As a tourist in Portland, Oregon, there are many ways that you can spend your afternoon. You can go the Portlandia way and hit up every funky little place on there. You can go the sightseeing way and go to Powell’s Bookstore, Voodoo Donuts, the Japanese Gardens or Shanghai Tunnels. Or you can just get down with the locals at some little outdoor brewery and eatery. I don’t know how UNIQUELY Portland that last one is, but in my dream of Portland it fits right in. If you want to fit in some little outdoor brewery and eatery where you can sit outdoors AND have some of the best nachos in Portland though, you go to Breakside Brewery. At least at their Northeast location that is. I can’t speak to whether their two other places let you eat outside or if they brew their beer on site at those ones, but the Dekum Street definitely has you covered on those.
When planning to visit the fair Rose City I consulted the internet for what the best nachos in Portland were, and was conveniently greeted by the site “Portland’s 10 Best Nachos” on Oregon Live. Breakside Brewery being at the top of the list I knew I had to check it out, and then doubly so when I saw they had not one, but two different kinds of nachos available. Sure, maybe it doesn’t have the largest number of types of nachos at one place in Portland, but I’ll give it the award for brewery with the largest number of nacho types until proven otherwise.
Their main nachos dish, “Nachos”, has been described as your quintessential brewpub nachos, which I feel does them a disservice. To relegate them to the status of just “brewpub” nachos seems to imply that they’re just a good version of a certain type of nachos, but can’t hold their own on the nachos scene in general. This is anything but the case as these babies are quintessentially good nachos, period. Chicken is one meat you can go with for a topping, but you know that when I tell you that pulled pork is another that they have earned themselves some points in my book. In general while they may be a little heavy handed with the toppings in ratio with the chips, the fact that black olives are not one of their default ones is a true blessing.
Also available are the more descriptively named “Buffalo Chicken Nachos”...
Now I’ve had both Buffalo Chicken and Buffalo Chicken Nachos from coast to coast at this point, but never Buffalo Chicken like this. I’m not saying these are nachos so crazily flavored that you can’t even tell that they’re Buffalo Chicken, these just happens to be a very unique flavor of Buffalo. They’re close enough for you to know what it is, but different enough to make you go “Ooh, this is something new!” Also somewhat unique to an order of Buffalo Chicken Nachos, instead of these just being regular nachos with Buffalo Chicken on top as the most are, these are more like an order of Buffalo Wings with typical carrot, celery, and blue cheese sides diced up and spread on some cheese and chips. It’s nice little mix em up from your average BC ‘chos.
Admittedly I was a little concerned about Portland’s reputation when going there, even more so when I heard from the seat behind me as the plane landed “Look, I’ve mapped all the Gluten free restaurants!” Breakside Brewery has set me straight though and cast all my worries aside. Portland can be both a city of hipster stereotypes and a city featuring lovely little neighborhoods where you can sit outside and drink a beer made in house while eating some great nachos. Can you do this in just about any other city? Undoubtedly, but there’s something about doing it in Portland that makes it feel, I don’t know, all the more Portlandish? It’s an experience that could probably be put into words, but it would be much easier if you went to Breakside and drank and ate nachos yourself. So go do that ASAP.