Portland >Food & Dining > Blue Plate Llc
308 SW Washington St, Portland, OR | Directions 9720445.519624 -122.675175
Neighborhoods: Neighbors West - Northwest, Downtown
Normally I like a lot of variety in my restaurant life, but I’m perfectly content to get the same thing time and time again at this tiny downtown diner—the signature grilled cheese with tomato soup. It’s nothing short of perfect, particularly when paired with one of their seasonal milkshakes.
Great place! I went in on a Friday at 12:30 so I had to wait about 15 minutes for a table, not a big deal. The restaurant is small and they were very busy, but I did not feel rushed at all. The waiter took time to answer any and all questions about the menu and the soda fountain drink menu. The food was delicious; the mashed potatoes were my favorite. Soda fountain drinks were good too. I will defiantly be back to Blue Plate.
BluePlate is awesome – I've been to the BluePlate many times, as it is close to my work. Food is consistently great. The owner/manager/cook has a true knack for making somewhat ordinary diner plates extraordinary.
Not a good place to have a business lunch – I attempted to have a business lunch at the Blue Plate today. The food came quickly (which is good), but so did the bill. When my client and I tried to continue our discussion after cleaning off our plates, we were asked to leave so they could free up the table for others. I can understand the reasoning, but it was a little embarrasing given that I was hosting the client (the Blue Plate was my idea) and we were forced to to take our conversation outside into the rain. Bummer. Don't get me wrong, this is a great place if you need to grab a quick bite with a buddy, but I really don't recommend entertaining clients here.
Slider/Milkshake Heaven – I'm not sure why some of the other reviewers for this restaurant had complaints about the service. Perhaps they mistook "busy" for "rude". There was just the owner and two waitresses when I went, and they didn't have a lot of time to stop and say "hi" and seat you and chat you up. I didn't mind this, it meant that I got my food faster.
As for some of the 1-star reviews that I've read for this restaurant: the owner must have hired different girls, because that's the only explanation for the 180-degree difference between their stories and mine.
I happened to arrive at 12pm, which as it turns out is their single busiest time of the day. So I had to wait about 30 minutes for a table. But once we got seated the service was quick and friendly. But not over-friendly in a fake way: I appreciated that. The waitresses were quick and efficient.
The food...oh, the food. The sliders were so good, and the sauce on it was so tasty, that I didn't need to eat it with ketchup. And I always eat burgers with ketchup. The chocolate malt was so good that I just couldn't stop drinking it once I started. Addictive. I almost had to order another one.
DO NOT LISTEN TO THE BAD REVIEWS FOR BLUEPLATE. It was fantastic. Besides, if it's good enough for Guy from the Food Channel to show up there, it is in the top 1% of all food joints in the United States.
Tried it for the first time, don't think I will go back. – I was really craving a chocolate malt so I googled soda fountains in portland and found blueplate. It was really close to my work so I thought i would give it a try. I walked in and the waitress (who did not look too happy that she was working) asked me to take a seat. I told her that I just wanted a drink to go. I asked for a chocolate mint malt and she told me they didn't have mint. Ok, no big deal...I ordered vanilla milkshakes. The cook (who was very nice) told me they only carry mint at xmas. I waited a few minutes for my milkshake, paid and walked out. My issue with this place is that the waitress never once smiled or treated me like a valued customer. Perhaps she was having a bad day? I don't know, but I don't think I will be back.
Updated: Second trip – I am normally a big fan of both diners and places with daily specials, but my recent lunch at Blue Plate left me completely underwhelmed.
Their drink menu is certainly impressive, with a number of interesting in-house sodas, shakes, and even sweet tea. Their food menu is a bit sparse, consisting of two rotating dishes and a couple other mainstays. Picky eaters should check out the daily specials beforehand.
My lunch choice was one of their specials, what was essentially a french dip. Their sandwiches were cooked on a couple of consumer-level griddles, possibly the Presto griddles available at most department stores for around $20-$40. This may have been the reason my sandwich was not the most pleasant experience - the meat was tough and bland, and the bread may have simply been a store-bought hoagie roll. The sandwich was edible, but not something I would order again. The mashed potatoes alongside it were better than fast food or instant potatoes, but need some seasoning.
I also tried the butterscotch shake, which ended up as a vanilla shake with some butterscotch syrup glued to the side of the glass. The shakes are a bit pricy, at $4 for a small and $6 for a large, but the small was easily enough to satisfy. I wish I had instead opted for one of their interesting sodas.
While I did not have a bad experience with customer service, I understand the complaints here. There are only two employees who take care of everything from cooking to washing dishes to cleaning tables and handling the register. While not rude, they did not exactly seem friendly either, likely due to the frantic pace they keep during busy times.
As a whole, the place seems like it wants to be an old-time diner, but is really hurt by a lack of initial financing. It could be a great place with an actual kitchen and a couple more staff members. As it stands now, I will probably give it a second chance but it is not somewhere I would show off to friends or out-of-towners.
Update: Went back a week ago for the meatloaf sandwich on a Friday - much better overall experience. There was a third employee there so the service was better and seemed a little more relaxed, plus the sandwich was fantastic. Glad I gave it another shot, and will be back to try a few more items.
Simple Yet Tasty! – I was scared off for quite awhile of trying this place because of all the "unfriendly" reviews. The menu/feel though looked exactly like what I typically like and its so close that I eventually did try it and was not dissapointed! The staff was a bit quiet but not unfriendly at all to me, in fact I saw someone compliment the food and engage in a 5 min conversation w/ the cook sharing recipe tips and food history. The food was good, warm, filling, tasty. I like to get the Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup, and if Im extra hungry its only $2 to add on a slider. It's a simple lunch counter/soda shop w/basic fare and the staff was just fine. I can see where if you had very high customer service expectations you could have a problem, as they don't always greet and act super overly friendly like I see so many servers in chain restaurants acting. For a real, simple tasty experience though, Blueplate was just the ticket.
Drink your lunch – Milkshakes have often taken precedence over eating in my visits to this little retro sodashop. Although, the food at blueplate is also really good. The meatloaf is tasty and hearty. The blt salad is good and filling, an anomaly for downtown lunch spots. The first shake I got here had marshmallow whipped creme, but since then I don't think I've had the same yummy topping. I guess that's okay since the shakes, sodas, and specialty oldtime sodashop favorites are always a great way to waste some calories! Oh, and the service is really friendly. Yup, this place is a great place for lunch.
A blemish on our friendly city reputation – Bummed. That's what I was after my third attempt at Blueplate. I've never been treated so rudely and I'm still at a loss as to why. I've been working downtown for two years and am always looking for that "spot." You know, the place where "everyone knows your name" and they don't even have to ask for your order because they already know what it always is. I was starting to feel as if it was something about me they didn't like...but after reading everyone else's comments, it seems it's just the owner and his one staff person have a bit of an entitlement issue. Portland has always impressed me with its local shops and friendly attitude but Blueplate is a blemish on our fine reputation. No matter how good their sundaes. No matter how warming their grilled cheese and tomato. I cannot...I REFUSE...to ever step foot inside that establishment again. It seems they will never know my name.
Three strikes, you're out! – I wish I could recommend this restaurant; it has so much potential, but I just can't. I have tried this lunch spot three times and each time I leave feeling bit offended at the appauling service. To the server, "Tipping is still based on service right?" and to "Chef Jeff", "Lose the tude, dude"! The food is great and the atmosphere is just charming but anyone who knows a thing about business knows that customer seervice is key, Blue Plate just doesn' get it. Grilled cheese will only get you so far.
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