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Another Portland Blog

Friday, April 23, 2004

 

El Grillo Report - La Venganza

It's been a long time since the last El Grillo report. If you're not familiar with the place, it's a Mexican restaurant located just off SW Broadway. But this isn't just any Mexican restaurant. It just so happens to share a common door with Mary's Club, everyone's favorite strip club (AKA Benito del Toro's home away from home).

With its location in the heart of downtown, it's within a stone's throw of the Benson, Burger Skank, a billion office buildings and the bar district down on 1st. Given this, El Grillo probably draws the most diverse clientele of any restaurant in the city. It's not uncommon to eat find yourself eating a burrito alongside businessmen, hipsters, strippers and mute drifters panhandling for swigs of beer.

But all that might change. A few weeks ago, I was shocked (shocked!) to discover that El Grillo was closed for remodeling. I made a trip last week and the place is a shadow of its former self. Gone is the cool, ancient art mural with the grasshopper in the boat. It's been replaced with a line of lifeless framed artwork. The chipped, white counter has mutated into a spotless lake of deep blue tile. All in all, the place now looks like any number of downtown bistros. "The dank" is gone and, along with it, much of El Grillo's charm. Some might call this an improvement. Others, like myself, call it gentrification (booo!).

The menu, on the other hand, remains unchanged. They still serve tongue.

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