Indie coffee revives the city
- Michaela Bancud
- Portland Tribune - Features
There's a happy resurgence of indie coffeehouses in downtown Portland. It started with the opening of Portland Coffee House on Southwest Broadway in August 2002. The indie power base grows this year with three arrivals to Portland's wall-to-wall coffee scene.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Lovable Stumptown extends its reach into the coffee-art-music arena with its first west-side location.
It kicked off with a bang: opening night festivities benefited Sisters of the Road Cafe; the next evening, the monthly Hello!Video filmfest set up camp here.
It's a stimulating, striking place: magazines hang in a rack near paintings by local artist Amy Ruppel and turntables await vinyl connoisseurs. The new Stumptown has a slicker, more European feel than its east-side cousins. But it hasn't lost any of its Portland atmosphere. Light floods in from large transom windows, and a deep, chocolate-brown color accents the brick-walled room as coffee lovers read at the stainless steel bar.
Brewing a cup of coffee is as much of an art form as ever. Obsessive baristas turn out gorgeous, swirling lattes and frothy cappuccinos that you'll need a spoon in order to drink. (Stumptown coffee is served within days of its roasting, and all the house coffee is squeezed through a French press.)
The Third Avenue Stumptown also serves beer and wine from
7 a.m. to close daily. Owner Duane Sorenson usually can be found behind the bar, making it all happen in high style. Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, 128 S.W. Third Ave., 503-295-6144
Bad Kitty Koffee
There's a new cat in Morgan's Alley. Bad Kitty Koffee Ñ once located in a black trailer on Southwest Yamhill Street Ñ is now a bricks-and-mortar cafe. Owner Kevin McGrorty, who wears black cat-eye glasses, opened the cafe in March. And though Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Peet's Coffee, Portland Coffee House and Coffee People are each within a cat's meow of his business, he is unafraid. 'I love the competition,' McGrorty says, adding, 'A lot of people are especially glad to come here now that Starbucks just bought Seattle's Best and Torrefazione.'
McGrorty makes fresh pastries in the morning and serves grilled panini, soups and salads at lunchtime. His organic coffee is roasted in Vancouver and he serves hormone-free milk. The shop is named after McGrorty's deaf cat, Bad Kitty, who howls loudly.
'People like the name, they will often come by and meow or hiss.' Open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Bad Kitty Koffee, 724 S.W. Washington St., 503-295-1227
Baker's Brewed Awakening
Baker's Brewed Awakening is a micro coffee shop on the bus mall that's open to the street. Tucked inside of a 500-square-foot corner of Everett Street Autoworks, Baker's has a roll-up garage door and a few tables inside. Each month, local artists will show their work here, starting this month with photographer Peter Little. Still, this is really a place for people in a hurry: bus riders, auto mechanics and mall drifters alike will find it handy for a clandestine cup of Stumptown coffee. TriMet drivers have discovered it, too, owner James Baker says. 'They pull up, jump out, and come get a cup of coffee while the bus idles at the stop,' he says. Baker's opens at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but stays open later for First Thursday. Once summer arrives, Baker's will stay open until 6 p.m.
Baker's Brewed Awakening, 509 N.W. Fifth Ave., 503-328-0210