From nine in the morning until eleven o’clock at night, Tasty n Sons has been providing Portlanders with an unforgettable epicurean trip around the world. This is the place where flaky Southern-style biscuits make themselves at home next to North African couscous. After celebrating the New Year with a complete refit, Tasty n Sons has reopened and continues taking brunch and dinner to new heights.
The same clean lines and comforting ambiance that you’ve come to appreciate still awaits you upon entering the newly refurbished establishment. Co-owner and executive chef John Gorham wanted to make sure that the Portland dining experience he’d so carefully crafted remained in intact.
And so it should. Two-time winner of Willamette Week’s Restaurant of the Year award for Toro Bravo and Tasty n Sons, Gorham has appearances to keep up. He’s been building a local empire, from acclaimed Toro Bravo to his newest addition The Mediterranean Exploration Company, which recently opened in the Pearl District.
Growing up in the south, Gorham always had a love for cooking. He had no doubts about what his future would bring. “I did an apprenticeship in culinary school,” he says. “I started when I was seventeen. This is what I always wanted to do, ever since I was a little kid. I’ve worked towards it though my whole life.”
After graduating culinary school, Gorham had eyes on Hawaii, but on the way stopped in Eugene… and never left! There he joined Café’ Zenon and stayed for six years, honing his skills. After leaving Eugene, he went on to San Francisco, where he worked with such culinary figures as Chris Rossi, Judy Rogers, and Jean Pierre of Chez Panisse.
Like it is for so many others, however, the pull of the great state of Oregon was too much to overcome. In 2006, Gorham returned to Portland and co-founded the underground Simpatica Supper Club, where the number one meal in the world for 2006 was coined by a USA Today writer who attended a tapas driven dinner.
In 2007 Gorham traveled to Spain in an effort to enhance his knowledge, skill and culinary vision. Upon returning, he opened the immediately popular Toro Bravo and was declared Portland Monthly’s Chef of the Year. Serendipitously, it was food from Toro Bravo that would contribute to the opening of Tasty n Sons in 2010.
“Toro Bravo is right down the block from where I live and I felt there was just nowhere nearby to have a decent breakfast,” he begins. “So, the opening year at Toro all the cooks would come in and we would make ourselves breakfast with the ingredients from Toro Bravo. A lot of those dishes were so good, we began asking ourselves why no one was doing breakfast beyond two eggs your way and a hash brown.”
And so Tasty n Sons was born. The idea behind the name is as simple as it is welcoming, as Gorham explains. “The name came from two parts. At Toro we would always offer tasty beverages from the kitchen at the end of the night, so we used that. The n Sons part came from the fact that we wanted this to be a family oriented restaurant, welcoming to all.”
If you focused on the tasty beverage portion of that quote, I don’t blame you. One of Tasty’s most popular
drink items is the eye catching Tasty Mary, which includes everything you’d ever want in a Bloody Mary, plus a wonderful piece of bacon cured by Gorham and crew in the basement of Toro Bravo.
Tasty n Sons is not a restaurant for the reserved. The clash of pans and sizzle of bacon from the open kitchen harmoniously accompanies the pop of sautéing onions and frying eggs. On busy weekends, the din may seem overwhelming, but it’s worth it.
If you’re arriving for breakfast, don’t think you’re in for a Denver omelet. Elevate your senses and stimulate your taste buds with a fluffy asparagus, gruyere, and Dijon omelet stuffed with tender bits of Boudin Blanc Sausage. Part of Gorham’s philosophy supports local food, but he wants to make sure you go on a trip.
“Sustainability is important and I follow that principle,” he says. “I also think that, as a chef, sometimes you want to bring something exotic to the table. It’s about making sure you’re buying great products from all over the world.”
Some of these great products might be included in your Burmese red pork stew. Delicious morsels of moist
pork make themselves comfortable underneath a perfectly cooked egg topped with fresh chives. Or perhaps you’re there on a Tuesday, when the pan seared Halibut appealingly rests amongst a spring vegetable pistou and potato confit. The comfort food of the Pacific Northwest comes alive at Tasty n Sons.
As Gorham continues to expand his culinary empire, Portlanders can rest assured that this intrepid restaurateur is here for the long haul. “I definitely love Portland,” he states without hesitation. “It’s one of those cities that has a little bit of European attitude, which I love. It’s got the mountains, the rivers, the beach and great bars. There’s just a great lifestyle here and I couldn’t imagine raising my kids anywhere else.”
If you’re looking to see what all the fuss is about, Tasty n Sons is open for brunch from 9am to 2:30pm every day of the week. Dinner hours are Sunday – Thursday from 5:30pm to 10pm and to 11:00pm on Friday and Saturday. They are located at 3808 N Williams, Suite C in Portland, Oregon, 97227. For more information check out their website at www.tastynsons.com or give them a call at (503)621-1400.
William Bessette – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor
William Bessette is an author, journalist and blogger who’s been writing professionally for over eleven years. When he isn’t writing or eating, then writing about eating, expect him to be outside enjoying the natural splendors of his home in the great Pacific Northwest.