portland’s greatest hits.

3 11 2010

remember that time i posted about all the things in portland that have been going out of business lately, and how bummed out about it i am? well, i’m still bummed out about it (north star- nooooooooo!), but i’m willing to let  it go… as long as the following 5 businesses promise me (blood may be required to seal the deal), that they will always be here. ALWAYS.

now, i didn’t just go for places that are fancy or popular. in fact, many of my favorites didn’t make the list (i’m sorry caiola’s and rosemont market, there just isn’t room for everyone!). i wanted places that were iconic, and integral to the structure that makes portland porltand. do you remember when jennifer grey got that nose job, and then she looked like nobody anymore and we all forgot about her? that’s what would happen to portland if these businesses went away. i’m THAT SERIOUS.

in no particular order…

1. material objects: first of all, we are extremely lucky that there are a lot of great consignment shops in this town, especially now that shit is going down with the economy. but material objects is the king of them all. i love that it still looks exactly like the 90s in there. i also love the fact that pretty much everything in the store is less than $20. friendly, unpretentious, and always stuffed full of dirt cheap fashiony goodness. love.

2. paul’s food center: ok, totally shifty- i would probably/definitely never buy produce there… but there’s just something about a sketchy independent grocery store plopped in the middle of town that warms my heart. it feels like the land before time in there, but with more drunks.

3. bill’s pizza: hub for late night wasted snackage, this is another kind of gross one for the list. their pizza isn’t very good (so salty), and kind of pricey (for a single slice of kind of shitty pizza), but they have beer and orange soda on tap, and if you’re lucky, you can hear drunk people having sex in the bathroom.

4. videoport: as a complete netflix whore, one wouldn’t figure that i’d be singing high praises to a video store,  but videoport feels like home. probably because it consistently employs the very best people in town, and last time i checked, netfilix didn’t have an “incredibly strange” section. it’s a cinematic archeological dig in there. i don’t care if all video is going online, videoport needs to stay open FOREVER. are you listening dennis?

5. yes books: YES. BOOKS. everywhere. piled into corners and on the floor. dusty and disorganized, like a vaguely alphabetical treasure hunt. i love the musty used book smell and the ornery owner. to me, it’s portland’s own tiny musty version of the embryo concepts bookstore from funny face.

honorable mentions: the eastland park hotel, geno’s, old port candy, and ferdinand.

what local landmarks do you refuse to live without (you don’t even have to live in portland)?

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23 responses

3 11 2010
littleeyedesigns

Tu Casa!

4 11 2010
bessmarvin

pupusas are forever.

4 11 2010
blackgirlinmaine

Totally agree with you about Material Objects, I love that place. Yeah we have other cool places but frankly I find the staff at MO to be very cool. Whenever I am in there w/my chatty Cathy 5 yo they are are always helpful in reminding me of the books and reading area up front.

I agree with you about Paul’s, I have only been in there once but it’s the type of place that lends to the urban landscape complete with a cast of characters.

Lastly we all love Videoport, only reason I don’t go more often is that coming from Saco it can be a PITA. But when there is a video I really want to see and don’t want to wait on Netflix or it cannot be found on Netflix Videoport is the place to go.

4 11 2010
bessmarvin

it actually says that on their website “we have the movies that netflix and redbox don’t have”. it’s a good angle actually. hopefully will keep them relevant for at least a few more minutes. and yes, the material objects staff are surprisingly and awesomely friendly in a way that very few other clothing stores can compete with. they really are never allowed to close. i’ll be shopping there until i’m 90!

4 11 2010
Mario

Coffee By Design on Congress is not allowed to leave or change. Neither is the Nickelodeon. I wouldn’t even want them to stop making the kids who work there wear those ridiculous uniforms.

4 11 2010
bessmarvin

OMG how did i forget the nickelodeon? i actually got married there. my marriage didn’t last, but my love for the nickelodeon is eternal. especially as long as the employees have to wear those ludicrous bowties.

4 11 2010
Cookie

Do you prefer the newer Geno’s location or the old basement location on Brown St? I used to go to poetry open mics when it was on Brown Street and then transitioned into the new one. The Brown St one had this smoke-aged dirty charm about it – but venue & show-going wise, I like the Congress St one a wee bit better.

4 11 2010
bessmarvin

there is something about the dank holeness of the old geno’s that i really do miss, but you’re right that new geno’s is a better show venue. also, i like it’s sordid past as a porno theater.

4 11 2010
IAMA CAMERA

I’d be devastated if Silly’s closed. Considering I’m allergic to so many things it’s the only local restaurant I can eat at where I’m not constantly anxious about whether or not what I’m eating will make me sick (not to mention that the allergy-friendly food tastes just as good if not better than the regular food, which is rare).

4 11 2010
bessmarvin

you are so right. for a town so food focused, there are far fewer veg options than i would prefer. i require falafel and princess cake!

4 11 2010
tripdragon

Coluchii’s!!!!

4 11 2010
bessmarvin

i would starve to death if it wasn’t for colucci’s.

6 11 2010
Beth

I agree with Silly’s. Luv that place!

8 11 2010
Eastland Park

Great article on the personality of Portland’s must haves.

Thanks for the honorable mention!

11 11 2010
bessmarvin

had i done a top ten, you would have been number 6. i would be devastated if the eastland sign ever left the portland landscape. you are part of what makes this place home. (plus, HELLO, rooftop bar with amazing snack mix!)

8 11 2010
Todd

The best is Portmanteau and I so miss The cookie Lady and The Old Port Emporium

11 11 2010
bessmarvin

you know, i’ve never been in portmanteau. do i like it in there? we really do need another centralized cookie emporium somewhere in town. two fat cats has weird hours and is too far away.

10 11 2010
forefrontfash

Joe’s Smoke Shop for random last minute grocery items, Blue for good, cheap music and cheap vino verde, Sebago’s $3 pint specials after 10pm, slices at Otto and Find. Oh and take-out fried clams from Susan’s – I would die if Susan’s ever closed.

11 11 2010
bessmarvin

how could i forget joe’s! i used to live there when i was a smoker. also, they have a totally bizarre selection of magazines. as for susan’s, when i gave up fish for good a few years ago, that was my final meal.

13 11 2010
videoportjones

Thanks for the out-shout! Videoport lives, we’re scrappy, and we’re keeping our wits about us and look to be around for a long, long time. Again, thanks.

17 11 2010
bessmarvin

it is your job to make sure that it is open forever. GO!

26 11 2010
xine

silly’s. I’ve loved everything I’ve tried there. And it’s so affordable.

26 11 2010
bessmarvin

someday you’ll come home and i’ll take you out to silly’s. i miss you guys!

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