Portland >Food & Dining > Old Wives' Tales
1300 E Burnside St, Portland, OR | Directions 9721445.522765 -122.652486
Sun-Thu 8am-8pm; Fri-Sat 8am-9pm
Neighborhoods: Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, Buckman
I WOULD RATHER EAT AT MCDONALD'S – I would give this place less than a star, but I don't know how.
food is bland. decor is bland. general atmosphere is bland. waiter was nice...then he left and was replaced with a bland individual.
prices were really high too.
salad bar was bland.
basically don't go here. I cook all the time and I am better at it than the folks at old wive's tale. we should have stayed at home and eaten rocks instead of spending 21 dollars for bland burritos.
Waaaaaaaaay past its prime, if there ever was one – What the hell do I have against a salad bar? Call it childhood trauma. Years of growing up in a suburban bubble, gullet packed with Applebees and TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut and all the glories of middle americana. Only to grow up and learn that food..can actually be remarkable.
The existence of Old Wives tale is a reminder that some people still believe that global warming is a myth, that natural disasters are punishment for sin, and that the moon landing is a hoax. I want a restaurant to make me a salad that is better than the one I can plop together myself. I want my soup seasoned with bone stocks and herbs, not Sysco chicken base.
Please, for the love of God people. Let places like this move on to our quaint American history, like polling taxes and the feminine mystique.
Great food-good for kids – My family has dined at Old Wives' Tales since before i can remember. The kids' play room is terrific as is their kids menu. Their food is always yummy and well proportioned. They can seat large parties pretty easily and their wait staff is always great. You won't be dissapointed!
SUNDAY BRUNCH – This is where we like to meet friends for brunch on Sunday. It has a central location without the hassle of being downtown. And that increasingly rare-in-Portland commodity: lots of free parking. The brunch menu is large and both the servers and the kitchen are really on top of it--coffee keeps coming and before you know it, there's your food! Although it has long been a popular place, we rarely have difficulty getting seated right away because they have lots of tables in three dining rooms. If you call ahead, they can put together a table for 10 or 20 by the time you get there. So when we want to get together with one or two other families--no problem.
GREAT BREAKFAST WHENEVER YOU WANT IT – I've been having breakfast here several times a week for years. They have a big breakfast menu with some outstanding dishes you won't find anywhere else in town. I often get the oatmeal-cornmeal pancakes with their thick sliced applewood smoked bacon. They make their own spicy chicken sausage patties and when they have the roasted potato special with the chicken sausage, green chilies, jack cheese and sour cream, I always order that. I work different shifts at a nearby hospital, so I really like the fact that I can get breakfast just about whenever I want it, except very late at night after they close. This is a place that I can bring anyone I work with because there's also several tofu scramble dishes and there's even gluten-free toast and english muffins.
THE BEST HUNGARIAN MUSHROOM SOUP IN TOWN – If you eat at a lot of other Portland neighborhood restaurants you will notice that many places from time to time will have Hungarian Mushroom Soup on the menu. Since there is not otherwise much in the way of Hungarian food in Portland, you might wonder why. Well, those of us who have been making the rounds of Portland restaurants for the last 20 years have realized that it is because Old Wives' Tales has made Hungarian Mushroom Soup famous. They have served it daily for many years, and OWT has such a loyal following for this soup that lots of other restaurants have added it to their rotating daily soup specials. But if you really want the Hungarian Mushroom Soup peak experience, Old Wives' Tales is the place to come. They serve it daily and if you come here some morning for breakfast you can even see people ordering it in the morning, getting their Hungarian Mushroom fix long before lunch time. I buy a quart of it to take home, either to serve as is, or over egg noodles with beef -- shortcut to the best Stroganoff!
WIDE RANGING CHOICES – My favorite is the JAMBALAYA, which here at its simplest is a spicy vegan dish. At other Portland restaurants the jambalaya automatically is made with a chicken or seafood stock, and typically comes with pork sausage, chicken and shellfish already cooked into the dish, so you are locked into the chef's preferences. But at Old Wives' Tales you can add what you want, and as few or as many things as you want: prawns or other shellfish, spicy chicken sausage, salmon, other fish or some kind of cheese.
This is true of many of the entrees--you can choose the "protein" you prefer and whichever of the sauces or other special preparations that are on the menu that day.
SOUP AND SALAD BAR HEAVEN – We've been coming here a couple of times each week since we moved to Portland and read about their soups and salad bar in an Oregonian review. They have one of the few salad bars in town and they make everything fresh, including their own unique dressings (they have Garlic Asiago instead of everyone else's blue cheese, an Apple Dijon Vinaigrette and a wonderful oil-free Cucumber Ginger VInaigrette unlike any other dressing I have ever had, plus several others).
The Salad Bar is all-you-can-eat, but the soups are served by the cup or bowl, and although many people come here for the sour cream rich Hungarian Mushroom Soup, they always have several vegan, gluten-free soups, the most amazing being the Coconut Cauliflower Curry.
If you want "fast" food, you don't even have to wait for your server to take your order--just head for the soup and salad bar, which includes house-made corn muffins, multi-grain rolls, croutons & crackers and even rice cakes for people who can't eat gluten (or who like rice cakes, which I do!)
They also have organic chicken soup, but it is not on the soup bar. It is put together to your order in the kitchen, with a choice of vegetables and choice of either rosemary poached chicken or southwest spiced chicken. So you actually have a choice of several chicken soups and can add noodles or rice if you wish. Chicken soup costs more, but there is a quarter of a pound of natural northwest Draper chicken in each bowl, so it is really an entree or a whole meal in itself, rather than a first course.
The one thing you will not find on the large menu, which includes dozens of entrees and sandwiches, is French Fries. They don't even have a deep fryer. So you will not be tempted to eat what none of us should be eating anyway!
NO CHARGE FOR THE PRIVATE DINING ROOM – Both the business that I work for and a non-profit group that I volunteer with have regular breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings in their private dining room. Since they do not require a minimum amount to be spent by each person, some of us just have a bowl of one of their wonderful soups, while others really chow down! It can be hard to find parking around many restaurants, but there is lots of free parking all around. In any large group of people, there are going to be some with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free, which this place accommodates with a large menu, many choices. It is hard to find private dining/meeting rooms!
Healthy, delicious food for all ages – We've been coming here since they opened in 1980! At first we came when our kids were young, so we could enjoy a second cup of coffee or a second glass of wine while the kids played in the playroom. Over the years we came to appreciate the way the large menu could accommodate the food allergies of different family members at the same time as it pleased our different tastes. Now we bring our grandchildren here, and when we come without them, we sit in the quieter classical music dining room which is in a different part of the building, away from the playroom.
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