This Historic Restaurant Has Been A Local Favorite For Oregonians Since 1903

besaws portland oregon
David Greer / Google Local

If you're looking for a truly Oregonian dining experience, look no further than Besaw's. This local hotspot is known for its commitment to showcasing the best flavors of the region, offering up a menu that's carefully crafted with locally sourced ingredients and bursting with Pacific Northwest charm. Whether you're craving classic comfort food or eager to explore new culinary horizons, Besaws has something special in store for you.

Good food is always a surefire way to make an impression. For over 100 years, Besaw's in Portland, Oregon has been delighting visitors and locals alike with its charming turn-of-the-century decor and mouthwateringly delicious food. An easygoing neighborhood cafe, this place makes for a great stop at any time of the day. Even so, it is well known for its breakfast fare, and you may have to wait in line to sample the eggs Benedict.

A great selection of options ensures every diner is satisfied, including airy pancakes and scrambled eggs scrumptious with whatever's fresh that day. Regular specials are also good alternatives.

Since 1903, this timeless eatery has served up its renowned dishes - from wild caught Columbia River Salmon to classic Frankfurter Sandwiches -and there's a good reason why they've been around so long!

For any foodie visiting or living in the area, Besaw’s is the place to go for delectable eats and drinks in a classic atmosphere that you won't soon forget. Located in the trendy Alphabet District, Besaw's has become a staple in the local dining scene, offering a unique blend of history, atmosphere, and exceptional cuisine.

Do you love Oregon?

Sign up for monthly emails full of local travel inspiration and fun trip ideas. In each newsletter we'll share upcoming events, new things to do, hot dining spots and great travel ideas.

A Rich History At Besaw's

Besaw's has a rich history that dates back over a century. Having spent years in the woods as loggers, French-Canadian lumberjacks George Besaw Jr. and Medric Liberty decided to take on a different kind of enterprise - one with drinks instead of trees! With help from Henry Weinhard's generous contribution, they opened up "Besaw & Liberty" saloon at NW 23rd and Savier Street back in 1903.

After Prohibition took effect, however, Businessman Medric chose not to stick around; he sold his half interest so that George could keep serving cold ones for all who needed it during such trying times!

besaws historic photo portland
The original buildilng, courtesy of Besaw's

At the turn of the century, Besaw's Saloon made a major shift in hospitality when they removed alcohol from their menu and replaced it with home-style meals to suit all budgets. From thick sandwiches piled high with ham - dubbed 'truck driver' specials - to hearty navy bean soup for longshoremen alike, the newly minted Solo Club was frequented by working folk looking for an affordable fill.

After four decades of operation, George Besaw's son Clyde inherited the famed bespoke establishment. With Prohibition abolished, what was once known as 'Solo Club' reverted back to its original name; and with that came a return flow from taps - Weinhard beer. But if conversations were kept for too long between Clyde and customers, he had implemented an ingenious solution in order to keep things running smoothly: rubber bands around tap handles triggered them shut upon distraction!

He protested when The Oregonian threatened to give him a good review for serving the city's "biggest and juiciest sandwiches." As a blue collar guy, he preferred making honest meals for blue collar guys with names like Yakima Jim, Scappoose Joe and Jungle Jaimie. "God sake don't write anything about me!" he scolded journalist Ralph Friedman. "I don't want publicity. ... You put in something about me I'll have all those rich people come here. I don't want foreigners. I just want the people from Slabtown, the working stiffs who live close around here."

The restaurant has had many different guises over the years, including diner, soda fountain, brunch cafe, and even reopened in a glitzy new space in 2016 after being evicted from its previous location. The new location, just a few blocks away, features a spacious and modern interior, while still retaining the charm and character of the original restaurant.

Due to the pandemic, both Besaw and Solo Club were closed. Following the distribution of vaccines, both locations reopened briefly, but the restaurant closed indefinitely again after the pandemic. There was uncertainty about the restaurant's future.

Over the years, Besaw's has gone through several changes in ownership and location, but it has remained a beloved institution in the Portland dining scene. After a lengthy closure, Besaw's has once again opened their doors to the public.

Exceptional Cuisine

Besaw's is known for its exceptional cuisine, particularly its breakfast and brunch offerings.

Kurt Bosch / Google Local

The menu features a variety of classic breakfast dishes, such as pancakes, waffles, and eggs Benedict, as well as unique and creative options, such as their famous French toast made with thick slices of challah bread dipped in a vanilla and cinnamon-infused batter.

Salem ASlSalem / Google Local

For those looking for something savory, Besaw's offers a range of egg dishes, including the popular "Green Eggs and Ham," made with poached eggs, spinach, prosciutto, and hollandaise sauce.

Jordan T homas / Google Local

The restaurant also features a rotating selection of seasonal specials, highlighting the best ingredients of the Pacific Northwest.

besaw's portland oregon
Blakely Thomas / Google Local

Beyond breakfast, Besaw's also offers a range of lunch and dinner options. The menu includes salads, sandwiches, burgers, and entrees such as grilled salmon and steak fries. Their delicious Besaw's Burger comes on a brioche bun, lathered with tasty Besaw's burger sauce, and a patty topped with Tillamook cheddar, red onions, pickles, and iceberg lettuce.

Ron Dollete / Flickr

The restaurant also offers a selection of craft cocktails, local beers, and a carefully curated wine list.

And if you miraculously still have room for dessert, feast your eyes upon this delightful treat. Who could turn down cake like this?

A Warm and Inviting Atmosphere

Besaw's warm and inviting atmosphere is part of what makes it such a beloved spot in Portland. The new location features a spacious and modern interior, with large windows that let in plenty of natural light. The decor is a blend of classic and contemporary, with original elements such as the brick walls and wooden beams mixed with modern lighting and fixtures.

Besaw's / Google Local

The restaurant also features a large outdoor patio, perfect for enjoying brunch on a sunny Portland day. The patio is heated and covered, so diners can enjoy the space year-round.

Community Engagement

Besaw's is committed to giving back to the community that has supported it for over a century. The restaurant has partnered with several local organizations, including the Oregon Food Bank and the Children's Cancer Association, to raise money and awareness for important causes.

Besaw's has also made sustainability a priority, using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible, and implementing eco-friendly practices in their daily operations.

Hours

Wednesday-Sunday, 9am-3pm for brunch, and from 5pm-10pm for dinner on weekdays, 5pm-11pm on weekends

Location

Portland
1545 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209

503-228-2619

Menubesaws.com