Blue Star Donuts
921 NW 23rd Ave., Northwest
While Voodoo Doughnut, with its long lines and anti-establishment atmosphere, is an important pilgrimage for foodies, locals head straight to Blue Star for delicious donuts and much more manageable lines. The vibe here is decidedly more buttoned up, with tall ceilings and subway tiled walls, and the flavors to match. You won’t find any cereal-themed donuts here—instead, opt for sophisticated flavors like brioche, lemon poppy buttermilk, blueberry bourbon, or the famous apple fritters. There are three other locations in Portland, in Boise, Downtown, and Sunnyside.
1800 N.W. 16th Ave., Northwest
Breken Kitchen occupies a stand-alone space with train tracks on one side and highway overpasses on the other—it sounds loud, but it's actually quite cool. Coffee flows freely here, they offer salads and sandwiches, and the brick-lined interior is always filled with light. There are also varied seating options, from couches to café tables, to long community tables.
915 N.W. 19th Ave., Northwest
The adorable décor in here is enough to convince you to stay before you’ve even had a sip of coffee—the whitewashed space is punctuated by green wire chairs, a mirror that’s really more of an art piece, and a mint-green cappuccino machine. Chef/owner Kim Wilson is famous for her amazing baked goods, which they bake fresh onsite every day. While the brunch menu is good enough to merit a visit any time, you’ll almost always find people here on their laptops enjoying the natural light and perfectly brewed coffee.
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