Biwa

Biwa serves up Japanese-style pub fare every night until midnight.

These nocturnal menus aren’t the exclusive preserve of the innovative kitchens of inner Southeast. The long-empty space at the corner of SW Sixth Avenue and Oak Street in downtown Portland is now home to the Original, a 200-seat restaurant that serves up playful takes on American diner fare until midnight on the weekends. Late-night offerings include buttermilk biscuits smothered with sausage-studded gravy ($6.50), French Canadian poutine (fries, cheese curds, and gravy for $7.25), and the delectable Scotch egg ($4.75), a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and panko, then lightly fried.

Thanks to the city’s increasing size and sophistication—late-night dining has arrived in Portland.

That’s only the beginning. Departure, perched 15 stories high atop the Nines Hotel, delivers such epicurean treats as foie gras–stuffed Kobe beef meatballs ($15) past midnight. Noble Rot, which recently relocated to the building that also houses Rocket, at E Burnside Street and SE 11th Avenue, now offers its renowned wine flights to complement dishes like a butternut squash panino ($6) until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays (accompanied by the city’s best downtown views). In Northeast Portland, Micah Camden’s fourth eatery, Fats, will offer English pub fare—bangers and mash, spotted dick, and chicken tikka masala—until midnight beginning in mid-August. Even in Northwest Portland, where attending to post-9 p.m. hunger pangs usually means nachos with the youngsters at the Gypsy Velvet Lounge, longtime Genoa chef Jerry Huisinga’s Bar Mingo is now serving simple, delicious, and inexpensive eats until midnight on the weekends.

Lament no longer, night owls. Thanks to the city’s increasing size and sophistication—or the growing number of locals with flexible schedules—late-night dining has arrived in Portland. “It’s added an entirely new and dynamic element to Biwa,” Gabe Rosen says. “[Late night is] more casual and laid-back than our normal hours, and it’s allowing us to reach out to a more diverse set of customers. It’s a total win-win.”