Inspired by Black Business Month and the Bay Area’s Black Restaurant Day, Portland’s annual Support Black-Owned Restaurants Week event takes place every August and encourages patrons to visit Portland’s more than 80 Black-owned eateries. But don’t worry if you missed this year’s dates (Aug. 26–Sept. 1, 2019) — these restaurants are worth a visit any day of the year!
Deadstock Coffee & Gallery
Old Town Chinatown has become a hub for creative people of color, and Deadstock Coffee brings a much-needed caffeine boost to the scene. With a duel focus on sneakers and coffee, the café was founded by former Nike employee Ian Williams as a space to showcase art and hang out with fellow “sneakerheads.” Boasting an ever-changing menu, Deadstock is conveniently located near sneaker consignment store IndexPDX, streetwear boutique Compound Gallery and hip retailer Upper Playground.
Passersby are often lured into Northeast Alberta’s Gojo Ethiopian after catching a whiff of their spicy lamb, beef and veggie wats (stews). Never experienced Ethiopian food before? Expect spoonfuls of several traditional dishes (including ample vegan options) served atop a large sourdough flatbread known as injera, made from gluten-free teff flour. It’s customary to use your right hand to eat your meal, and to end the evening with a cozy cup of cinnamon tea.
Olive or Twist
Swanky Pearl District bar Olive or Twist is a great place to grab an elegant cocktail, martini or glass of rosé. Relax on a comfortable couch inside the bar or outside on the breezy patio as you nibble on small plates and snacks such as bruschetta, curried potato wedges and rock lobster ceviche. Craving something sweet? Indulge in a molten “chocolate sinkhole” or a dessert martini made with Bend Distillery’s hazelnut espresso vodka.
Jamaican Homestyle Cuisine
One of the few of its kind in the Portland area, North Killingsworth Street’s Jamaican Homestyle Cuisine is a friendly spot to grab excellent and authentic Jamaican dishes such as oxtail, curry goat and jerk salmon served with rice, beans, vegetables and fried plantains. Customers can wash it all down with Jamaican ginger beer or Ting, a grapefruit-flavored carbonated beverage that’s popular in the Caribbean.
A bright yellow food truck parked on North Vancouver Avenue, Stoopid Burger was voted best burger in Portland in June 2016. Known for their extensive (and sometimes ridiculous) burger options — like the Ignorant Burger, which includes five kinds of meat, two kinds of cheese, a fried egg and garnishes — the cart also offers po’ boy baskets, chili cheese Fritos and their signature grape-flavored Stoopid Juice.
Po’Shines Cafe De la Soul
With a shelf of board games lining the front entrance, Po’Shines Café offers a true community feel. Try the zesty bayou breakfast burrito, which is filled with eggs, blackened catfish, white beans and melted cheese. Don’t leave without a plate of piping hot beignets: delicate, sugary, perfectly fried dough squares that let out impressive gusts of steam as you rip into them.
Kee’s Loaded Kitchen
A silver trailer food cart parked on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Kee’s Loaded Kitchen has earned a loyal fan base for its full “loaded lunch,” which includes an entrée, several home-cooked sides, a drink and a dessert. Whether it’s beef enchiladas, flank steak, shrimp salad, green beans or a slice of New York cheesecake, Kee’s cooking always has a special touch. Check the cart’s Facebook page for the current menu, which changes daily, and make sure to arrive early; the cart almost always sells out before closing time.
Inside an eye-catching yellow building on Northeast MLK Boulevard, Akadi Chef Fatou Ouattara cooks up flavorful West African dishes she learned to cook as a child in Cote d’Ivoire. The mural-lined walls and kente cloth-covered tables provide a warm welcome into Ouattara’s homey West African dining spot. If you’re a meat-eater, check out Akadi’s beef suya or the true West African specialty of slow-cooked goat meat in a spiced tomato stew. Vegan and vegetarian options are just as packed with flavor (the tofu suya plate features grilled tofu marinated in a housemade kankankan spice, along with a sweet fried plantain that could have you ordering seconds within the first bite). Stews come with rice or fufu, a soft dough made from pounded yams (the fufu is the way to go).
Black Star Grill
Named after Ghana’s national soccer team, Black Star Grill is one of just a few Portland spots where you can find one of the greatest culinary gifts of West African cuisine: jollof rice. This spiced tomato and rice dish is a highly revered West African specialty, and it’s also the base for Black Star’s build-your-own bowls. Add your choice of meat or veggies, carrot cabbage slaw, black-eyed pea stew or sweet fried plantain to any dish. If spice is not your friend, start with the simple brown rice option and pile on the flavor with added toppings.
Any night of the week, you can enjoy a delicious, flavor-packed meal at E’Njoni, a cozy Ethiopian spot in North Portland. For the full experience, visit E’Njoni’s all-day, all-you-can eat brunch buffet, offered only on weekends. Boasting a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options — including their unrivaled timtimo (red lentils in berbere sauce) — this buffet is equally satisfying and affordable. Plates run at $15 for all the food you could possibly want to consume on a leisurely Sunday afternoon.
In an intimate bungalow just off Southeast Clinton Street, Abyssinian Kitchen serves up a full menu of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. Vegans and vegetarians, try the beyaynetu: a sampler of stewed yellow split peas, spicy red lentils and tangy collard greens. Don’t expect the massive table-sized sampler platters common to most Ethiopian eateries. Instead, Abyssinian serves modestly sized plates, with satisfying portions and truly impeccable flavor. Good news for those with gluten allergies who might normally miss out on the joys of injera: Abyssinian Kitchen makes a version with 100% gluten-free teff flour.
Opened in 1989, Marrakesh is the go-to spot for a traditional Moroccan tagine in Portland. Tapestry-adorned walls and elaborate decor set the stage for a multi-course prix fixe menu. Start with b’stilla royale (puff pastry stuffed with beef or chicken, scrambled egg and crushed almonds), yellow lentil soup and fresh salad with homemade bread. That’s followed by a flavorful tagine of your choice, such as lambm’rouzia stewed in honey, nutmeg, and roasted almonds. Round off the meal with hot tea and a decadent dessert, like homemade baklava, fresh fruit salad or milk pudding. If the five-course Marrakesh Royal Feast Dinner feels like too much, you can also order a la carte. Try the tagine of chicken, honey and prunes or the spicy lamb with peas and roasted potatoes in tomato cumin garlic sauce.
Enat Kitchen is an Ethiopian spot distinguished by its wide variety of meat, fish and vegetarian and vegan options. For the flavor-curious, vegetable and meat combo platters provide a taste of everything. Veggie combos include crowd-pleasing favorites like the kik key wot (split peas cooked with onion, ginger, and garlic in a berbere sauce) and buticha (ground chickpeas mixed with lemon juice, diced onions and jalapeño). If you’re in the mood for a single entree, try the Enat special: a plate of minced beef with jalapeño, butter, mitmita spice, ayib (cheese curd) and stewed collard greens. Enat offers a modest selection of Ethiopian beers, such as the acclaimed Hakim Stout and the sweet and malty Bedele.