Note: I have back-burnered the blog recently, but have returned. The visit for this review was made shortly after Christmas; hence the holiday lights. Now it’s February. The hedgehog at the local zoo saw his shadow yesterday, supposedly foretelling 6 more weeks of winter here in Portland. Lots of time for coffee-shop sampling!

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Cafe Rio Co.

2190 W Burnside St., Portland OR

We discovered a friendly little place on the way back into Portland from the West hills, Café Rio Co. Tucked into the ground floor of an apartment building (with marble steps!), just off the sidewalk, the shop served inexpensive—but good–coffee and a host of sandwich fare. An older couple ran the place, looking and acting European, and the woman seemed as if she’d whip me up a pot of steaming borscht if I so desired. No time to call her bluff, however; I needed just a cup of coffee. I was warned about the step down as I entered, but, surveying the place, I realized I wouldn’t have fallen far—the place was very compact. One or two small tables, a larger red one in the front (for impassioned rallies and political discussions?), and two trim easy-chairs with small built-in side-tables and a fancy mural ( looking like a mirror) above them. Quite cute, the place, and all lit up towards the conclusion of this winter day.

Fare: Prices were right: just $1.00 for my coffee. They offer sandwiches,  soup, and eggs, which sounded quite good,  but are closer to current prices ($5-$8, mostly), and varied pastry.

Bathroom: A small place in the back hallway. A very narrow hallway for us not-so-skinny Americans. The room was dark and not new, with older exposed pipes and such, yet it was minimally functional.

Service and clientele: She said they get busy on weekdays. Probably also when they have those underground revolutionary meetings. Very friendly lady, and man grumpily ( I think he  simply was a curmudgeon, not really a grouch) told me to shoot pics of anything I wanted. What I really wanted was one of the happy couple holding a pot of borscht! I was asked to return, and I hope they’re not low on business.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5 coffee beans). I don’t live to pee (so no matter that the bathroom was small and dark): I live for decent cheap coffee in a comfortable place, and I found it!

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