I have been living in St. Johns for the last 4 months. If you don’t know where St. Johns in Portland is, that’s not surprising. It is a small little neighborhood in the very most northern part of north Portland.
At one time it was it’s own municipality but since the 50’s, I believe, it has been part of Portland. It is quite different from the rest of Portland and it has this weird little small town, anywhere, vibe going on. It is s decent enough neighborhood to live in, but god damn it is fucking faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar away from my daily life. It takes me 25 minutes to get to SE Portland most days and all my work and most of my friends live outside of St. Johns, and convincing them to drive all the way out there to hang out is impossible. Besides the fact that I am spending most of my time commuting back and forth from work and hanging with my homies, I have found some decent spots to get down at.
I will start by saying that St. Johns is NOT a place you want to come to find amazing cuisine and Portland style nightlife. That being said, there are a few places that I have been getting down. The first place I ever went to get shitfaced when I moved out there is this greasy bar/ small music venue called Slim’s. Slim’s is about what you would expect from a neighborhood bar that has live music most nights of the week. They have a pretty large FSA and Sysco based menu, about 10 tap handles, ciders, and plenty of booze. Of course, like every bar in Ptown they got video stroker parlor in the back, a couple of pool tables and loads of ugly St. Johns skanks sneaking around. Go for the music and cheap booze, happy hour has dollar Pabst if you are into sport drinkin’… but eat before you go.
I recommend, leaving Slim’s and walking directly across the street to what most people know as “The Hidden Restaurant”. It’s a Mexican store complete with bakery and butcher counter, but in the back is this sketchy looking cafeteria style room with dozens of folding tables and absolutely no ambiance or flair. The place looks dirty and I’ll tell you the truth, I was fuckin’ bugged out when I walked in the first time. There is 1 counter with a fridge behind it full of Jarrito’s, an horchata circulator, a small salsa bar which I wouldn’t eat out of, and stacks of cases of Mexican Coca-Cola everywhere. The food is BANGIN’ y’all. Dollar tacos and $4 burritos, menudo on the weekends, and everything I have tried there has been top fucking notch. The place is actually called ‘Tienda Santa Cruz #2’ and everyone in St. Johns knows this is the place to go for the bomb ass cheap eats. Be sure to go with plenty of time because I have never been in and out, this place is always busy…ALWAYS. The bad news is, they close at 10 pm, so if you’re a late nighter, like me, then keep reading.
Another dope spot to drink AND eat at is a little joint called, ‘The Fixin’ To’. I mean with a name like that, how could it not be awesome. The place is fairly small inside, maybe 6 or 8 tables, but they have two outdoor seating areas, 1 is covered and has overhead heaters, the other is only partially covered, but the craft cocktail menu is OK, I guess, kinda ‘meh’ for me, but I’m a beer guy, and they don’t have the largest beer selection, but it’s a PBR life over here folks, but the food is outstanding. The menu is small and easy to manage for their limited space but all of it looks awesome and the truth is I can’t get passed the chicken and dumplings. I grew up eating chicken and dumplings like a boss, and theirs is everything I always wanted and more. Truthfully, I am going to steal it when I move back to Cincinnati. I will say that ‘The Fixin’ To’ is the most hipster dipster spot in St. Johns so if you don’t wanna punch a hipster in the ego for being a douche, then go somewhere else.
Oh and an update, maybe y’all remember when I blogged about Bakersfield, the taco joint in Cincinnati puttin’ it down out there. I mentioned that my 1 gripe was that they weren’t doing double tortillas on the tacos and good news, I got word last night. They got hip and now all of em are rollin’ out on two tortillas. I don’t care what the real reason is, I’m taking credit for that decision and I’m very proud of it.