– by Dustin Nelson
Lunch is something we take very seriously here at AM:PM, and our neighborhood is full of some of the best food in town.
Today we took a walk up to Division Street to stop into an old favorite of Alexis’, Papa G’s Vegan Organic Deli. Regarded as “the most organic vegan” restaurant in Portland, it’s easy for an out of towner like myself to assume that may be the equivalent of chewing on grass. Happily I could not have been more wrong.
We caught up with Grant Dixon, the owner of Papa G’s who gave us some background on his small, but significant business. Papa G’s began in 1999 as an offshoot of the Daily Grind, an independent natural food store in Portland with an impressive 35 year history, and eventually transitioned to the small vegan cafe on Southeast Division.
Grant told us about the popularity of their tempeh reuben with scratch made sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing and their variety of seasonal, rotating specials. For vegan newbies like myself who may be scared off by the likes of tempeh, he recommended their burrito special, which I gladly indulged in. Full of corn, beans, flavorful cilantro, and a sauce made of something I can’t pronounce, this burrito rivaled any I’ve had. And I’ve had a lot of burritos. Grant also kindly advised that a nice transition dish for my next visit would be the popular potato salad and BBQ tofu.
It was refreshing to hear Grant talk about his commitment to keeping organic, vegan options affordable, “we never want to be elitist,” he said. It was also nice to learn that he takes organic cooking so seriously that his dishes are organic down to the oil they’re cooked with.
At Papa G’s it was easy to forget about my carnivorous ways and truly enjoy one of the best lunches in a long time.
Alexis went with her old stand-by of the Epic Nocho taco salad while Mike had the garden plate which he described as “tasting like Thanksgiving.”
While we may disagree on what Thanksgiving is supposed to taste like, I’m sure it was delicious.
I’m not considering becoming vegan anytime soon, but Papa G’s is a great place for herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores alike to dine together and set aside their dietary differences and it’s most definitely a place our team will be grazing again.