Created in partnership with Portland in Color
Step off bustling Northeast Sandy Boulevard for a stroll in Roseway, one of the city’s coziest neighborhoods. (Fun fact: This square-shaped neighborhood once marked the edge of Portland’s city limits.)
Today, Roseway is a thriving, family-friendly community brimming with nonprofits, historic architecture and some great places to nosh. The bulk of homes in this area were constructed between 1920 and 1950, with many businesses having similarly deep roots here.
Where to Eat in Roseway
Ease into your morning in a booth at Annie’s Donut Shop, armed with the necessary fuel for a perfect morning: a pillowy sweet treat, hot black coffee and a newspaper to flip through. Take your pick from a variety of old fashioneds, crisp apple fritters and one of the best buttermilk bars in town — all while taking in the décor at this mom-and-pop shop, which feels pleasantly plucked out of 1975.
With so many restaurants packed into this neighborhood, it can be hard to settle on which ones to try, but the fare and service at La Parrilla make the choice easy. While they have plenty of plates to pick from, the enormous burritos are a customer favorite. The Oregon Burrito (made with grilled steak and potatoes) comes in a close second to the namesake La Parilla Burrito, which includes both juicy steak and peppery shrimp. Order a side of their housemade guacamole which comes blended, citrusy and sin tomato (without tomato). Finally, the aguas frescas — made daily from scratch — are a must. No laborious step in making these drinks is skipped, and the result is palpable. Try the fresh-squeezed orange juice, thick and cinnamon-forward rice horchata or the delicious tart and balanced hibiscus-flavored agua de jamaica.
For dinner, head to Mekha Restaurant, which serves dishes that taste like home (if your home is in Southeast Asia, that is). As the establishment specializes in dishes from Cambodia and Vietnam, you can take over your tabletop with aromatic bowls of pho, slightly sweetened turmeric rice, Phnom Penh noodle soup, caramelized chicken wings and so much more. (It’s no wonder chef Nong Poonsukwattana of Nong’s Khao Main Gai fame named Mekha her favorite local restaurant.)
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What to Do in Roseway
The historic Roseway Theater is one of the most iconic landmarks of this area. Erected in 1924 and in continuous operation as a theater since 1925, this independent venue plays second-run films with three screenings per day on its one sole screen. As modern, sprawling cinema chains continue to slice screening rooms in exchange for a wider selection of films, the Roseway Theater proudly offers its single screen equipped with 330 seats, lavish legroom and beautifully restored Art Deco design.
Sip on phosphate soda and malts and stock up on Teeny Tys (the next generation of Beanie Babies) at Fairley’s Pharmacy. In operation since 1913, this independent pharmacy and one of Oregon’s last working soda fountain counters. While soda fountains today typically equate to machines that dispense soft drinks, the soda fountain of yesteryear was commonplace in apothecaries where druggists would blend chilled, carbonated soda water with an assortment of syrups. Peruse relics of the shop’s apothecary origins, which are proudly on display alongside archival images of the institution.
Where to Shop in Roseway
Go ahead and mine the numerous, neatly packed, rotating display cases at Ed’s House of Gems, a rock enthusiast’s haven that has called Roseway home since 1956 (and in its current location since 1963). Although Ed, a rock hobbyist-turned-entrepreneur, passed away in 1999, the shop it still operated by his family, marking three generations in the business. Buy rocks, gems, geodes and crystals by the piece or pound, and take your passion to the next level with books, posters and more.
Stop by and enjoy dessert almost any time at Ohana Hawaiian Café, a family-owned restaurant that has been in business since 2005. In addition to Hawaiian-style shave ice and housemade haupia (airy coconut custard topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut shreds), you can pick from a rotating selection of pies, cakes and more, all of which are fresh-baked by co-owner Sandie Ho herself. Need something savory? Take a spam musubi (spam served sushi-style) for the road.
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