While other pockets of Portland have gone trendy to attract the swinging-single set, Montavilla has gone family-friendly.
A stretch of southeast Stark Street near 76th Avenue has exploded with colorful new shops, great restaurants, and a restored '40s-era movie palace, nearly all geared toward parents and kids.
Montavilla got its name in 1889 from Mt. Tabor Villa, then a farming suburb; today, the only farmers are at the Montavilla Farmers Market (Sun Jun – early Oct). Little ones will love a romp around Mt. Tabor Park followed by a matinee. Even the Bipartisan Cafe has a toy corner for the kiddies.
From downtown Portland, go east on I-84 and take the 82nd Ave. exit. Turn right at N.E. Multnomah St., left at 82nd Ave., and then right at S.E. Stark St.
Mt. Tabor Park Few realize that Montavilla lies at the foot of a volcano that fizzled out after its last eruption. See the actual cinder cone on top while enjoying gorgeous city views. INFO: S.E. Belmont St. at S.E. 69th Ave.; 503/823-2223.
Academy Theater Spiffed up in 2006, this 1948 movie house runs $3 movies on three screens. Kids accompanied by parents are welcome until 8 p.m.; on-site child care allows Mom and Dad to enjoy pizza, microbrews, and a flick ― in peace. INFO: 7818 S.E. Stark St.; 503/252-0500.
Flying Pie Pizzeria When not tossing hand-spun pies for the theater next door, the pizzeria serves its own loyal clientele. INFO: $; 7804 S.E. Stark; 503/254-2016.
Bipartisan Cafe Debate over dessert is encouraged here, where homemade pie is served amid political paraphernalia. INFO: $; 7901 S.E. Stark; 503/253-1051.
The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar Down-home cooking with a gourmet touch. Chef-owner Adam Sappington is a dad himself and welcomes families with a kids' menu ― plus free meals for the under-10 crowd on Sunday nights. INFO: $$; 7937 S.E. Stark; 503/408-1414.
Paperdoll Crammed with rubber stamps, unique greeting cards, and creative craft supplies. INFO: Closed Sun – Mon; 7909 S.E. Stark; 503/408-6867.
TREAT YOURSELF ...
to happy hour ― Acupuncture Happy Hour, that is, at Les Fleurs de la Sant Day Spa (happy hour 4 – 7, by appointment only; 7817 S.E. Stark St.; 503/255-2155) ― $25 buys you a mug of house-blended organic tea while your toes soak in a warm herbal tub, followed by a therapeutic acupuncture treatment in the comfort of a plush couch. Getting needled never felt so good.