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Dime Store (Portland, Oregon)

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The Dime Store
The Dime Store logo, Portland, Oregon.jpg
Corner exterior storefront of a building with a black first floor and a drown brick second floor
The restaurant's exterior in March 2016, after closing in November 2015
Dime Store (Portland, Oregon) is located in Portland, Oregon
Dime Store (Portland, Oregon)
Location in Portland, Oregon
Restaurant information
Established2014 (2014)
ClosedNovember 2015 (2015-11)
Previous owner(s)Dayna McErlean
Food typeAmerican
Dress codeCasual[1]
Street address837 SW 11th Avenue
Postal/ZIP Code97205
CountryUnited States
Coordinates45°31′09″N 122°41′02″W / 45.51909°N 122.68400°W / 45.51909; -122.68400Coordinates: 45°31′09″N 122°41′02″W / 45.51909°N 122.68400°W / 45.51909; -122.68400

The Dime Store was a short-lived restaurant in Portland, Oregon, in the United States. It was established by Dayna McErlean, with additional conceptual development from Jeremy Larter. The restaurant opened in 2014, replacing Leo's Non-Smoking Coffee Shop, a diner which had operated for thirty years. The Dime Store's menu included diner classics such as burgers and milkshakes, along with all-day breakfast and weekend brunch specials. Despite receiving a positive critical reception, the restaurant closed in November 2015.


The Dime Store was housed in downtown Portland's Medical Dental Building (pictured in 2012).

The Dime Store was a restaurant housed in the first floor corner of the Medical Dental Building (837 Southwest 11th Avenue) in downtown Portland.[2][3] Its menu was created by Claire Miller and included American diner classics such as burgers, ice cream floats, milkshakes, sundaes, and other desserts,[4] as well as upscale diner food and healthy food options with a farmers' market influence.[2][5][6]

The all-day breakfast menu included buttermilk biscuits and gravy, Water Avenue coffee,[7] fried egg sandwiches, pancakes, and scrambled egg specials. The lunch menu included sandwiches (BLT, club,[4] falafel, grilled cheese, meatloaf), salads, and soups.[5][8][9] The Dime Store's weekend brunch menu featured Eggs Benedict, French-style omelettes, and the "Boss-Lady's Breakfast", which included braised greens, fried egg, and sausage. Brunch cocktails included Bloody Marys, mimosas, and Salty Dogs.[10] Its beer, cocktail, and wine selection was curated by Nick Ramsdell.[5] One milkshake special featured Salt & Straw, a Portland-based artisanal ice cream company.[11]

The restaurant featured a horseshoe-shaped kiosk-style counter displaying coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and a variety of 25 periodicals supplied by The City Reader, a Modern Newsstand on Southeast Division.[2][5] It was described as a "shinier" version of the coffee shop which had occupied the same space for thirty years prior, with grey and red linoleum flooring and teal pleather or vinyl seating.[5][8]


The restaurant replaced Leo's Non-Smoking Coffee Shop, which was owned by Peter and Jane Chan for thirty years.[2][8] When Leo's closed in February 2014, rumors had already circulated about restaurateur and developer Dayna McErlean's plans to open a more upscale diner.[12][13] The Dime Store's concept was created by McErlean and Jeremy Larter, and was inspired by the soda shops they both experienced growing up on the East Coast. Prior to the restaurant's opening, plans were to serve breakfast and lunch during mid-week hours, with the potential to later add happy hour and family-friendly dinner options, as well as outdoor seating.[2][3]

The Dime Store opened in the early summer of 2014 (June–July), with a grand opening on June 16.[4][5][9] It began operating with a limited menu during the hours of 7am to 3pm;[4] hours were later extended to 6pm.[1] The restaurant's weekend brunch launched in July, offering a larger menu from 9am to 3pm.[10]

The restaurant closed in November 2015. The owners posted online, "It was a hard decision but sadly we have decided to close our doors. Thanks to everyone that's supported us and have dined with us. We will miss you all and happy holidays!"[7] Willamette Week's Martin Cizmar attributed the diner's closure to its location and lack of nearby foot traffic.[7] Oregon Liquor Control Commission documentation from March 2016 shows an application for a tradename update to The Daily Feast.[14]


