The menu at Slabtown Ribs & BBQ contrasts starkly with your garden-variety fast food menu. That's because Pitmasters can spend most of a day tending to their meats, with smokers set to low heats for long periods of time to bring out each cut's flavors. Though this flavor alone is juicy and savory, they can further enhance these flavors with one of their trio of barbecue sauces. Pitmasters take cues from barbecue regions from throughout the country to make sauces including the tangy Carolina mustard, the spicy Texas hot, and the complex Kansas City classic.
While the Pitmasters specialize in brisket—which they put in everything from platters and sandwiches to the house chili—they also prepare a range of other barbecued meats. They cook up Zenner's German sausage with a scoop of sauerkraut, serve barbecue chicken in a flavorful sauce, and grill their pork spare ribs St. Louis style—in one giant arch.
Before Memphis spare ribs or Kansas City rib tips are seared and glazed with barbecue sauce, Seven Rivers BBQ's pitmasters slow-smoke each rack for four hours. That's on the shorter end of the spectrum at Seven Rivers, where brisket cooks for 10 hours and Carolina pulled pork for 12. Once the cuts are ready, cooks pile them into lunchtime sandwiches, assemble them into feasts for up to six diners, or sell them by the pound in catered platters. Sides such as cajun macaroni salad accompany mains, as do libations such as three varieties of Johnnie Walker scotch whiskey. And while the business is a vendor for the Portland Trail Blazers, it also has its own dining room that serves as an homage to sports with billiards tables, buck-hunting arcade games, and rounds of tackle karaoke.
The satisfying clap of a cue ball making a perfect break sounds out, followed by a round of clicks as the colorful spheres bounce across green felt. The smell of steak fills the room, and glasses of beer clink on the bar. A couple gets up to dance across the hardwood floor as a local band plays. On Wednesday nights, a rousing selection of more than 28,000 karaoke songs—updated weekly—offers crooners the chance to finally sing the extended concert version of "Happy Birthday." Flat-screen TVs glow over rows of tables, where freshly formed, half-pound burgers rest on plates during lunch and dinner.
Since 1922, the red-brick Hartman Chevrolet garage has lain hidden within the lush foliage of the Cascade Foothills, serenaded by the flow of Silver Creek. More than 80 years later, after the building had fallen into disrepair, longtime admirer Manny Rodrigues enlisted the help of a team of local architects to renovate the former auto shop into Creekside Grill. Today, the sound of the rushing creek plays off the canted roof of the expansive deck, and sunlight pours into the dining room through towering windows. The restaurant's menu reflects this sense of making the old new. Throughout the week, servers bear plates of fish and chips made with wild Pacific sea bass, broiled and caramelized hickory-smoked ribs, or tomato gorgonzola soup, and bartenders send frozen specialty cocktails, local wines, and martinis to the tables that sit creek-side in the cozy grotto lounge. Meanwhile, a specialty kids menu designed by Ms. Oregon 2011 Moniqa Keisling appeases young palettes with chicken strips, spaghetti, and french fries that make a fetching addition to any tiara. Throughout the year, the restaurant hosts live events, including live music, poetry readings, and fashion shows.
For 60 years, Wooden Nickel Pub & Eatery has served up hearty eats in a wood-paneled bar with games, live music, and the familiar ambience of a hometown hangout. The pub's cooks smoke, cure, and brine meats in-house, sandwiching them within breads baked on-site. In addition to slow-smoked prime rib, German sausages, and sizzling fried chicken, they simmer pots of jambalaya or shrimp and grits. Diners can find the same savory, homestyle food at a second location in Sublimity.