On the corner of Pine and 3rd, just over the river on the West side sits this humble cafe. It opened St. Patty's day in 1978 and not a whole lot as changed since. Bijou was among some of the first cafes in Portland to stress the importance of locally raised and organic ingredients. Nowadays you have to search high and low for a restaurant that doesn't claim this mantra, but still they lead the pack.
The insides of the restaurant were unassuming, old walls and scaffolding but dressed with more modern art. There was the classic "pet wall" where all the regulars bring pics of their pooches and felines, along with some other oddities.
For a Saturday morning, we were expecting a line all the way down to Voo Doo Donuts, but were pleasantly seated immediately. Our waitress was slightly abrupt, but we're getting used to that- the unsaid truth about the Portland restaurant scene is: food is great, service comes second. She warmed up eventually.
The menu at first glance is a little shocking- Bacon and Eggs for $9? But the quality of ingredients was dually noted. Bread from local bakeries, bacon from local butchers, eggs from local farmers and the list goes on. And you can taste the nearness in the food.
Chris enjoyed the Brioche French Toast, bread from the Pearl Bakery, loved city-wide for its quality.
I ordered the smoked goat cheddar omelette's with bacon and green onions. The cheese was out of this world good. Sometimes the sharpness of a smoked cheese can overwhelm a simple egg dish, but this one elevated the bacon perfectly.
I will note that it took about 35 minutes for our food to come out. But with everything made fresh to order, and quality of the food - once our bellies were full, we didn't think twice about the wait.
Indeed, the classic Portland experience.