Brunch staple Beeswing has decamped for Sellwood-Westmoreland. On the menu: dynamic, expertly balanced staples, served up with a hearty welcome.
After months of social media buzz, it’s finally happened: Beloved brunch stop Beeswing, whose Cully location was forced to close last summer, has reopened in the Sellwood-Westmoreland storefront that formerly housed Laurelwood Brewing.
Curious about this second coming, and just a little hangry, my husband, 3-year-old daughter and I rolled up at 8 am on Beeswing’s first day back in business to see about breakfast.
Though the Tapatio was arriving just as we did and the OLCC license was still in the works, that old Beeswing vibe was definitely in play: airy, casual, and abidingly unflustered.
My heart sank a little when I saw that Beeswing would again offer counter service, which always feels to me like waiting twice: first to order (while standing, perusing a menu, corralling kids and eliciting orders as you watch the seating area fill up); and then again once you finally sit down and get everybody sorted.
Even with a smallish crowd, we waited almost 20 minutes to order — a long time for a preschooler like my daughter, Gabi. My husband, Emiliano, plied her with a strategic snack while I waited in line, star-struck by the baked goods glistening beneath the counter glass: delectable doughnuts, salted cookies and cheese-and-charcuterie-speckled biscuits.
As I am currently avoiding grain and dairy, I focused on the official menu, which offers a dynamic brunch spread, peppered by Beeswing’s signature culinary twists. Think: sourdough waffles, breakfast burgers and Japanese-style fried chicken (karaage).
Also available: Gluten-free toast and buns, alternative milks, and a small-but-serviceable kids menu with staples like eggs, waffles and a burger; plus some very exotic-sounding house cocktails. (If you try the spicy grapefruit margarita, please report back!)
When it was our turn to order, I selected the smoked trout hash ($13.50), while Emiliano picked biscuits and gravy ($12.50) and a magical-looking maple doughnut ($3.50). In keeping with a New Year’s resolution, Emiliano and I also shared a cup of decaf ($3.75). Gabi, who is (mostly) GF, chose the kids’ granola ($6).
While we waited for our food, we sipped that (unexpectedly good) decaf, and Emiliano dug into the doughnut. Gabi and I licked off some (fine, most) of the maple glaze, which was rich and complex and paired perfectly with the coffee.
Emiliano’s biscuits and gravy bucked the standard PDX presentation of soggy biscuits drowning in a cardiac-arrest-inducing gravy ocean. Instead, a manageable portion of house sausage gravy let the buttery biscuits shine, and the bed of creamed kale — hearty and dotted with tangy mustard seeds — straight-up stole the show.
My hash was also standout. The potatoes (Yukon gold and sweet), which came julienned in a veggie medley that included pickled onions, really tamed the salty trout. That hash was so perfect, in fact, that I pushed my (just OK) poached eggs aside to focus on it exclusively.
The milk for Gabi’s granola came served in a cute little ceramic pitcher. Bucking convention, she immediately chugged the entire pitcher, then ignored the actual granola, her appetite spoiled by the pre-brekkie snack and the maple-glaze licking.
Attentive servers checked on us repeatedly, despite opening-day crowds, and the DIY coffee bar made refills easy.
The meal was satisfying without being heavy, and Gabi was impressed enough by the experience to announce: “I wanna be a cooker when I grow up!”
Aside from the lack of changing tables, this is an uncommonly family-friendly spot: High chairs dot the dining area, which reverberates with excited yelps and occasional crying fits, and nobody bats an eye if a kid (not mine!) runs a mid-meal lap around the dining area to blow off steam.
Our take? The brand-new Beeswing retains what made it special for families the first go-round: a chill atmosphere and a diverse, lovingly curated menu emphasizing beautifully balanced plates. Just come prepared to wait a little … and then maybe a little more.
If you go: Beeswing, 6716 SE Milwaukie Ave. Daily, 8 am-3 pm, 503-477-7318, beeswingpdx.com.