Stumptown Coffee
3356 Belmont St. PDX

A Portland kind of place. The quintessential Portland coffee house. Call it what you will, it speaks for us, from its “OCCUPY NARNIA” sign on the bulletin board to the “JESUS” graffitied onto the bathroom wall, to the halved dog biscuits, and on to the “real” coffee mugs used outside with no problem. The Hawthorne district is alternative, and so is Stumptown Coffee, down to its blaring music and spectacular bouquet of flowers gracing the countertop. Plus it had a cool, curved wooden counter.

Along Belmont is a small neon “coffee” sign; the place itself is identified best for pedestrians, not cars. I think they like walk-ins. There are several tables on the sidewalk along the red brick wall (for smokers and others), but most of the seating is at small tables in the back of the shop, except for window seats ath the front.. The latter have aluminum bar stools and “bar” footrests, and look out onto the busy street. A cordoned-off area in the street corrals the bikes for either coffee house or bar patrons, or both (But do we really want to encourage tipsy beer guzzlers to ride bikes, when 2-wheelers are in enough danger already?). Stumptown is simple and neat, with an old brick wall offering its ambience. It doesn’t really need excessive decor; the Stumptown name itself exudes classic prestige. Apparently this is not the original Stumptown Coffee; the first is on Division. But it’s old. They have postcards for the taking, one with Mt. Hood (and PDX) and one with a big rose (and PDX); they want to be Portland’s coffee! I am told that the brand, a tasty one, has become popular in other parts as well, and Stumptown has opened in Brooklyn (New York City!). Does Stumptown aspire to Starbucks level? We shall see…although it seems highly unlikely, since their car outside had a bumper sticker that said “make Portland weirder”. Mainstreaming Stumptown has a ways to go.

Fare: small coffee is a bit expensive ($1.75); refills for mugs are 50-cents. Lots of specialty drinks, juices, and waters are available, as are biscotti, rolls, etc.

Hours & Service: Who knows? Generally I forget to look…Open and pouring: that usually means OK service to me!

Bathroom: Not one but two handle bars, both covered with stickers and graffiti, just like the brick wall, which was covered in names. Entrance through a storeroom. Adequate facilities.

Rating: 3 coffee beans (of 5) Coffee was good, but place was a bit intimidating since you had to “walk the plank”—parade past the entire counter—to get to the back where the tables and bathroom were.