The House and The ‘Hood

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We chose the name “The Brooklyn House Restaurant” to give folks as much information as possible about where we are: we’re in the Brooklyn neighborhood, in a house, which happens to operate as a restaurant.  It turns out that a surprising number of Portlanders have been confused by the “Brooklyn” part, asking about connections to Brooklyn, NY.  So here’s a little history about our cute little gasthaus and the cute little neighborhood where is sits….

The area was originally called “Brookland” because
of the rivers and creeks throughout the area.  By the 1890’s, the Oregon Central Railroad laid tracks, people (mostly German) moved in and the corner of Powell and Milwaukie became the town center.  People eventually shortened the name to “Brooklyn”.   Starting in the 1920’s, a series of construction projects served to break up the thriving neighborhood in a variety of ways and cultivate a culture of disinvestment, poverty and crime.   Even though it became the first neighborhood association in Portland in the 60’s, it wasn’t until the 80’s that the area started to really turn around.   We now enjoy a culturally rich neighborhood that is a desirable place to visit, work and live.

Our house was built in 1922 as a private residence at the end of the booming growth.  It was later sold as a boys’ boarding house and stayed that way until 1978 when it became a German restaurant called The Edelweiss House.  It closed in the late eighties, then struggled through a couple failed attempts at other ventures before becoming The Berlin Inn Restaurant, Bakery & Wine Stube.  For 21 years, memories were made that are generational, memories that are important to a lot of people.  This house has seen babies a few hours old; toddlers learning to walk; teenagers graduate high school; lovers get engaged; holidays, birthdays, weddings and wakes; folks being wished fair-well and folks being welcomed home.

Now that the Berlin Inn has closed, we who worked those final years know what this place means to people.  We understand that by opening The Brooklyn House, we have taken responsibility for something greater than ourselves.   We are here to witness and care for the next generation of memories to be made.  There will be more babies, more lovers, more fair-wells and welcome-homes…and we will be here for all of it.  When you need a home to come to and a family waiting for you, we’ll be here, happily situated in the Historical Brooklyn Neighborhood.

If you’re looking for a fun day,  
bike down the East Bank Esplanade to Brooklyn.  Stop by The Southeast Grind for a coffee, The Portland Juice Press for a fresh juice, Know Thy Food Grocery for local snacks, picnic at Brooklyn Park and continue down to Oaks Bottom for nature hiking.   Come back north for a cider at Bushwhacker Cider, over to our place for dinner and end the night with a show at The Aladdin Theater or Replicant.   We have bus lines 9,17,19 & 70, and the Max Orange Line construction will finish soon with a stop just north of 12th & Powell.

We are truly Portland: music, nature, public transportion and a Slow Food Revolution!  Come down to 97202 for a touch of history, a taste of Oregon and a breath of fresh air.

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“Accommodation” is a dirty word!

A story about dietary specifications

      We all have a list of foods, however large or small, that do anything from rub us the wrong way to threaten our health.  Some of us bare through it and profess it’s no big deal, some us of stand our ground and demand our meals be prepared without the offending foods.  When I was younger the list was loooooong and I face the risk of “starvation” rather than consume anything on it.  I was always grateful when servers were nice to me about my no mayo/well-done steak/sauce on the side neediness.  As a server myself, I knew it was a pain.  But I wanted it that way and, as a server, I knew it was their jobs to get it for me.  I gradually became more accepting of various foods and chose to eat everything presented to me while I lived in France.  I didn’t want to be that American, nope.  With the exception of beef tartar, I ate it all and I liked most of it.

I left France in search of a new life in Portland where I could get my fresh baguettes, farmer’s market produce, farm-direct meats & cheeses and dinner out at a different cuisine any night of the week.   My list got much shorter to include only cilantro, mustard and horseradish/wasabi.  Not too bad; I say they’re like David Byrne, you either love them or you hate them.  But then came the gluten free revolution, and I had to add something HUGE to the list.  It became of list of its own.

Of course I didn’t have to, but I did chose to spend a few days without gluten to see what all the fuss was about.  Within a few minutes, I started to learn all kinds of ways that my body likes to react to gluten exposure, and I chose to add gluten to the list of “absolutely no way…I’d rather go hungry.”  Because honestly, how I pay for it later is far worse than temporary hunger.   People shake their heads at me, but I don’t care.  Watching people shake their heads is far better than cold symptoms and gut-wrenching pain.  And as a restaurant owner, when servers give me sass for my dietary specifications, I have no patience.  I know it’s their job to get me what I want and watching them formulate opinions about my dietary choices as I order my meal is unnecessary.  It’s none of their business why I don’t eat gluten, whether it’s because I have celiac’s disease or am just “following a fad”.  I doesn’t matter if I’m allergic to tomatoes or I just think they’re gross if they aren’t sun-ripened.  I don’t want to worry that I’m offending the chef’s art by insulting the ingredient list.  That’s ridiculous.

We understand that when you dine with us, you’ve made an important choice about how to nourish your body and spend your time and money.   If you tell us you are allergic, sensitive or just flat out don’t like a food(s), then we will tell you what we can make that is both delicious and meets those specifications.  Period.  No rude service, no back-of-the-house complaining, no food contamination…just a clear understanding of your needs and a flawless execution for a leisurely dining experience, just like everyone else gets.  How’s that for art?

In this house, “accommodation” is a dirty word.  We are here for everyone just the same, because we know that everything isn’t for everyone.  Tell us what you want.  It’s no problem; it’s our pleasure.

Give us a little sugar…

Give us a little sugar…

             When I was little, my Great Uncle Al used to always greet me with, “Come here and give me a little sugar.”  I knew then that just one little kiss on the cheek would go a long way in making a sweet old man happy.  When he was weak from cancer, I could see it went even farther.  Those little drops of sugar helped nourish a man who supported a gigantic family, a huge network of people that drew strength from the foundation he created.

            As an avid gardener, I think about the mycorrhizal winrar download free bodies that extend their webs throughout the soil to support the diverse ecosystems that make this world beautiful.  I think they are so selflessly giving a foundation for a huge network of life on this planet…and all they ask from the plants in return is for a little drop of sugar every once in a while.

We want to be the central mycorrhizal body that reaches out to support a huge network of people, plants and animals, starting from our Brooklyn neighborhood and extending out to touch as many lives as possible.  All we need to do this is a little drop of sugar every once in a while.

Each little bit counts, and every time you support our business, you are helping us support more people than you could ever imagine. Simply consider what’s in the Brooklyn neighborhood alone: Bushwhacker Cider, Portland Juice Press, K & F Coffee, Foxfire Looseleaf Tea, Know Thy Food/Warehouse Café, Eastside and House Distilleries, Harvester Brewery and New Cascadia Traditional Bakery.  Those are all small, family owned businesses that are still operated by the folks that started them.   And they are businesses that support Pacific Northwest farmers, ranchers, fishers and artisans of all kinds.  Our web reaches far and wide to support a system that is working for positive change.

Help us make this world a better place.  All we need is a little drop of sugar.

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