Sunday, November 01, 2020 00:19

Country Bill’s Steakhouse (now closed), Portland Oregon

I wrote this per request and it appears to have fallen off the Internet. I’m bringing it back because I really liked this piece and this wonderful restaurant no longer exists.


There’s a subsection of Portland consisting of trendy, hipster, vegan, metrosexual, Pearl District-loving folks lampooned in the one episode of Portlandia that I watched (and hated). I do sometimes intersect with that slice of Portland but I absolutely don’t live there.

Instead, I gravitate towards the Portland that existed back when “My Own Private Idaho” and “Body of Evidence” were filmed here (two films that bookended my arrival into this fair city).

Country Bill’s Steakhouse is located out on a very non-trendy part of SE Woodstock (the hipsters have taken over Hawthorne & Division but haven’t moved this far south yet). On my most recent visit there (and probably on all my visits there), the average age in the dining room was about 60.

But is that a bad thing? Heck no. Their Baby Boomer clientele knows (with apologies to Dwight Jaynes) that Country Bill’s Steakhouse is the “place to meat” in Portland.

As you can see from the picture above, they offer a cut of prime rib that is absolutely mouthwatering…and this is the sort of place where you get your meat rare since everyone here is old enough to remember that undercooked beef is actually the most healthy way to serve it.
If they’ve happened to run out of prime rib, their several choice cuts of steak would be a fine alternative. Chicken is also offered here. If you’re a vegan, you can go graze on the grass at nearby Reed College.

Their drink menu tends towards Cosmopolitans and Manhattans. Many Portland hipsters are drinking Baby Boomer drinks nowadays…except at Country Bill’s, they’re made by sixty-something’s who probably partied at Vortex in their twenties (instead of in the Pearl District).

And the Décor?

Country Bill’s has the most authentic 70’s décor in Portland. Walking into the dining room is like walking onto a set of a John Cassevetes film, with the only the omnipresent cigarette smoke missing. If you want to know the sort of place your parents (or even your grandparents) would eat when they were your age, this is it.

In closing, there remain a few enclaves within the People’s Republic of Multnomah that, while still liberal, still cling to a traditional type of social traditionalism. If you wish to spend the evening in the company of people who have laid pipe instead of attaching all their Internet-enabled devices to it, Country Bill’s is the place to go.

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