Dining in downtown’s West End

A range of restaurants make this downtown neighborhood a dining standout.

Sidewalk seating at Grüner, in sight of the historic First Presbyterian Church.Sidewalk seating at Grüner, in sight of the historic First Presbyterian Church.
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    Comfort is king at the line-up of West End eateries that have opened recently in downtown Portland. For those who believe in dessert first, Blue Star Donuts‘ original location offers unexpected delights like blueberry-bourbon-basil glaze over a raised puff of goodness (made fresh with organic and sustainably certified ingredients for guilt-free indulgence); Saint Cupcake features scrumptious fresh-baked cupcakes (including vegan options); and celebrated “pastry luncheonette” Maurice offers sweets, spices and Scandinavian flavor in unexpected treats like black pepper cheesecake.. Just down the street, renowned sandwich purveyor Lardo is settled into a second brick-and-mortar incarnation since its days as a celebrated food cart. In summer 2013, Lardo chef Rick Gencarelli also opened adjacent fresh pasta-focused Grassa, focusing on fine-dining-quality pasta in a more casual dining atmosphere.

    Across the street, Cheryl’s on 12th offers accessible homestyle cooking and a chocolate-caramel tart worthy of repeat visits. Meanwhile, John Gorham’s much anticipated Tasty n Alder features the famed restaurateur’s signature small plates with Korean and Mexican twists. Farmers market favorite Petunia’s Pies & Pastries opened a bakery café, bringing owner Lisa Clark’s splendid gluten-free sweets and savories (as well as coffee, cocktails and local gluten-free beer) to her fans from morning ‘til night.

    Grüner – and connecting bar Kask – serves its take on “cozy alpine cuisine” and stellar handcrafted cocktails. The food and drink power team of Nate Tilden and Jeffrey Morganthaler is behind the acclaimed Clyde Common at the stylish Ace Hotel; stop by the subterranean speakeasy Pepe le Moko in the same spot for throwback drinks and bites from the same team. Looking for something even cozier? Across the street in the Union Way shopping arcade, Boxer Ramen serves up steaming bowls of Japanese noodle soups.


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