Looks like an updated coffee shop, like Denny's might be if it's were a little nicer. But I dare say that you're likely to have a better dining experience at Denny's: it'll be faster, cheaper, and the food will taste better. And you won't have to stir your coffee with a knife.
True, you won't be able to order espresso at Denny's (or can you?).
Where should I begin? We saw the Under new Management sign, and came in. There was one other table; otherwise, the large restaurant was empty. We were seated at a table that had some maple syrup smeared on it, probably from the day before.
Prices range from $4-$15 for breakfast (they also offer lunch and dinner), and the menu seemed pretty typical: omelets, french toast, pancakes. We ordered chicken fried steak & a green-chili/cheese omelet, with coffee.
The coffee was okay, nothing worth seeking out. The cream came in darigold half-n-half tubs. And while the table was pre-set with napkins and flatware, there are no spoons, which explains why everyone who used cream used their knife to stir it in.
And so began our long wait for food. Perhaps the waitress didn't put the order in? Perhaps the cook went out to buy ingredients? No explanation was offered, but we managed to drink several cups of coffee slowly while we waited.
Finally, our food came out. The omelet was not over or undercooked, though it was made in a very small pan which made the egg very thick. There were a lot of green chilis in the omelet. It was served with a sea of home fries and two halved pieces of toast.
The home fries were actually pretty good. Not crisp, but done in the middle. The toast was typical sliced bread, served with a variety of tubs of jams and marmalades.
The chicken fried steak was very good, and good sized, but it was covered with some non-descript gravy studded with largish chunks of sausage, ham and bacon. Somehow, all of the flavor of the meat had somehow been removed, but still, the gravy was better than a lot of sausage gravy in town, just not a lot of flavor or umph there.
It's the little things that make the experience, though. The waitresses who all talked loudly as if the restaurant was empty. The overly sweet ketchup that comes in ramekins. The sprinkled parsley that is not only all over the food, but also on the toast and orange slices.
As we were finishing our meals, people started to come in. One couple asked the waitress directly about the management change. It has the same owner... but the old manager quit. So now they have a new manager.
We chatted with them for a couple of minutes. A transformer had blown, knocking out power in a lot of North Portland, and it apparently had fried their new big screen TV. There were a number of smaller calamities as well, and they were clearly going out to eat to change their fortunes. I didn't want to tell them to run, run far away, and I also didn't want to be there when their food came.