GET TO KNOW: Kenton

Kenton is a close-knit neighborhood located in North Portland and surrounded by the Arbor Lodge, St. Johns, and Piedmont communities. Right as you reach Denver Avenue, one of Kenton's main thoroughfares, a historic 31-foot tall Paul Bunyan statue greets you with a large smile and classic Portland plaid button-up. Paul Bunyan was erected in 1959 on Oregon's 100th birthday and is only the beginning of a rich history for this small neighborhood. 

Originally, the land was purchased by The Associated Banking & Trust Company in 1892 as an area to invest and develop new real estate. Not long after, the area was sold to cover local debts and was then purchased in 1906 by the Union Meat Company. The next few years brought "no less than twelve major manufacturing firms located in the Kenton area, making this area second only to St. Johns as a manufacturing center. Kenton was unique because it became one of the few examples of a company town in Oregon." Eventually, the town grew and adopted modern transportation and means of life. During this time, Denver Avenue became the community's main street. Trendy homes for the time were built for officers and local families all along Denver Ave. and some can still be found today. Then in 1948, the town was wiped out by a flood. Since then, Kenton has been rebuilding and in recent years has been going through a revival. Today, it is a hub for small businesses including restaurants, shops, and taprooms.

 

Home styles in Kenton vary; from bungalow and cottage to grand victorian, there is a little bit of everything which makes it the perfect area for nearly everyone. Even though this area is now becoming trendy, locals have been loving Kenton for years. Kenton has close proximity to downtown Portland with a quick 7-8 minute drive and easy access to the "Max light rail which is located on nearby Interstate Avenue." 
 
The Portland Metro Expo Center lies just in Kenton's backyard. Whether you love attending trade shows, live performances, or various exhibits, the Expo Center has an event for everyone. If that wasn't enough, Kenton also holds an annual neighborhood street fair. "The fair is typically held on the third Sunday of May in the heart of the downtown Kenton commercial district on North Denver Avenue between North Watts and North Willis." With the abundance of entertainment, events, and close proximity to local spots, Kenton is an ideal Portland community. 

 

Our Kenton Favorites

 
Spending the day in Kenton is always an adventure. Every time I am in the neighborhood, there is always a new spot to try. I could spend forever talking about all of the amazing shops and restaurants in Kenton, but for now, here are some of our favorites:
 

 

Restaurants:

 
Po' Shines Cafe De La Soul - Is “a minority-owned contemporary soul food Restaurant
with a Cajun flair." This amazing restaurant not only strives to provide excellent dining but also works closely with its community to help others by "providing career development opportunities through its non-profit workforce training program, Teach Me To Fish (“TMTF”)." Stop by and grab some of their mouth-watering catfish or their chicken and waffles to satisfy your comfort food craving.

 

Photo Courtesy of Skyblueportland.com

Fino Bistro - This neighborhood Italian restaurant "offers a fresh, local, made-in-house menu" with hand-crafted fresh pasta that is made daily and excellent New York Neapolitan pizza. Fino Bistro has been a part of the Kenton community for over 14 years and is an absolute must-try!

 
Posies Bakery & Cafe - Located on Denver Ave, Posies is the sweetest local cafe that hand-makes an assortment of pastries, sandwiches, and locally roasted coffee. One of my favorite desserts is their pistachio cake paired with a Tanglewood Chai tea. Posies is the perfect way to start off your morning!


Drinks:

 
Mayfly Taproom & Bottle Shop - At Mayfly, their motto is 'Life is Short'! They believe in enjoying all that life has to offer, and for that reason, they have a long list of unique rotating beers, ciders, and wines. Mayfly is one of my favorite spots to stop at after a long day or a good hike. There are always friendly faces and a welcoming atmosphere. 

Parkside - This classic pub is serving up delicious bar food which includes their famous roast beef sandwiches and is best served with one of their house cocktails. I love sipping on a hot toddy next to their outdoor fire pit or participating in their weekly trivia nights! 


Tiny Bubble Room - Inside of this lounge dive-bar, is an extensive list of rotating taps and whiskey selection. While the inside has a classic dark retro feel, Tiny Bubble Room has recently added a garage-style roll-up door that opens up to a large parking lot with plenty of outdoor seating. The owners have mentioned big plans for the future which include heated outdoor seating and a second lounge area that will serve sushi. I highly recommend stopping by for one of their excellent beers!

Activities:  

 
The Smith and Gardener - This woman-owned boutique showcases other Portland women-created hand-made goods. With a heavy focus on plants and jewelry, Smith and Gardener is the best spot to shop and support local artists and small businesses. 

Salvage Works - Started in 2010, Salvage Works is "a one-of-a-kind shop that offers a curated selection of heritage lumber, distinct wall cladding, and custom furniture." So whether you are looking for materials for your next woodworking project or want a unique piece of furniture for your home, Salvage Works is a must stop. 


Pulp & Deckle - Have you ever been curious about how to make your own paper? Pulp & Deckle offers a truly unique experience by offering classes, lectures, and products to help coach even the least artistic individual on the history and process of papermaking. 

Popo & Archer Take Kenton:

 
Hi there, it's Popo and Archer again! This week we got to explore Kenton with our dads and we have a couple of new favorite spots to run and explore. Our first stop was Kenton Park. With big, green, wide open spaces, it was the perfect place to do lots of sniffing and ball chasing. After we ran what felt like a marathon, we headed over to the Columbia Slough trail where we got to see views of the Columbia River! There were so many kayakers and wildlife to watch, we can't wait to go back.

Skip to the Bottom...

 
In a hurry? Here is a recap of our favorite spots in Kenton:
 
Food:
 
 
 
 
Drinks:
 
 
 
 
Activities:
 
 
 

 

 
Want to explore more of North Portland? Hop over to Kenton's community page and check out what local events are happening now!