playing for tips

heiroglyphics for a name

Deli Love

just W of Florida Room.

435 N Killingsworth St.

Portland,  OR

Way down by PCC, on Killingsworth, sits a small niche café/ coffee shop called, I think, Deli Love. Or something. There was no real sign outside, and when I asked her the name, she said, yes, it’s named this, but we call it that. I got confused. But it is also vegan, and I’m not so confused that I don’t know that that means it is established by the young. Young people, like oldsters my age, sometimes don’t concern themselves with formalities, and these young’uns may value the electric OPEN sign more than the name sign, since all the regulars already know the name.

Deli Love is a funky place, yet a place I could grow to love. They have a game cupboard—seems that they want folks to settle in. Two days a week they serve a full (!) plate of vegan food for $5. This day it had rice, vegan chili, collard greens, kale, and cornbread. Yum! (When I saw one served, I was sorry I had already arranged to eat at a fast food place a bit later. And when I ate at the fast food place, I was sorry all over again). I was sold just a piece of cornbread for “…I don’t know, is 50 cents OK?”, so that’s how I knew what I was missing. I also had my coffee, which was just fine. With my johnnycake.  Some of the funk is in the building, which was somewhat run-down, and I suspect some visitors might be put off by the “veganness” or “hippieness” or, to put it simply, the fact that it is really alternative with a capital A.

The bathroom said something on the door. What was it? “gender fellowship”? Maybe not. Oh, it was “gender symposium”, I think. Hard to identify until a couple of people had used it successfully (separately). The place had bulletin boards, posters, and an odd little stage. A guitar player was not so much entertaining as stretching the strings when we entered. I thought, “music for the young”, until he ended with House of the Rising Sun. That’s one of my generation’s songs! This guy knew his audience, or at least my tiny section of it. I assume that he played on an “open mike”, because he packed up and left in a jiffy, and he had zero audience contact. I clapped for House of the Rising Sun, and was the only one clapping. But this all sounds very vegan to me, and thus appropriate.

Clientele: At a nearby table sat two 20-somethings, and one of them pontificated non-stop at the other. I’ve known folks like that! I felt like telling the second guy to just wedge a word in edgewise, to show some spunk! He didn’t; just sat there and lapped it up. Another person ordered a plate as soon as the plate event started, and he seemed like a single student who’d bopped in for a tasty early dinner before heading home. Good plan, I’d say. Workers seemed to know the regulars, and share a comaraderie.  The deli seemed to be a good value for the unpicky but not the fancy-pants types, and  aimed at the local community college student and its immediate neighborhood, not seniors. I felt like an outsider, which I was.

Fare: As I said, it was great! But coffee was an alarming $2. My johnnycake was priced right, however.

Bathroom: average, except for previous comment about its strange label. Someone off the street, probably, used the bathroom, and hung around long enough to appear to be the customer he was not. Maybe the deli purposely keeps it open to everyone.

Rating: 3 (of 5) coffee beans.  Not quite a fit for me, I believe, though not unlike some of the “hippie” places I once frequented.