Zell’s Cafe – 7/28/13


Zell’s Cafe
1300 SE Morrison St.
Portland, 97214

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Neighborhood Cafe

We parked off Burnside with the intention of eating at Le Pigeon but I failed to look and see that they are only open for Dinner starting at 5pm so I pulled up “NESS” an app I’ve begun using to find decent restaurants to see what showed in the area. A couple bakeries popped up first but then I saw .8 miles away was Zell’s Cafe which I recognized from past brunch hunts. I asked if Carly felt up to a 10 minute neighborhood walk and she agreed so long as it didn’t suddenly get get longer which I have been guilty of in the past. The walk was a nice one and before long we arrived at Zell’s where about 10 people were lingering out front waiting to be seated. I scribbled our name down on the sign in sheet and then got Carly to stroll once more around the neighborhood while we waited for the wait to thin. At the end of our lap around the neighborhood and one street over we realized we were right outside of Roost the first restaurant I blogged about in January. I guessed that we still had about a 5 minute wait when we returned to check the list but were ushered in pretty quickly and sat down at a small table right in front of the hostess stand at the back. The chalkboard had a dozen decent items that were on special one of which “the reuben scramble” our waitress recommended as her choice from everything else. Carly elected to get a bacon waffle with a side of fruit and beforehand we could ask about the scones everyone seemed to be savoring two plates of our very own showed up accompanied by little dishes of strawberry jam. We hungrily munched on the scones which were fluffier than expected and complimented nicely by the jam and our hot tea & coffee. The interior space is once big square with the kitchen at the back end and a small bar across the right interior wall opposite the entry, many old black and white photos hung on the wall showing off the neighborhood through the years. Our meals arrived in only a few minutes, shockingly fast considering how busy they were but I guess they take the word “cafe” & “speedy service” very much to heart. Carly’s waffle at first glance didn’t look like it would be enough for a full meal but after trying a bite I realized just how filling it could be since they stuffed at least 4 ounces of savory bacon inside not to mention the large bowl of fresh fruit she also received. My Reuben scramble sandwich also featured a small pile of potatoes and a side of sauerkraut which I tried to cram inside the already stuffed egg sandwich to no avail. After about 4 bites I gave up trying to eat the sandwich in the traditional fashion and switched to slicing it up with my knife and fork which I found much easier and less messy. The flavors were fantastic and the kraut, eggs, pastrami and marble rye went excellent together and were more than enough to satisfy, but I still ended up with the remaining few bites of Carly’s waffle which she could only eat 2/3rds of.


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The place was super busy when we first arrived so we only saw our waitress a couple times but sh did refill my coffee at least a couple times.
3.5 stars

One big square room with the kitchen at the back
3 stars

JUst because it looks like a sandwich doesn’t mean you have to eat it like one.
4 stars


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