Screen Door restaurant without lines? Fried chicken breakfasts and lunch every day? The answer is yes. Today, Thursday, we actually made a group reservation for a comfort food breakfast at Screen Door on Burnside and found that there were no lines at all. Everyone got in as soon as they arrived.
Screen Door has been known for insane lines half way around the block. The wait was always worth it, of course. Southern fried food and Cajun dishes, a huge cut above what you experienced in the South, is their forte. But don’t despair as the quantities and creativity are still there, even without a wait, on weekdays.
The restaurant, which celebrated 10 years in Portland this past August, added daytime hours in response to customer demand. They recently added a lunch menu with more than a dozen southern-influenced sandwiches, like muffalettas and po’boys. They do their best to use locally sourced foods and always have some vegetarian options on the menu. Today, it was a veggie frittata.
The frittata looked good and so did the special peach and berry shortcake but the fame of their fried chicken had preceded our visit and many in our party were looking forward to having a dish including the chicken. I opted for the chicken biscuit sandwich. The huge boneless southern-fried chicken breast was artfully balanced between two biscuit halves. I chose pan-fried potatoes which were seasoned to my taste (delightfully spicy) and asked for the gravy (excellent) on the side. Other options were cheesy grits and regular grits.
As is typical of Screen Door, the portions were very large so I took the remainder of my meal home for a later repeat. I was glad I chose the chicken. Everyone was right… it is the best. The batter was well seasoned and light. The chicken was moist and not over-cooked.
Screen Door’s cuisine is based on southern comfort food but takes it to the next level. Hush Puppies contain bacon and cheddar cheese and are topped with Creole cane syrup. Where in the South have you ever tasted a hush puppy (fried corn meal ball) like that?
The wait staff is friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. I was hungry for chicken and a biscuit and my waiter led me to the chicken sandwich, a great choice.
So right now, there is no wait for the weekday breakfast/lunch menu. If you consider standing in line as part of your social life, you can still do that on weekends. And, in the future, there might just be a line on weekdays.
It’s that good.
Screen Door: 2337 E Burnside St., Portland, 503-542-0880
Monday – Friday: Breakfast/Lunch 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m and Dinner 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Brunch from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Dinner 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m