I visit a lot of coffee shops, and have more than a few favorites in town, but Arbor Lodge has really grown to have a special spot in my transit loving, premium coffee drinking, bike loving heart.
My first visit to Arbor Lodge happened purely by accident about a year and a half ago. I was in the area to have breakfast with my parents. We often meet in north Portland along the Yellow Line route at different stops to eat together. They come down from the great northern enclave of Vancouver and Interstate Avenue is an easy way for them to either drive to, or drive and take the MAX to.
This particular day I had arrived a bit early. Since I had 45 minutes to kill I decided to check out this little coffee shop that I spied across the street from Nite Hawk Cafe and Lounge. Nite Hawk is a joint I check out on a semi-regular basis. It’s good diner style food, with a super convenient location next to the Yellow Line Light Rail Stop.
Transit Sleuth Meet Arbor Lodge, Arbor Lodge Meet Transit Sleuth
I went in and immediately took in the simple yet woodsy interior of the coffee shop. The tables, counter and other elements had a finished glazed look of varous pieces of tree stump and wood. It was a warm feel with an openness that was attractive. I pulled up to the counter which provided full view of the espresso machine and other elements behind the counter. All was clean which is always a good sign. To the right of the counter was a glass display case with pastries and other basic items. The pastries were of the local high quality variety.
I ordered a soy cap (cappacino). I didn’t get the scary response of, “what size would you like?” So far, so good. I took a seat at the bar facing out the front window of the shop. The seats were a solid, good quality wood cut, that provided a great view outside of the MAX Stop for south bound light rail trains, the Nite Hawk, and the New Seasons further across the tracks. The traffic on the street out front had regular auto traffic, but also a steady flow of cyclists. Something that isn’t abnormal in Portland, but is a little newer in this northern area of the city.
As I sat and watched all of this I extracted my laptop & phone to sit on the bar counter. I pulled up and checked some email while I waited. Within a short minute or two, my cap was ready. I got up and walked around to the side of the counter where the drink was placed, waiting for my judgement. The foam looked right, the smell was wonderful, and even had a hint of blueberry and pine. I thought to myself, “could this shop be one of the up and coming top notch joints in Portland?” I held up the cap to my nose to smell and sip off some of the foam.
To my delight I was ecstatic. I sipped again, pondering if this were true. It was indeed true! Arbor Lodge, the barista here, had just provided me one of the best capacinos in the entire city! Saying that in Portland is saying something pretty huge. I walked back, perched upon the stool facing outside and enjoyed my drink. I was truly happy, content and enjoying the view. It was one of the tranquil moments in life, when things just seemed all perfect.
I had fallen in love with this great new coffee shop. “I would definitely be back“, I thought to myself.
Here it is, it has been more than a year and a half since that visit and I’ve been back an easy dozen plus times. Every cup of espresso or coffee is superb. Arbor Lodge carries Coava, which for those coffee drinkers out there, you might just know about this brand.
So next time you’re out and about on the Yellow Line. Stop in for an amazing cup of coffee, cappuccino or other beverage of your choice.
Happy sipping & riding,