5. Sweedeedee

Portlandia meets Martha Stewart in a homemade haven of pancakes, pies, and oven-fresh sandwich breads.

Clockwise from left: owner Eloise Augustyn; Almond cake; the Sweedeedee breakfast plate; house cinnamon rolls

On a frumpy stretch of N Albina Avenue, Sweedeedee proudly serves “pie, breakfast and lunch.” Outside, jars of tea “cook” in the sun. Inside, mason jars double as wall art and napkins arrive clasped in kitchen-bag ties. Music blares, and between the staff and customers there are more tattoos than in a Russian prison. Hourlong waits are a given. First impression: a been-there, laughed-at-that Portlandia moment. Second take: “Whoa, this food is really good. How do I get in?”

Sweedeedee counter man Jeff Rowles
Sweedeedee counter man Jeff Rowles

A year ago, 37-year-old Eloise Augustyn was on food stamps. With a skateboarder’s energy, a grandma’s gift for satisfying flavor, and a hammer-wielding dad on carpentry duty, the girl who cooked, baked, and waited her way through Portland kitchens conjured her own brand of home cooking. Big portions, big flavors, wired-in details, great vibes, and just about everything under $10. That’s Sweedeedee. Bowls of Maldon salt and hand-cranked pepper mills stand on every table. From the tiny kitchen come soups, farm-fresh salads, giant cakes, and a righteous honey pie, all custard and dark amber in a full-butter crust.

At the counter, inch-thick slabs of zucchini bread make the best possible argument for eating your vegetables. Then there are the grilled triangles of homemade brioche bracketing braised beef, pickled onions, and fresh horseradish cream, or a towering vision of bacon, slivered beets, and lettuce on oven-fresh cornmeal molasses bread.  

5202 N Albina Ave

Breakfast percolates all day, led by the best corn-cakes plate around: billowing spheres of comfort with baked eggs, stewed greens du jour, crispy bacon slabs, and a mini-vat of maple syrup. Happy noise fills the air. Seating is limited to 22 lucky souls, and Portland’s Sweedeedee crush is growing fast. My advice: get in line with the rest of us.