Junior's Cafe - Vegan, Gluten Free, Portland Restaurant Review

I love the weekends because they give us an excuse to sleep in and then decide to go out for brunch. Lately we have been trying new places from the Portland Chinook Book, which offers great coupons for local restaurants, entertainment, grocery stores and much more.

One of their dining coupons is for Junior's Cafe in SE Portland. It was a "buy one entree, get one of equal or lesser value free". Those are the best discounts and since we live nearby, we couldn't resist giving it a try. We headed over to Juniors around 1pm on a Saturday and didn't have any expectations, as we had never heard of it. We looked online and found out they have a decent amount of vegan choices, but only one or two vegan and gluten free entrees. Junior's is located in an unexpected place. It just kind of popped up in the middle of some neighborhoods. It's small and quaint with some really sweet wallpaper and decor. We sat down immediately in a cushy booth when we got there, complete with own carafe of water. They had customers but it wasn't busy and I am curious if it ever gets super crowded. Anyway, we were promptly greeted and served by some of the best customer service at any Portland spot. Serious. Those Junior's folks were friendly, energetic, warm and kind. In fact we had two different people serve us and both were awesome.

On to the food... it is diner food, so if you're looking for healthy or raw options, then keep looking. But if you're in the mood for comfort food then Junior's is your place! I ordered the vegan potato plate. It comes with spicy seasoned potatoes, corn, mushrooms and zucchini and is topped with a spicy tofu sauce. The guy who took our order suggested I add the "SortaSausage". I had no idea what it was but he knew it was gluten free and vegan. After some iPhone searching, I found out that it was also sesame free, GMO free and locally made. I am so so so so happy I added it to my meal. That sort of sausage is sort of awesome. No, it is awesome. I usually do not like vegan sausage products for the same reason I never liked actual sausage (texture and flavor), but the kind of SortaSausage they had was more like crumbled Sunshine Burgers, which I love.

The dish overall was unbelievable. I was expecting a ho-hum plate of potatoes and instead got a [huge] heaping plate of goodness. The sweet corn and zucchini were perfect with the spicy potatoes and tofu sauce. The tofu sauce alone was amazing. It added some heat to the dish, was delicious and kept it from being too dry. The sausage added some "meat" to the meal and was filling, but it was everything plated together that was perfectly delicious.

Vegan Potatoes with SortaSausage

Andrew ordered a cup of coffee, which never went empty (that helped make up for its price). It came with a generous amount of soy milk (enough for a small glass). He also ordered the french toast breakfast and got it veganized. It came with garden sausage patties and tofu. However, our awesome waiter asked if Andrew would rather have potatoes than tofu, to which he replied yes.

The french toast was great with maple syrup and Earth balance (though Andrew prefers thicker french toast). He enjoyed his potatoes (even if they seemed so plain next to mine), but the best part of his meal was his sausage. We couldn't figure out what brand it was until the waitress told us it was Gimme Lean sausage that they froze in the tube and then cut, so it would hold together like a patty. Andrew thought it had the best texture out of any kind of breakfast patty and was happy they didn't serving Morning Star veggie sausage like everyone else. Even though he enjoyed his meal, I knew as soon as our food came out that he wished he'd ordered the vegan potatoes too. Andrew confirmed this and luckily for him I had a portion large enough to share (and take home leftovers)!

Vegan French Toast Breakfast with Potatoes and Garden Sausage

Our food was filling and delicious and Junior's Cafe is a must visit for their hospitality and friendliness alone. We'll be going back and I have my bets that next time we'll be ordering two vegan potato dishes!