Shut Up and Eat

3848 SE Gladstone (Creston - Kenilworth)
Portland, OR
503-719-6449
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Housed in a busy, comfortable shop on SE Gladstone... with a full grill, a fryer, ovens, and a line of burners, their house-baked English muffins, roast pork, and sautéed vegetables add a level of restaurant finish to a variety of well-conceived items.

At the heart of the menu are two iconic sandwiches. The Italian hoagie is still there, and admirably still only $8.50. The ingredient list goes something like this: sopressata, mortadella, capocollo, prosciutto, provolone, sweet roasted peppers, olive tapenade, oil and vinegar, Italian seasoning, and a stalk of sautéed rapini. I may be leaving something out. The flavors within mingle in moments of vinegary spice, salty richness, earthy olives, and lingering herbs, making the foot-long, one-and-a-quarter pound sandwich eat interestingly—and surprisingly cleanly—beginning to end.

The Italian comes on a sturdy Pearl Bakery roll that chef/co-owner John Fimmano uses because it reminds him of Italian sandwiches back in Philadelphia; finding that it was a lot of chewing work, on one visit I asked them to sub in the softer roll they use for other sandwiches. They said they'd do it, but not to go "spreading the idea around." Sorry guys, it was a home run this way.

Service over five visits was friendly and efficient. During slow times the cooks break down beautiful, watermelon-sized primals of deep crimson beef, trim great tubs of vegetables, and put bags of free day-old baguettes by the door. Shut Up and Eat was clearly a good restaurant jammed into a cart, and it's a pleasure to see the concept at work in a place more diners can enjoy it.

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