For decades, the once sleepy Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood in Portland, Ore., was defined by its dusty antique shops and the old-school Oaks Amusement Park, established in 1905. But the blue-collar neighborhood is moving into the spotlight. Its cool factor got a big jump-start in 2015 when the Orange Line of the city’s light rail system opened, providing a direct route from downtown Portland. Then, in 2018, a refurbished five-mile stretch of the city’s 21-mile bike path, the Springwater Corridor, reopened in Sellwood-Moreland, making it even more accessible. Creative entrepreneurs and a young, hip crowd are taking notice. Now, tasteful cafes and quirky new businesses stand alongside longtime restaurants and bars.
Opened in 2015, this small specialty shop with dine-in space sells wine, chocolate, salt and butter — many flavors of butter, all of which the owner Milla Woller compounds in the space with fresh herbs, local honey, fruit or chili and spices. Buy them by the quarter-pound or one-ounce pot, or take a seat and try the butter board ($15), a sampling of seven sweet and savory butters served in melon-ball-size scoops with a toasted demi baguette. There’s also wine by the glass (from $9) and charcuterie plates ($16).
6664 SE Milwaukie Avenue, buttercraftpdx.com
2. Bible Club
From the furniture to the bar tools and the doilies to the ragtime tunes, nearly everything in Bible Club, a bar that opened in 2016, seems faithful to the 1920s era house in which it is housed. The bar menu features elevated pub grub and vintage cocktails (from $12) — plus a few originals, including some featuring Portland-made liquor from House Spirits.
6716 SE 16th Avenue, bibleclubpdx.com
3. Fairlane Coffee
At this airy cafe adorned with hanging plants, baristas prepare drinks with precision, using timers and scales and other signature details characteristic of coffee shops specializing in artisanal roasts. That kind of attention to detail is the stock in trade of this three-year-old hangout. It came under new ownership in September. A toast menu as well as quiche and sweets from local bakeries round out the offerings.
6647 SE Milwaukie Avenue, fairlanepdx.com
4. Gino’s Restaurant and Bar
This old school Italian restaurant has been serving dishes made with local, sustainable ingredients since 1996, when husband and wife team Marc and Deb Accuardi took over the more than century-old space, which was most recently occupied by a German tavern. Best known for Grandma Jean’s Pasta ($19.75), a carnivore’s fantasy made with Marc’s grandmother’s sauce recipe, the spot is a throwback to the old-school vibe of Sellwood-Moreland’s earlier times.
8051 SE 13th Avenue, ginossellwood.com
In this minimalist shop, all the colorful T-shirts ($28), caps ($28), and souvenirs, like mugs ($14), are emblazoned with vibrant retro-modern-style Oregon pride logos like colorful outlines of snowy-peaked Mount Hood and sly cannabis-related slogans like “Oregon is higher than California.” They’re the work of owner Rick Gilbert, a graphic designer who ran the business out of his garage for two years before opening the Claybourne Street shop in November 2016.
1620 SE Claybourne Street, Suite 101A; grafletics.comRead more on diversions in Portland, Ore.