Keep Portland weird. We Portlanders proudly proclaim this slogan as a way of life, as a mantra, heck, we treat it as a calling. Whether we are looking for something outdoorsy to do, looking for a place to eat, a place to stay or a place to hang, weirdness is never far from our minds, nor from our hearts and motivations. It’s something we take pride in, something we even enjoy in the form of parody and satire (ala, Portlandia). Weird. It’s what we are.
So, in keeping with my constant efforts to keep the weirdness alive, I set out to find some of the weirdest eateries in and around Portland. One that I came across was The American Local on southeast Division Street.
Of course, like any weirdness, there is a story that goes along with the American Local.
Lifelong chef Chris Whaley has dedicated his life to cooking and has been everywhere from New York to Las Vegas to finally gracing us with his culinary skills here in Portland, Oregon. Drawn by Oregon’s exceptional access to foragers, farmers, and fish, chef Whaley is devoted to using these vastly esteemed ingredients in an accessible way for friends and neighbors looking for a welcoming week-night dinner.
Whereas Chris new from a young age what he wanted to do, Jenny Nickolaus took some time to give in to the culinary bug that followed from her native California, where she started in pizza kitchens all the way to Western Culinary Institute, right here in Portland. Her skills lie in front of house management and these skills are evident with the efficiency and friendliness of her service.
As a whole, “The American Local is the culmination of years of driving, dining and drinking all over the United States and up and down the West Coast, looking for the best recipes and inspiration. Their goal is clean, flavorful, every day drinking food for the working man (and woman) featuring distinctively West Coast ingredients like Oregon-grown espellette peppers or Ota tofu.”
So, what’s weird about the American Local? Nothing really… and that’s what’s so strange. This uniquely Portland restaurant, with a huge variety of food (from salmon tartar to juicy hamburgers) is just a classy, sophisticated restaurant. From the inviting art on the walls, to the tall ceilings and cozy layout, the American Local is just a rock solid choice that is sure to please everybody… and the prices will have you smiling too.
The American Local is open for dinner only and is located at 3003 SE Division in Portland, Oregon. You won’t regret going there, even if it isn’t as “Weird” as some other joints out there. For more information, visit www.theamericanlocal.com.