Going out for breakfast has become part of the cultural fabric of Portland neighborhoods. Exploring breakfast places is a great way to get a sense of the neighborhood vibe. So our breakfast explorations took us to Zell’s on SE Morrison in the Buckman neighborhood.
The area was crowded but we were able, with some patience, to find some on-street parking. Having successfully revived my parallel parking skills, I was off to the inviting corner café only a block from where I parked. The tall windows let in the autumn light as well as gave diners a great view of the rainstorm that day.
Patrons sat at wooden tables or at the busy counter. A chalkboard let us know the specials of the day. Pumpkin buttermilk pancakes were appropriate for the season.
Zell’s is well known for their eggs benedict. The traditional Bay’s English muffin, Canadian bacon, hollandaise sauce, served with potatoes is what most order. Or, try it Florentine style and substitute spinach and tomato for Canadian bacon. The adventurous will try their baked salmon benedict.
I was intrigued with the German pancakes. I had enjoyed German potato pancakes in Leavenworth, but I was warned these were not made with potatoes!
Beverage orders were taken and two hot-out-of-the-oven scones came with butter and jam. They were light and biscuit-like.
The service was efficient and friendly. The waitress even offered to provide separate checks for our group of 10, which was a welcome gift.
Soon the food arrived. My German pancake had risen in the pan like a soufflé and was crusty on the edges. It was very different from the potato pancakes that accompanied varieties of wurst at dinnertime. It was light and moist and came dusted with powdered sugar. Other varieties came with seasonal fruit. Next time I’ll try the Apple German pancake as my choice was a bit plain. The Apple pancake is a sweet upside down version of the German Pancake. Granny Smith apples caramelized with cinnamon sugar, are topped with batter and then baked. It comes sprinkled with powdered sugar.
I heard the pumpkin pancakes were delicious. It didn’t take long to finish our socializing and pay the bills. Soon, we were out in the Portland rain, and headed back to our cars.
Zell’s has a nice ambiance and the staff handle seating well. The food is good and the menu creative. They serve breakfast and lunch as well as cocktails such as a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. I’d imagine that there would be lines out the door on weekends. But then that is part of the Portland weekend social life.
1300 SE Morrison St., Portland, OR
Open Weekdays 7am-2pm; Weekends 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Closed on Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas