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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Mon–Fri 11:00am–8:00pm
Sat–Sun 9:00am–8:00pm

Features Delivery, kid-friendly, outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar Beer
Credit cards Visa, MC


Northwest Portland
2376 NW Thurman St.
Portland, OR
(503) 954-1737
Kenny & Zuke’s Sandwich Works
Don’t call it #2—the offshoot of the downtown deli has its own thing going on

This outpost of Kenny & Zuke’s Deli downtown is quite different. For one thing, there are none of the Jewish-deli classics like tongue or chopped liver here (although there is a Reuben, available as a “slider,” which is being far too humble—it’s nearly a full-sized sandwich). Lunch gets quite busy. Tables are packed somewhat tightly, but the high ceilings and large windows keep it from becoming claustrophobic. Despite its bursting-at-the-seamsness, there’s an easy neighborhood vibe.

This branch’s menu is more of a UN of sandwiches: a Chicago Italian beef; a Cuban; a Southwestern pseudo-torta; and a few others. Bread comes fresh from Grand Central, and can get just a tad dry later in the day. Several of the toppings are made at the downtown Kenny & Zuke’s, like giardiniera, which sweetly and gently peppers up the Chicago’s tender beef. It’s not a dead-on impression, but it captures the spirit just fine. The “Hood River” is little more than a fancy turkey sandwich, with Granny Smith apple and Tillamook cheddar, but not toasted to integrate all the fine flavors.

Bread becomes something of a nuisance in the torta and Cubano, where crusty, thick rustic bread outdoes the flavors of the fillings, and does a number on the jaw. Its unyielding cruelty works best on a meatball hero, whose oozy cheese and spot-on tomato sauce needs to be reined in.

Bagels are baked on-site. They’re flat out the best in Portland, and along with good lox and cream cheese, they form the basis for the brunch, which comes with the mandatory Stumptown coffee. A couple of outdoor tables are available, but good luck snagging one in nice weather—it’s a great place to people-watch.

There is the same impressive selection of sodas as there is at Kenny & Zuke’s downtown—nearly every reputable root beer, ginger ale, cream- and fruity-soda producer imaginable. There isn’t much in the way of beer here—just a couple of taps. The plan is to use the cavernous back area as a live music venue, in which case Kenny & Zuke’s will need more in the way of suds. But the food would have the honor of becoming the best concert fare in Portland.

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