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12 Tasty Black Owned Restaurants in Portland, Oregon for Every Meal

12 Tasty Black Owned Restaurants in Portland, Oregon for Every Meal
You might’ve heard a few things about Portland, Oregon. As a resident I can confirm that some of that may be true, some is false, and a lot is extremely exaggerated. But one of the most prevalent misconceptions about Portland is that there are no Black people. For starters, that can’t be true because I live here, but I also understand where the misconception comes from – like the fact that Oregon’s Black population as of the 2020 census is only 2%. With percentages like those, yeah, it does feel like I’m the only Black person here sometimes.

A lot of times.

But…I’m not.

Portland’s Black community may be small, but it has also stood strong against the oppressive systems of the United States of America, so don’t erase them from Oregon’s history, present, and future. Portland and all of Oregon was helped shaped by the Black folks brought to this stolen land both forcefully and by choice in the hopes of new freedoms.

There are many ways to engage in a destinations cultures, but one of the tastiest is by exploring the area’s cuisine. If you want to see what Black Portland is throwing down, you’re gonna have to pick up a fork. Thankfully, there are enough delicious Black owned restaurants in Portland for every meal of the day, so you can make the reservation for whatever fits best in your schedule.

Whether you’re traveling to Oregon or are just a local looking for a few new food suggestions, rest assured that these Black owned restaurants in Portland will have you walking away from your meal satisfied.


With breakfast canonically representing the best meal of the day, you’ll want to fuel up on the right note. Two Black owned restaurants in Portland that are especially vibrant in the mornings are Mermosa and Grits N’ Gravy.

plate of savory and sweet french toast from Mermosa in Portland Oregon

plate of savory and sweet french toast from Mermosa in Portland Oregon (Kay Kingsman)

On theme with it’s nautical name, Mermosa takes diners to the warm waters of the gulf and beyond with its fusion of the American South and Haitian cuisine. It’s bright open eatery makes it the perfect location for group outings, and they even have sharable seafood towers and mimosa flights to kick Sunday brunch up a couple notches. All stars on the menu include their shrimp and grits, griyo breakfast platter, and cornbread rosettes, but everything is delicious. Located on picturesque NW 23rd Street, you can let your meal digest by window shopping the various locally-owned boutiques in the neighborhood.

Grits N’ Gravy is right in the heart of downtown Portland, making it one of the most convenient breakfast spots in Portland. Grits N’ Gravy feels local, it feels homey, it feels like a comfort. Because it is. The menu will take you back to your grandmother’s Sunday cooking, or at least somebody’s Sunday cooking if yours always burnt the cornbread. It’s an old school restaurant in a world obsessed with appearances. Refreshing doesn’t begin to explain it, but while you’re pondering why you feel so whole after visiting, go ahead and order glass of sweet tea.


You’re in Portland, so for lunch you gotta go to a food truck. The food scene in Portland was founded on its robust and diverse food cart culture, so when you’re ready to take a break between browsing home goods at EcoVibe and Mister OK’s Essentials, be sure to to grab a bite at these game-changing food carts.

seafood boil plate from Drip'N Crabseafood boil plate from Drip'N Crab

seafood boil plate from Drip’N Crab (Kay Kingsman)

Making a statement at one of the hottest new pods in Portland, Lil’ America Food Cart Pod, The Drip’N Crab is one of the very few seafood boils in the city and -in my humble opinion- also the best of them. The portions are fulfilling and the flavor will have you singing “Under the Sea.” Tap Tap Cuisine is another food cart with incredibly authentic (and delicious) Haitian dishes. If having one of the best meals of your life inspired you try your hand at making Haitian food, you can stop by their sister market House of Flavor Market next door to pick up all the essential ingredients and spices.

Erica’s Soul Food holds down the inner Southeast area of the city and, along with being a community champion, serves food that’ll take you right back to the American South. Along with menu favorites like fried catfish and baked mac and cheese, Erica’s also has some of the best chicken wings in Portland.


Once dinner rolls around, you’re really in for a good time – both in terms of a meal AND a show. Norma Jean’s Soul Cuisine is over on 42nd Ave and serves all the classic American soul food but with a flare of fresh Pacific Northwest elements. From cajun rockfish to Dungeness mac and cheese, everything on the menu is seasoned to perfection. They also regularly hosts events like Sip and Paints as well as local guest DJs on the weekends.

Cajun shrimp and pasta from Norma Jean's Soul CuisineCajun shrimp and pasta from Norma Jean's Soul Cuisine

Cajun shrimp and pasta from Norma Jean’s Soul Cuisine (Kay Kingsman)

Another spot that hosts amazing community events in the evenings is Akadi, James Beard nominated West African restaurant lovingly situated in Southeast Portland. Depending on when you visit, you might catch a poetry slam or live afrobeat rhythms in-between delicious bites of egusi stew and oxtail jolof rice. Plus, you can even take one of their bottles sauces home as the perfect souvenir.


Whether you follow a vegan diet on the regular or just looking to switch up your protein portfolio, Portland is no stranger to vegan restaurants. In fact, Portland has the highest number of vegan-friendly restaurants per capita, so it’s no surprise that some of best Black owned restaurants in Portland are also vegan.

Dirty Lettuce on Fremont St is the the center of the action in the NE quadrant of Portland and CoKiea’s Kitchen holds down the fort on lively Sandy Blvd. At both establishments, you’ll find an array of flavorful plant-based Cajun, Creole, and Southern soul food, reminding us all that vegan food isn’t boring – and it for sure isn’t bland.

vegan gumbo and fried okra from CoKiea's Kitchenvegan gumbo and fried okra from CoKiea's Kitchen

vegan gumbo and fried okra from CoKiea’s Kitchen (Kay Kingsman)

The Awkward Traveller·Yahoo Creator

Kay Kingsman is a fiction author and travel writer who prides herself on being a full-time silly goose. Along with being the first person to crip walk in Antarctica, Kay’s writing has been featured in Forbes, Insider, Fodor’s, Viator, and more.

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