Did you know Mother’s Day, Easter, and the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season are the busiest brunch days of the year? With Easter this weekend I thought I’d highlight an under the radar brunch option that requires no reservations or waiting in long lines – so its already a winner even when its a regular brunch and not just high brunch time. And with, that, let me highly recommend brunch at Wares at the Zipper.
That’s right Smallwares is back! After shuttering and causing much sadness, Smallwares was able to emerge as a smaller microrestaurant concept now called Wares. They’ve brought back many favorites, from the signature bright red shelves to loved dishes from their regular menu and their brunch menu. Here’s a look at Wares, and I have been especially going for their Brunch Specials. No line to get seated or to order – Just go up and order, get a number for your food order, and go find a seat yourself among many open tables (so far it’s been indoors but soon it’ll be al fresco brunch at their outdoor patio!) and wait for yummies!
If you haven’t been to the Zipper before at NE Sandy and 27th, the idea is that there are many small restaurants which have a few tables inside their space, but that also share a large indoor and outdoor common area. You order at one or multiple of the tenants, pay, and they give you a placard identifier and you can sit anywhere you want whether it’s inside the place you ordered or the common area that is covered and there are garage doors that can open to an outdoor area as well. They’ll find you to deliver your food. You bus the empty dishes and trays back to to the a collection area. I mean look at these photos of all the seats open at 11am on a Sunday. A handful did get filled in the 45 Min or so I was there, but this is a hidden brunch option I’m sharing.
At Wares, the regular menu is available 7 days a week 11 AM – 10 PM. If you are there for brunch on the weekends, they have an addition to the regular menu 11-3 AM (which means you can still order favorites like the fried kale along with those brunch specials). They have a special more pared down late night menu 10 PM – 12 AM.
The feel inside the Wares space is very similar to Smallwares, it really feels like a baby Smallwares with its signature red shelves and little whimsical decor. The new addition are the pretty ponies. On one visit they had Frozen and My Little Pony valentines for their table numbers, and then on another I squeed when I saw actual My Little Pony dolls.
At brunch available on weekends 11 AM – 3 PM, special additions include an amazing Congee with chinese sausage, granola, egg yolk, and chili oil which I think is the best congee I’ve ever had. I’ve raved about it when it first appeared at a Country Brunch that Smallwares appeared at several years ago, it was on their brunch menu at pop up Lil’ Wares in Summer of 2015, and even when Smallwares was shuttering there was one last hurrah for this congee when a version appeared at Brunch Village. Soooo glad it’s back, bless you for bringing it to Portland. You can tell I’m a wee obsessed and I’ve had quite a history with this dish.
Wares has a Chinese Sausage bao on their regular menu daily, but for brunch they also have a Breakfast sausage bao with gravy and scallion paste topped with an egg. It definitely has a kick, and I was so glad I had a lychee mimosa to help cool my tongue down.
For some other egg porn, consider the Turkish Eggs with tahini yogurt, chorizo butter, and toast where I recommend you break the egg and dip that crispy doughy bread into the mixture of creamy but spicy and eggy bowl.
Did you go to Smallwares before? Would you go to Wares, what dish is calling to you?