If you watched the TV show 90210 in the 1990s and wished you could go to the Peach Pit, you’ll love the Rockabilly Cafe in the St. Johns neighborhood. Scads of ’50s memorabilia enlivens the space; Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Elvis songs play while you dine; and the kid-friendly menu is packed with all-American comfort food made from organic and locally sourced ingredients. The only thing missing is Brandon Walsh.
The diner opened in February 2022 and I recently visited with my husband, 10-year-old daughter, Adela, and 7-year-old son, Cruz. The kids were instantly charmed by the checkerboard flooring, sparkly red-vinyl booths and vintage steering wheels dotting the walls. We seated ourselves in a roomy booth and looked at the menu.
The Rockabilly Cafe offers a solid kids’ menu. Pro tip: They serve breakfast all day — a huge plus for Cruz. He ordered a waffle, apple slices and bacon for his meal. Adela opted for the kids’ cheeseburger and onion rings. She loves onion rings and was excited to have them as one of the menu choices. Adela can be picky about her hamburgers (she likes a juicy burger), but gave this one a thumbs up. Cruz’s waffle was a little dense, but he still ate a good portion of it.
I tried the “Who Cares Who Invented It” cobb salad. It was a generous portion and tasty overall, I just wish it had had a few tomatoes in it. My husband tried The Clubhouse sandwich, a turkey and bacon triple decker with lettuce, tomato and avocado. He had intended to eat just half of it, but liked it so much he nearly finished it off. He was trying to show restraint because we had a plan to order milkshakes. You can’t go to a ’50s diner without having a milkshake, right? We tried the Chocolate Elvis, chocolate ice cream, peanut butter and banana; and a French Crepe, vanilla ice cream with Nutella, banana and malt powder. Both were out-of-this-world good. I couldn’t pick which one I liked better, but globs of peanut butter in the Elvis may have swayed me The King’s way. And the servings were enormous! We got a tall frosty glass full of shake, plus a big metal shake canister with a hefty portion in it. We slurped as much of the cool, creamy treats as we wanted and we still had leftovers. Pro tip: Two shakes was plenty for a family of four!
If the Rockabilly Cafe was in our neighborhood, we’d become regulars. But since it’s a trek for us to get to North Portland, we’ll settle for an occasional visit when we are in the neighborhood or a special trip to one of their events like drag queen bingo brunch or a sock hop that includes dance lessons and dinner.
Rockabilly Cafe, 8537 N Lombard St.
Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday: 8 am-8 pm; Friday and Saturday: 8 am-9 pm.