By James Bash
For the Hollywood Star News
with photos by Jane Perkins
Broadway has long been one of the main commercial arteries of Northeast Portland. From Sandy Boulevard to the Broadway Bridge, it carries a huge volume of traffic every day into the heart of the city.
That two-mile stretch, bordering three neighborhoods – Lloyd, Irvington, and Sullivan’s Gulch – is lined with eateries, groceries, and businesses of all types. You can drop off dry cleaning, pick up pizza, and follow it with a triple-espresso in just one block. In another block, you can visit your bank, check out the firmness of a new mattress, and get sushi takeout for your lunch break.
But Northeast Broadway has not always been a hub of commerce. The early covenants for the Irvington District originally prohibited any commercial development. After those restrictions expired in 1916, businesses were allowed to develop, albeit slowly and thoughtfully. For example, Irvington’s first grocery store was designed to look like a house.
The restrictions reflected the fact that Irvington was set up as a residential suburb of Portland. Named for William and Elizabeth Irving, who had the original donation land claim, Irvington is a rectangular area bounded by Northeast Fremont Street to Broadway, and from Seventh to 26th Avenues. In 2010, the neighborhood joined the National Register of Historic Places as the Irvington Historic District.
Sullivan’s Gulch was named after Timothy Sullivan, an early farmer who had the donation land claim. This neighborhood extends south from Broadway to the I-84 Freeway, between Northeast 15th and 33rd Avenues. During the Great Depression, the gulch itself (where the interstate now runs) was home to a large Hooverville shanty town. Today the neighborhood boasts an eclectic mixture of old and new single-family homes, as well as condos and apartments
Because it was developed much later, the Lloyd District is more of a hybrid than Irvington or Sullivan’s Gulch. Ralph B. Lloyd was a California oilman who purchased real estate in the neighborhood, including Holladay’s Addition. After he died in 1953, his descendants developed the Lloyd Center, for many years the largest shopping center in the United States. The Lloyd District is bounded by the Willamette River on the west, Broadway on the north, 18th Avenue on the east, and I-84 on the south.
Michael Macfarlane’s intimate restaurant has a casual vibe. Now in its ninth year, Petisco (Portuguese for “small plate”) offers a delightful mixture, including its signature Angry Sicilian Sandwich packed with four Italian cured meats and a dynamite bacon-wrapped meatloaf.
Address: 1411 NE Broadway St. Phone: 503-360-1048. Web: petiscopdx.com. Don’t miss: Ladies Night on December 7 will feature sangria and mulled wine specials. The New Year’s Eve seafood paella feast will have five courses.
Owner Melanie McClure started out literally pedaling authentic Mexican-style street tacos on a custom-built tricycle. She opened her colorful brick-and-mortar eatery six years ago after developing a following. Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Taco Pedaler offers a family friendly atmosphere.
Address: 2225 NE Broadway St. Phone: 503-946-1173. Web: tacopedalerpdx.com. Don’t miss: Tricycles are still used for catered events. Each trike can carry up to 300 pounds of food.
GLUTEN FREE GEM
Located in the Lloyd District, GEM has a large array of gluten-free baked goodies. Coffeecakes, cookies, cupcakes, pretzels, granola – you name it. Owned by Ann and Mike Miller, GEM makes its pastries in a dedicated and certified GFCO (Gluten Free Certification Organization) facility so there’s no chance of cross-contamination.
Address: 140 NE Broadway St. Phone: 503-288-1508. Web: glutenfreegem.com. Don’t miss: The terrific Sunshine Bar will put a smile on your face even during the rainiest winter days.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Broadway Books is one of Portland’s few independent bookstores. Owner Sally McPherson has made sure that outstanding customer service is its hallmark. Sleuthing hard to find books is a specialty of the staff. The store also hosts events each month for local writers and has a frequent buyer card that is quite popular with its loyal customer base.
Address: 1714 NE Broadway St. Phone: 503-294-1726. Web: broadwaybooks.net. Don’t miss: The annual Holiday Books Catalog will arrive in your mail with lots of nifty recommendations.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Chris Gauger’s unique resale clothing store for women has been a mainstay on Broadway for the past 10 years. Manager Amanda Jean McNamara and staff are well known for helping treasure hunters find the perfect outfit, including contemporary designer labels for dresses, handbags and shoes. On top of that is the quirky and fun attitude you’ll enjoy when you step inside. December 7th is Ladies Night from 4 to 9pm.
Address: 2438 NE Broadway St. Phone: 503-244-0855. Web: hwga.com. Don’t miss: Every third Thursday the store hosts a Happy Hour with 15 percent off.
PETS ON BROADWAY
Besides cute dogs and cats, Pets on Broadway offers fish, reptiles, mammals and birds. Owner Tom Perry relies on an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff to help you with you and your pet. That includes food, toys, treats, tools and equipment, and advice about keeping your pet healthy. The store even sells crickets for your scaly and slimy pets, and when you purchase 200 of the little hoppers, you get another 20 for free!
Address: 2762 NE Broadway St. Phone: 503-282-5824. Web: petsonbroadway.com. Don’t miss: Check out the nano-aquariums, just the right size for studio apartments.
ARTHUR MURRAY DANCE STUDIO
Whether it’s the tango or the Texas two-step, the Arthur Murray Dance instructors will help you learn the moves. Conveniently located on Broadway and owned by Phil Auer, the studio has five teachers who can get you on your feet with beginning, intermediate and advanced classes in ballroom, Latin, specialty (like the Lindy Hop), and country western dance styles. You can order private lessons or participate in group lessons.
Address: 2526 NE Broadway St. Phone: 503-926-6191. Web: portlandballroomdance.com. Don’t miss: The holiday special: two private lessons, one group lesson, and one practice session for $119.
LLOYD ATHLETIC CLUB
All that extra holiday food and drink won’t go away without an uptick in exercise. The Lloyd Athletic offers a cornucopia of fitness classes and has all of the machines you’ll need to take off the pounds. The best place in Portland for racquetball, squash, and wallyball, it even offers a free trial membership.
Address: 815 NE Halsey St. Phone: 503-287-4594. Web: lloydac.com. Don’t miss: The steam room and Jacuzzi.
WELLNESS DOCTORS/DR ARN STRASSER
Specializing in gentle chiropractic care and cranial therapy, Dr. Arn Strasser emphasizes an individualized treatment plan for each patient. His specialties include treatment of herniated discs and pinched nerves without surgery. Dr. Strasser also teaches tai chi classes for beginners and intermediate students.
Address: 2100 NE Broadway, Suite 101. Phone: 503-287-2800. Web: pdxchiropractor.com.