The industrial area in Portland, Oregon is where you’ll find much of the city’s proud metal and machine artisans. They work early and hard and require a fitting meal to reward their labors. Luckily, nestled in the heart of this blue collar district located on the northwest side of the city lays the Industrial Cafe & Saloon.
Started in 2004, the Saloon was an idea that local Oregonian Russ Hubbard initiated to provide a reasonably priced cuisine for his neighbors and fellow metalsmiths. What came forward from this project evolved into a direct reflection of this thriving district.
From the ground up
Much of the Industrial Cafe & Saloon’s charm begins at first sight. There’s no frou frou decor that suggests uptown living, but rather cold cut steel and metal work fitting of the urban working class. Hubbard, who also specializes in modern metal inspired art, has infused much of his own artwork into the humble establishment. From the gears that welcome you at the entrance to the pieces that hold the napkins, everything inside the restaurant was engineered by hand and made for your enjoyment.
Comfort from the cold
The perfectly crafted metalwork is soon followed up by perfectly crafted comfort food. The Saloon’s local raving reputation has even earned itself a segment seen on Guy Feiri’s famous show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, as much of their menu specializes in ranch to table ingredients such as privately owned grass fed cows and in-house cured meats. While their leaner cows are dense with antioxidants and omega-3s, you must help yourself to Portland’s finest smoked salmon cakes topped with a tangy dill sauce priced at a modest 9 USD.
Though the establishment itself is a bit on the petite side with barely enough seats to accommodate 20 guests, which actually is the norm for Portland restaurants, if you happen to drop before the lunch hour rush seating will not be a problem. I was welcomed to a seat and had a morning beer in hand well within 5 minutes. With surrounding lofts and businesses it’s easy to see that this place will be booming with patrons during happy hour, especially considering national attention.
Something like ma's meatloaf
Once you’ve indulged in the famous fish caught off the Pacific Northwest help yourself to a meatloaf sandwich special. Though this humble dish can be seen on “ma and pa” diners across the nation, the Industrial Cafe & Saloon truly perfects this classic through special seasoning and carefully cooked to remain hearty and moist. The Saloon then enters this slab of loaf into a buttery and toasted sandwich and partners it with a fresh house salad to complete this sustaining meal.
Portland heart and soul
There are many restaurants and eateries that pride themselves on delivering some of the finest menus Portland has to offer. By that count Portland, Oregon is rich with local cuisine fitting for recognition. But few of them, or likely not anyone else, truly defines the identity of Portland as well as the Industrial Cafe and Saloon. The hard working owners and staff showcase the labor and craft that Portland was founded on, and their menu presents the very essence of their purpose; for them, by them.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.