me be perfectly clear about something. I suffer from standing-in-line-might-cause-me-to-die syndrome. (It’s a real thing, I think. Maybe.) So, I dare you to try to find a time during the day when there ISN’T a long-ass line at Lovejoy Bakers. I do like this place for the convenience, but sometimes I’m not in the mood to wait and wait and wait for my death…oops, I mean a sandwich.

OK, I know that’s not exactly fair, but are you freakin’ kidding me about the lines at this place?! On a good day the line is 10-people deep during non-peak hours, but at a busy time it’s pointless to wait. For as much as they charge for a sandwich here, you’d think there’d be a better, faster, more efficient system.

Beyond the line problem, there’s also the seating problem. Once you’re through the line there is (surprisingly) fairly limited seating…and a lot of it is communal, which is—at least I find personally—annoying. On nice days there’s outside seating, but this is Portland! It rains…a lot. Like 20 months of the year.

OK, for the good stuff. The sandwiches are good. I also think the bread at Lovejoy Bakers is excellent. (I’ve dropped by to pick up a baguette in the late afternoon for dinner a few times.)

I prefer to order the smaller Bistro sandwiches (currently $4 to $7.50). Why? The regular sized sandwiches are kinda expensive (currently $6.25 to $9.50) and come with a side of probably the most tasteless and watery coleslaw I’ve ever tried.

Sadly, coleslaw is the ONE AND ONLY free side option with a full-size sandwich. The other option, a side of chips, will cost $1 extra. I think that’s pretty lame. There’s a Subway across the street where you can get a foot-long sub, chips AND a soda for far less than a sandwich at Lovejoy Bakers…and with less attitude.

Oh, did I mention the attitude? Yes, there is a weird vibe at Lovejoy Bakers. Snobby for sure. You can’t just order a fountain soda (i.e., Coke, Sprite, etc.) you have to order a bottle of fancy-schmancy all-natural soda. I know it’s the Pearl District, but c’mon, not everyone who lives or works in the area wants to shell out extra dollars for a soda! (Note: the self-serve water is free.)

This MIGHT be OK if there didn’t seem to be some confusion behind the counter at times—or almost every time I’ve been there. I’d chalk it up to the long lines, and the frustration/confusion that all those hungry customers might cause, but then I saw people behind the counter standing around chit-chatting on a super busy day—ignoring me trying to inform them the self-dispense drip coffee was out and getting no response. Or that cold winter day they didn’t make my peppermint café mocha at all and had to ask after a looong wait! Not cool.

It’s sort of hard to believe Lovejoy Bakers is partially owned by the same people who founded Pizzacato in Portland, which I really love.

Overall, the sandwiches are tasty, but there are a lot of other issues to contend with before you sit down with your Lovejoy Bakers lunch. If you like long lines, annoying hipster attitudes and bussing your own tables, you might like Lovejoy Bakers. But I think I’ll skip it from now on.

PROS:
– Tasty sandwiches
– Fresh bread, which you can order to take home
– Breakfast sandwiches served all day
– They offer smaller, cheaper “Bistro” sandwiches

CONS:
– THE LINES!
– Can be hard to find seating
– Expensive for a sandwich
– The service is often below average, and you have to bus your own table
– Coleslaw is the only free side option—and it’s mediocre at best

Review: Kenny & Zuke’s

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Kenny & Zuke’s
1038 SW Stark Street
Portland, OR 97205
503-222-3344
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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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A lot of people have been raving about Kenny & Zuke’s. So much so that I was extremely excited to try Portland’s new “authentic” New York-style delicatessen. On a recent sunny day my lunch companion and I decided to stroll over and check it out

Kenny & Zuke’s is located in the same building that houses the all-too-hip Ace Hotel, so that might have been the first sign of what I was about to experience. The restaurant itself is bright, clean and airy. The entire waitstaff is decked out in t-shirts with deli-related humorous sayings. There seemed to be a very large staff on duty, but it took forever to be seated, have our order taken and then actually get our food!

I’m not saying Kenny & Zuke’s was bad. I’m saying that Kenny & Zuke’s is expensive and overrated. By comparison, one of my favorite really-in-New-York-City delis, Ess-a-Bagel, has a very similar menu, but everything is about half the price! And they are in New York City! Something is very wrong about that! Continue reading Review: Kenny & Zuke’s

HH Review: Henry’s 12 Street Tavern

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Henry’s 12th Street Tavern
10 NW 12th Street
Portland, OR
503-227-5320
* Happy hour runs daily from 3 to 6 pm
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Rating: ★★★☆☆

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OK, Henry’s has a great happy hour menu, but it’s almost too much trouble finding a seat to even bother going! I can understand the mad rush at Portland City Grill (which is also owned by Pacific Coast Restaurants), but I get so sick and tired of walking that endless circle around the bar at Henry’s looking for a free table or an even less comfortable place at the bar.

Honestly, my friends and I have left without waiting numerous times, because, like PCG, they don’t have any organized way of getting paying customers a table as people leave. Yes, I understand first come, first serve, but this is just chaos without the great view or the ambiance of PCG. Continue reading HH Review: Henry’s 12 Street Tavern

HH Review: Portland City Grill

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Portland City Grill
111 SW Fifth Avenue, 30th Floor
Portland, OR
503-450-0030
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Rating: ★★★★½

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This is THE happy hour experience you must do at least once if you are in Stumptown. That is, if you can get a table! My best advice: come early.

The lunch menu at Portland City Grill is certainly on the splurge side of the StumptownLunch.com budget, but if you want to taste the amazing food, gaze at the eagle-eye view and save a lot of cash, go for happy hour. Happy hour runs from 4:30 to 6:30 pm Monday through Saturday, 10 pm to midnight Monday through Thursday and (get this) from 4 pm to close on Sunday! There is beverage minimum of $2.75 per person, but that’s easy to fulfill with a nice chilled beer or one of their delicious cocktails. Sure, the drinks are on the pricey side, but the experience is worth it. Continue reading HH Review: Portland City Grill

Review: Whole Foods

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Whole Foods (The Pearl location)
1210 NW Couch Street
Portland, OR
503-525-4343
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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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OK, I’m all for healthy eating and stuff, but I do have some standards: I won’t eat it if it doesn’t taste good. I think I know what tastes good, healthy and not-so-healthy.

Yes, Whole Foods is a supermarket chain, but I just had to write this review. In the Pearl, the Whole Foods supermarket seems to be a popular lunch place-the tables and lunch bar always seem to be full, but, after several tries, I have no idea why.

Sure, they have an extensive array of ready-to-eat options, including pizza, a salad bar and sandwiches, etc. But, here’s my short review: unless you are in a huge hurry, skip it! Continue reading Review: Whole Foods