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Fearless Critic restaurant review
American, Southern
Casual restaurant

Daily 8:00am–3:00pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

Mississippi Ave. Area
3957 N. Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR
(503) 287-8800
A hipster homage to the greasy spoon

Sweet, genteel Gravy used to have an accordion player, which helped give it one of the best breakfast vibes in the city. Now you’ll just have to settle for the fact that it features local, organic produce to make hearty, veg-friendly breakfast and lunch classics.

If none of this gets you, maybe the décor will. The walls host really intriguing art from locals, and an eclectic array of textiles and paraphernalia. The staff is Mississippi cool, which means they often get the job done, but won’t always do it with a smile.

Which is a good thing for Gravy, because the bulk of its dishes are just so-so. Even interesting-sounding scrambles are clumsy, coming as a huge pile of watery eggs and bland cheese. Those with tomatoes are particularly troublesome. But the eponymous breakfast element here is a flavorful brown version that isn’t too heavy, with lots of salty, crumbled sausage and airy biscuits. Even the veggie version is quite good. Hash browns are wonderfully crunchy on the outside, fried as a nest with a middle that can be undercooked.

Generally, it’s a pretty high-calorie place: omelettes with sausage gravy; an unusual (and unnecessary) fatty ribeye steak and eggs; and chicken-fried steak and eggs. Oatmeal brûlée is as sweet as it sounds, but damned good if you’re in that mood. You can build your own egg dishes from a wide array of veggies and cheeses, and you could even substitute tofu, but then you’d be missing the point of Gravy.

Bloody Marys here are strong and good, and the Mississippi crowd lines up on weekends to replenish its permanent BAC levels, which makes for great indie-fashion watching and scruffy-beard evaluating. With Gravy at the center of this neighborhood’s breakfast universe, we have to wonder how everyone fits into those skinny jeans.

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