The diner's interior in March 2016
The Dime Store's interior, 2016

Fodor's called The Dime Store "bright and hip", offering "office workers and hotel guests a much-appreciated source of seasonally driven, well-prepared comfort fare".[1] Cizmar wrote a positive review of the restaurant in August 2014, in which he paid tribute to Leo's and described his two $1 extras (an egg on his BLT and maple syrup for his pancakes) as "the best two dollars [he] spent all week".[8][15] That same month, Thrillist contributor Drew Tyson included the diner in his list of the "11 Best New Restaurants in Portland", writing:

Billing itself as a "finer diner", this old-school space feels a bit like the diner in Twin Peaks. There's a magazine and candy counter in one corner that no one seems to touch; just quick enough service that once you start questioning whether or not you'll get another cup of coffee, one arrives; plus a menu full of classics. All-in-all it's one of the only places you can go in Downtown and feel like you're transported somewhere else entirely.[16]

The Portland Mercury's Andrea Damewood wrote:

Dime Store is its own thing, a great place to grab lemony eggs benedict and a Water Avenue coffee on a Sunday without a massive line. Sure, there's vintage milk bottles as water pitchers, "Hound Dog" blasting from the speakers, and a big-old 1950s vibe going on—but you're not going to feel like some asshat in a retro-themed chain here ... There's no life-changing or avant-garde cooking happening at Dime Store. You won't see coffee mayo and duck bologna like Vitaly Paley's crew puts out at Penny Diner. You won't find the greasy hash browns available at the actual old-school diners. But that's kind of the point. Dime Store is a sweet slice of nostalgia with just the right nod to current dining realities.[11]

In 2015, The Oregonian included the diner's "Dime Burger" as one of five "burger classics" in its list of the city's "100 best Cheap Eats".[17] The newspaper later included The Dime Store in its list of the "top 10 Portland restaurant closings of 2015".[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Dime Store". Fodor's. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bakall, Samantha (March 19, 2014). "The Dime Store to take over former Leo's Coffee Shop in downtown Portland". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications. ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Jones, Allison (May 8, 2014). "New Details for Downtown's Dime Store Diner". Portland Monthly. ISSN 1546-2765. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d DeJesus, Erin (June 5, 2014). "The Dime Store, Downtown's Upscale Diner, Now Open". Eater Portland. Vox Media. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Bakall, Samantha (June 4, 2014). "First look: The Dime Store, downtown Portland's 'finer diner'". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  6. ^ DeJesus, Erin (May 9, 2014). "Eater Tracking". Eater Portland. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Cizmar, Martin (November 24, 2015). "The Dime Store Has Closed". Willamette Week. Portland, Oregon: City of Roses Newspapers. Archived from the original on March 29, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d Cizmar, Martin (August 26, 2014). "Dime Store". Willamette Week. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Bamman, Mattie John (November 24, 2015). "The Dime Store Has Served Its Last Cup of Joe". Eater Portland. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  10. ^ a b DeJesus, Erin (July 14, 2014). "Dime Store Brunches; Big-Ass Sandwiches Selling Cart". Eater Portland. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Damewood, Andrea (October 1, 2014). "Putting in Her 10 Cents: Dayna McErlean's Dime Store Diner Delivers". The Portland Mercury. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  12. ^ DeJesus, Erin (March 19, 2014). "Dayna McErlean Taking Over Leo's Coffee Shop Space". Eater Portland. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  13. ^ Beck, Byron (April 23, 2014). "Nonna's Dayna McErlean Names Her St. Johns Haunts". Eater Portland. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "Weekly Applications Received for Entry Dates: 03/14/2016 Thru 03/17/2016" (PDF). Oregon Liquor Control Commission. March 17, 2016. p. 7. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  15. ^ DeJesus, Erin (September 2, 2014). "Three Sparklers for Kachka; Brooks Files on Maurice". Eater Portland. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  16. ^ Tyson, Drew (August 27, 2014). "The 11 Best New Restaurants in Portland". Thrillist Media Group. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  17. ^ Bakall, Samantha (April 1, 2015). "Portland's 100 best Cheap Eats 2015 -- the complete list". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on October 6, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  18. ^ Rasmussen, Randy. "The top 10 Portland restaurant closings of 2015: Dime Store -- All-Way". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 29, 2016.

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