I was sitting at a popular blue-collar bar a couple weeks ago, and the friendly woman next to me started chatting about food. She mentioned that the restaurant spot next to the Creekside (RIP JR’s BBQ I still miss you!!) was soon going to reopen, and the place would be called Meat n’ Potatoes, with a comfort food theme.
Well, she was right, so thank you for that, Friendly Bar Woman, and not only did it open, but the fellow who does the pizza there is none other than Rudi, the fellow who used to make the Deanos pizza. Y’ALL remember Deanos, right? That campaign to save the pizza shop on the Mesa from closing? Regardless of where you stood on the issue, and regardless of the quagmire it’s still in (apparently the owner skipped out on the lease and left a couple other holding the bill and a lawsuit, ouch), there’s a segment of town that loved the pizza there. And it’s here! I should note that Rudi has been making pizza at the Creekside for some time, serving it out the back window of the bar’s patio. But nobody seemed to be talking that up. Now that the restaurant portion is open with a larger menu, there’s more reason to pop by for a bite.
So now we have Meat n’ Potatoes, where the concept is simple, blue collar comfort food in a simple environment. It’s part of a suite of Red Star Restaurants who also have Alcazar on the Mesa and Milk & Honey downtown, the now-closed Chilango’s downtown, and the soon-to-be Pub in the Funkzone.
They have a “full” bar, in the sense that you can order cocktails and such, but do not expect to have a delicately muddled mojito. Think simple! Gin and tonic, vodka cranberry. But yeah, they’ve got a proper liquor license, and while I was there people wandered in and happily sat the bar to have a basic cocktail. I was also there when the Creekside was having some kind of cowboy night, so people came in all dressed up as well. And you know who else walked in? Friendly Bar Lady, who’d first turned me onto the place.
Foodwise, think sliders, pizza, steak, potatoes in assorted forms, basic salads. I got an order of sweet potato fries, because I missed the ones from Chilango’s. They came out piping hot with a side of chipotle mayo, just as I remember them. They cost about $5.
Then I had to try the pizza and see how much they were like Rudi’s when he was making them on the Mesa. I got the pizza with bacon, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. Sure enough, the crust was the signature style where it’s rolled many times to have a crisp flaky texture, and the pizza was baked on parchment so the cheese that fell off the sides of the dough got browned and crispy. Uh, yum? The onions on this pizza, btw, were super caramelized, making the whole pizza rather sweet tasting. I sat at the bar chatting with my dining companion long enough that our pizza got cold and the crust lost its cripsness. That’s okay! They offered to throw the pizza back into the oven and warm it up again. Perfect!
Bonus: it turned out there was a Facebook promo going on, and the pizza that night was just $10! Normally this combination is $16. So, if you like deals like this, consider joining their facebook page where the offers will be pushed.
The final item on the simplicity concept: CASH ONLY. None of this nampy pampy plastic stuff. For someone like me, who has trouble faffing around with smelly green pieces of paper, it’s potentially a nuisance. But there’s an ATM in the restaurant and the fees are more reasonable than most others, at $1.95 for a transaction. ‘Sco.
But no matter the concept, Meat n’ Potatoes faces the same issue as all the places before it: parking is ass. If the Creekside is hopping busy, you’ll be hardpressed to find a place to park. So get there early, and carpool!
Meat n’ Potatoes
I returned here with some friends for the happy hour specials, where appetizers are half off.
There are also deals on beer and house wines, $3 wells, and $2 off the specialty cocktails and specialty shots, which are normally $8.50 and $7.50, respectively. So, YES, Killer B’s now has a full liquor license.
I tried the Sunset cocktail, which seemed similar to a Cosmopolitan in ingredients. Vodka, lime, cranberry, triple sec I think. One thing that surprised me was the size. Elegant, no. Big, yes. Weak, probably, but not to me since I am a lightweight. I had to nurse my drink for nearly two hours. Serving it up in a pint glass is quite popular to the hungry crowds, the manager hinted. They also hinted of cocktail experiments taking place, trying to incorporate some of Killer B’s unique sauces with say, a signature bloody mary. Sounds good to me.
As for food, it was a share-fest. We shared a platter of sweet potato fries (yum!) and the slider trifecta, getting a chicken slider, a pork slider and a beef slider, all dressed with coleslaw and served on little toasted buns. Finally, we shared an order of deep fried mac and cheese balls. Deadly and delicious, thank goodness we were sharing.
With my cocktail, 1 well drink and 3-4 beers, plus sliders and mac and cheese, the bill was $25, quenching thee people. Not bad!
