June 22, 2010
Erin Lehn Floresca, Contributing Writer
What's better than an all-vegan deli? An all-vegan, organic deli! That's right, Papa G's, touted as the most organic restaurant in Portland, truly is a mecca for health-conscious vegheads. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I only recently made my first visit to Papa G's. Not that I haven't enjoyed Papa G's cuisine before--I’ve sampled their scrumptious seasoned tofu products at many local retailers, and have often chowed down on their delicious cuisine at many community events. But this was the first time I’d ever stepped foot in the restaurant itself.
The minute I walked into this cozy establishment, I was transported into a bright and cheery world full of decadent veg dining delights. My eyes grazed over the delicacies available on the long food bar in the center of the restaurant before settling on the colorful menu board that posted all of the appetizing offerings.
It’s no secret that Papa G’s fare is extremely popular with the local veg crowd. The restaurant not only attracts a loyal following, but attracts a friendly staff as well. Ryan Conner was one of those sunshiney staffers who helped make my visit just that much more pleasant. Ryan, who’s worked there for close to a year, loves Papa G’s because of all that the restaurant stands for. First timers might notice there are so many options to choose from, it could be hard to decide what to eat. That’s where Ryan swoops in to assist by offering up a few suggestions. "I would have to say the tempeh reuben is really popular, and so is the curry," says Ryan. "But my personal favorite is the nachos. I love the nachos."
There is something to satisfy every palate at Papa G’s. Perhaps you are in the mood for something from the salad bar, which features organic produce, salad dressings, and house-made soups. Maybe you are being called to the hot bar with dishes like vegetable tofu curry, coconut greens, or the flavorful coconut sweet potato smash. Hot items include tofu dogs and burritos; plus, cold sandwiches such as an organic avocado deluxe are offered as well. Whatever you choose, it’s guaranteed to be yummy! There are also plenty of refreshments available including fresh, house-made raw coconut kefir, hibiscus tea and raw limeade. Organic coffee, beer, and wine and many more refreshing elixirs are available from their extensive drink selection.
So what did I end up with? I chose a meal consisting of two entrees--the saffron rice with tofu, and the vegan mac n’ cheese along with sides of peas and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy. It was a bundle of good ol’ fashioned comfort food and quite frankly, the best vegan mac n’ cheese I have ever tasted (and I’ve tried a lot). Each flavor blended superbly together. It was the kind of meal that I could really sink my teeth into. Next time, I definitely want to try the popular tempeh reuben and the nachos that Ryan raved about.
There are several other cool perks about Papa G’s. For starters, they are community-minded, as patrons can find a large selection of delicious treats from a variety of other vegan businesses. Papa G’s is also committed to sustainability. They compost all of their food scraps; all of their paper products are recycled; and their to-go containers and utensils are compostable. The building itself is a model of sustainability; from the recycled paints used to decorate the walls to the blue jean insulation, Papa G’s has thought it through on all fronts.
Papa G’s also hosts a Happy Hour every Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. with free live music on Fridays from 5-7 p.m. Papa G’s also offers catering services for any sized event.
So, if you haven’t made a trip to Papa G's yet, do yourself a favor and visit soon. You’ll be happy that you did.
Papa G's Vegan Organic Deli is located at 2314 SE Division St. in Portland, Oregon. They are open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information call 503-235-0244 or visit PappaGs.com