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Roux, buh-bye

July 18th, 2009

Some people loved Roux.

Your girl Wacky Mommy is not one of those people and I am glad to see Roux go. They didn’t play well with others. We had dinner there a few times. It was way too expensive, but it wasn’t just that. They were not the sweetest people if you weren’t One of Them.

We spent a hundred bucks once, for vegetables. (Seriously. All sides, and we spent a hundred bucks. Most of my family is vegetarian, so we had sweet potatoes, hushpuppies, salads and brussels sprouts.) I liked the soft-shell crab sandwich, the crawfish potpie, the hushpuppies. But mostly I didn’t like the parking hassles, the numerous wrecks (mostly fender-benders, as far as I know) that were caused by the cars parked up and down both sides of the street, the way the owner was a prick when I called to ask him if they could work with the neighbors to deal with the parking situation. (They had no lot, I understand. But did he have to be so rude?) The city finally put in a crosswalk, but it was still a bitch, how rude their diners were, with their super-sized Hummers and Mercedes and all. We’re not so much a Mercedes neighborhood.

Also, when the O first did a review of the place, they made a snarky comment about “in a neighborhood where people grow corn in their front yards…” Well, everyone’s growing corn in their front yards now, so who’s a trendsetter, bitch?

I know, I know, everyone gushed about their brunches. Who the hell can afford brunch? If you can afford brunch you need to be donating more money to the Oregon Food Bank, fixing yourself a nice frittatta at home and calling it a day.

I liked the drapery ladies who were there before. They were nicer and said hi when you walked by. They gave us bags of remnants, rick-rick and fringe when they moved to the west side. (Paramount Drapery — they knew my grandpa, who installed draperies for Goodell’s for a long time.)

Mostly, I didn’t like the crowd. I didn’t mind the place so much at first — they were serving coffee for awhile in the mornings, and lunch. (Which I can sometimes afford if I can’t afford dinner.) They did a little corner deli store-type thing for awhile, but never got enthusiastic about it. I liked the girl from New Orleans who was with them, Michelle?, but then she split. If you’re moving into a primarily blue-collar neighborhood, you have to serve lunch, or do something nice for the neighbors, get some buy-in. Don’t try to be a “destination spot” that thumbs its nose at everybody who surrounds it. Cuz you will get taken down. Or the neighborhood will gentrify along with you, and you will leave a lot of bummed out, dislocated people in your wake, and that sucks, too. (Witness: locked-up liquor store on Interstate Avenue, boarded up houses sealed off with chain-link fence. My daughter, asking, “Where did they go, Mom? Did they have other houses to go to?” I hope so.)

I don’t like walking into a restaurant that is half-empty and having them give me the stink-eye and ask me, “Is there something I can help you with?” Yeah, got any tables I can bus? Hahaha. (This happened to me a couple of times at Roux, so I finally got the hint and stopped going.)

I didn’t like the fancy cars and the fancy people, giggling like mad as they rushed across Killingsworth, being “naughty” in the “‘hood.” You know what we do over here? Work. Grow corn in our front yards. Play with our kids. Go for walks. Have block parties. Yeah, we’re all running wit’ da gangs over here, constantly. It’s exhausting, really, with all the gunplay.

In all seriousness, it wrecks us when someone is killed or hurt because of gang violence in my neighborhood. Someone’s baby, never coming home. I was with the kids one time, leaving the library, and here comes trouble, all 100 pounds of him, lifting his shirt to show the girls in front of us his gun. (They were shielding my kids, so the kids didn’t see. But I did.)

“Where is he? You tell him I’m looking for his shit.”

Struts off. Me, to the kids, “Get in the car right now.” (I tell them, in certain situations, you just have to say goodbye fast as you’re walking down the stairs and leaving. In other situations, you just get the hell out of there.)

Later that night, a mess. Patti from the Florida Room is a good neighbor.

It is not funny at all, or “hip,” or “naughty” when bad shit happens. It is heartbreak is what it is and it means my friends and neighbors have one more funeral to go to. As someone posted on Facebook today, there are a whole lotta folks saying goodbye lately.

I do not take it lightly.

Pause is a great neighborhood place. They never get reviewed all big-time, but who cares about crap like that. They don’t. The owners are sweet as hell, funny, the waiters and waitresses are consistent and good. They smoke their own meats over there, and they know I love a Caesar salad and a big bowl of homemade clam chowder and a vodka lemonade in a tall glass with ice.

They know how to run a damn business, the guys at Pause. (The Low Brow Lounge is theirs, too.) I know, the kids sometimes take over the lawn and drive us all nuts, but whatever, it’s fine.

It kinda tickles me that Beaterville is steady as always, and DiPrima Dolci is just fine, thanks, along with George’s Bar, the taco cart, Pause… but Roux is gone.

You know who else is good neighbors? Us, and my neighbors. We’re good in the neighborhood. Bye, Roux.


  1. BlackFriend says

    They were pretty snippy when I asked for a donation for the school auction. Acadia, over at 15th/Fremont, always donated to North Portland schools when asked. The Florida Room has done a ton of fundraisers, as have others in the neighborhood. I can’t speak to their menu, I only could afford dessert once.

    It was a “great place for dinner when Mom and Dad are payin'” kinda place.

    July 18th, 2009 | #

  2. The Other Laura says

    Completely ignorant about the wheres of Portland but gee, Nancy, this is really well written. Can you send it to some local rag and get it published?

    July 18th, 2009 | #

  3. Wacky Mommy says

    BlackFriend, yeah, why would they want to support our schools, when they don’t even live in the damn neighborhood. As far as when mom and dad are paying… they were rude to our parents, too, when we went there with them! At Pause the guys know exactly how my mom likes her food and they baby her. Ditto my in-laws. “Having a good visit to Portland?” etc.

    TOL, i love you.

    July 18th, 2009 | #

  4. Vixen says

    Is it the pain pills or does this only make sense to people who live in OR? Hee hee. Otherwise, I may need to curtail a few of those pills.

    I love you sweetie.

    July 18th, 2009 | #

  5. Wacky Mommy says

    It is unfortunately a very Portland thing. Sorry ’bout that. Hope you feel better soon, Ms. Vix.

    July 19th, 2009 | #

  6. LIB says

    I’m MAJORLY intrigued by ‘Pause’. How ’bout a triple date: you & Hockey God, Peter & Leslie, Chris & I? Shall I work on scheduling?

    July 19th, 2009 | #

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