Now for other deal news: lunch specials!
I picked up a flier for their latest lunch deal, called the Express Lunch Menu. The dealio is that the food will come in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free. The fine print: valid Monday-Friday from noon-3 pm, excluding holidays. Does not include alcoholic beverages. Dine in only, and most notify server prior to ordering that you’re “in a hurry” ya know.
So what’s the food?
BBQ Chicken Salad
All meals include a soda and one side. Starting at $7.99 and nothing is over $10. Whattadeal, you penny pinchers, tightwads, frugal gourmets, and lunch rushers. Plus, BBQ!
Killer B’s BBQ and Bar
I don’t know about you, but I’m still a little upset over JR’s BBQ closing several years back. JR’s turned beef ribs into tender meat velvet on a bone and they had great sweet potato fries. But I’m at a good point in my grief cycle and it’s time to move on.
A good way to dabble in what they offer is sampling the happy hour menu. Appetizers are half off up until 7 pm, and you can try the trio of sliders for about $3.50. That’s what we got, and it includes a bbq brisket slider, a pulled bbq chicken slider and a pulled pork slider. They come on lightly toasted rolls, with a generous dollop of cole slaw sweetened with pineapple. They were all good, but with the sauces dominating the flavor spectrum it’s hard to tell which is which.
Speaking of sauces, most items already come seasoned and lightly sauced, but you can add more bbq sauce and there are several to choose from. A sweet sauce, a honey chipotle and a habanero sauce. I’m like goldilocks, I like the one in the middle.
Another item ordered from the appetizer list was the deep fried mac and cheese balls. If you’re a deep fried fan, this is a fun one to try. The cheese has a good tang to it. It comes with a spicy mayonnaise for dipping. Normally $5, and $2.50 at happy hour.
We also tried a half rack of baby back ribs, which were great, very tender while still holding structure on the bone. These came with two sides and I went for the deep fried goodness of sweet potato fries and onion rings, all tasting fine. It’s $11 for the half rack and two sides.
This was a lot of food for three people, so it’s not surprising we had some leftovers, which the folks at Killer B’s were happy to provide a takeaway box for. Aw, what a cute little slider in a big cavernous box.
People who’ve had Memphis style bbq, or Kansas City bbq in Memphis or Kansas City grouse that Killer B’s is not either, but I doubt that Killer B’s is trying to be just like those places. Hey, I don’t say your fried rice is bad because you don’t make it like my mom’s fried rice. The guy working the smoker has his way of doing things, and the fact that there *is* a smoker on site to barbeque the meat is pretty cool, and I like the food that came out of it.
At the time I visited, Killer B’s could serve beer and wine. But soon they’ll have a full bar license with proper cocktails. Technically, they consider themselves a sports bar, which isn’t really my thing, but the convenient location, the access to bbq made on site in a large smoker and the temptation of a cocktail would keep me coming back.
Killer B’s BBQ and Bar
A small group came here after a fantastic show of Mummenschanz at the Granada. We were still riding high on the quirky creativity of the group and an unexpected visit backstage after the show where we met the performers and even played with one of their clay masks from the show.
This time, I got to try their highly touted mac and cheese. It’s good! The right amount of soft gooey cheese that shows it’s a homemade sauce that doesn’t clump up or get greasy. I do wish the top sprinkling of cheese got a little more time under the grill, to get the cheese golden brown, but there will be other opportunities.
Not to make the macaroni our only carb, we also got the sweet potato fries, as they are my personal favorite.
Alicia got the pulled pork sliders with cabbage, which looked fabulous. She also requested the “secret sauce” which is a sweet curry mayonnaise . Uh, yum!
After a leisurely afternoon wandering the contemporary art wing of the Portland Art Museum, I started to make my way to the Pearl District to meet up with Shalene and also Ted. I passed through Director’s Park, where a solitary food truck was set up. This was the Violetta food truck, a “slow food” restaurant on wheels, offering organic, local source products, served fast and at fabulous prices.
I was very tempted by their chicken and biscuits, very tempted. But got their sliders instead. These were two grassfed beef sliders on soft bread with lettuce, pickle, sauce. $5!!!
Presentation and packaging was well-thought out. The sliders came in a cute cardboard box, and the food truck itself had a red carpet for customers to queue on. So fancy. My food tasted very fine, sitting out at one of the tables of Director’s Park, and reading the latest issue of Edible Portland. How can they do it at these prices?!
Etta Burger Cart (Southwest, Downtown)