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The Original: Eat. Drink. Gather.

In the 1950s and 60s, diners and supper clubs were social hubs, gathering spaces that blended a bit nostalgia with the modern rhythms of daily life. The menus were comprised of the comfort foods brought to this country by the immigrants who shaped it, and were refined to satisfy contemporary tastes. The Original, Portland’s downtown destination for all-day dining, renews that spirit for the 21st century by serving up playful variations on the classic standards. Made from ingredients seasonal and local, and prepared with classic French techniques, our inspired menu of eclectic American cuisine takes on regional favorites and modifies them with flavors and textures unique to the Pacific Northwest. Traditional dishes, like Chicken Fried Steak and Beef Stroganoff, have been re-imagined, resulting in authentic meals that are as conceptually enjoyable as they are gratifying. So, settle into a spacious booth for a comforting brunch or a brisk business lunch. Stretch out in our plush retro-luxe banquette for an elegant dinner. Unwind at our candle-lit bar for that much deserved post-prandial nightcap. With an innovative and colorful menu of classic favorites in an atmosphere that’s stylish, sophisticated and cool, The Original honors the past as it listens in on the pulse of Portland’s adventurous and evolving tastes.

The Original: A Dinerant

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Executive Chef

AJ Voytko

AJ, a Wyoming native got his first real start as the Executive chef of Sand Diego’s CHIVE, where he was duly recognized by the James Beard Foundation (as one of its Rising Stars) and Southwest Magazine (as one of America’s Youngest and Brightest Chefs).
When he left in 2003, he started a decade-long run manning the kitchen of hotel restaurants all over the west, including the Inn at Ranchero Santa Fe, the W Hotel in San Diego, Three Degrees Waterfront Bar & Grill at Portland’s River Place Hotel and Portland’s famed Benson Hotel, which he left to man The Original’s kitchen.
Now that AJ is calling The Original home, he is getting back to the restaurant’s original creative roots, but with a more nuanced approach that’s as mindful of seasonality as it is of locally sourced meats and vegetables.

Highlighted features include grinding burger beef in house, and baking are burger rolls in house, too. Aj’s approach to take regular but unfussy comfort food staples—macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, grilled cheeses—and turn them into something that makes them destination dishes.
Above all, though, his motto is “Eat simple. Eat clean.”


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