When we residents of Portland, Oregon picture the American South, we picture large wrap-around porches, white picket fences, mossy trees, and screen doors leading into kitchens. These squeaky screen doors are woefully inept at containing the delectable aromas famously wafting in from those fabulous southern kitchens. The restaurant Screen Door on North Burnside in Portland, Oregon seeks to bring this cozy, familiar, and delicious southern setting to those of us living in the Pacific Northwest—and who better to do so than the Southern natives of the owners of Screen Door.
“Screen Door presents a celebration of southern cuisine…from the quintessential hearty fare to the everyday foods gathered fresh from the garden.” Screen Door brings local flair to their brand of southern cooking by sourcing their foods from local farms—much of which is also organic. “Screen Door is a part of maintaining the connection between farm and plate and simultaneously presenting a revival of regional American cuisine through the historical methodologies and preparations found in the South.”
In essence, these traditional dishes (ranging from the traditional southern faire of South Carolina and Georgia to the Creole and French Soul Food of New Orleans) remain true to their origins but provide a distinctly Northwestern twist, a true melding of the culinary cultures.
Soul food and southern cooking is comfort food. These are the foods we turn to when we want to feel better, when we want to recall childhood, when we want to feel full and satisfied—even if we’ve never eaten these foods before. From mashed potatoes to grits, from fried chicken to fried catfish, from succotash to collard greens—these are the dishes that we have heard of, but not all of us have tried. Screen Door provides Portland, Oregon residents and tourists with the opportunity to experience this southern flair in an authentic culinary setting—and with the bonus of not sitting in uncomfortable, sticky humidity.
My wife and I try to make it a habit to visit Screen Door a few times a year. It’s affordable, scrumptious and provides numerous menu options. On our most recent trip, my wife and I decided to share a plate. We ordered the trout pecan (which comes with an amazing Creole Mustard and a side of fingerling potatoes) along with bacon collard greens and cornbread. The food was divine, the service was superb and the bill was surprisingly low. It was a nice, affordable night out and we left satisfied with our food and each other.
If you have never experienced real southern cooking, or just want a fun night out with robust and succulent cuisine, Screen Door is the place for you. Yes, the food may come with the danger of adding some meat to your bones, but it’s sure going to satisfy and delight your taste buds. It’s going to leave you feeling like a resident of the Deep South and longing for simpler times when folks cared about the food and created it with love and grace.
Screen Door chefs Derek Saner and Matthew Howard invite you into their kitchen for a little southern cooking. Will you oblige them?
Screen Door is located at 2337 East Burnside Street Portland, OR 97214-1655. They serve Dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30-10, on Sunday and Monday from 5:30-9 and brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am until 2:30 PM. Open the Screen Door and make yourself at home.