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Portland: Screendoor

After looking through many listings, I concluded that there are just no good friend chicken places near the outskirts of Portland. There are the usual offerings like Popeyes and KFC. I was told that the best and cheapest fast food fried chicken is at Safeway… This is such a big change from mid-Atlantic, where I could easily find amazing fried chicken from Royal Farms, a local gas station chain. It is odd that KFC also started at a gas station. I hope someone decides to open a good fried chicken joint near me soon. In the meant time, I headed downtown to Screendoor, a southern restaurant that is known for their fried chicken.

It is packed on a Sunday night, but I am offered a seat in the outdoor balcony area that has been prepared for the winter. The place is wrapped in plastic and the heaters are pointed towards the patrons – I don’t understand why nobody wants to seat here, seems like it is no different from the main dining area. The crowd is of mostly young adults, but I do not know why there is a crowd here. Sunday dinner time is usually the best time to eat out, but I guess that does not ring true for Portland. Or maybe, this is considered pretty empty for Portland standards. I’ll check back in once I live here long enough to make a good conclusion.


The menu is substantial with barbeques, Cajun and even a steak. I order the crispy fried buttermilk-battered chicken, which comes with mashed potatoes. Being slightly gluttonous, I also ordered a thin sliced of the fried pork chop. There should be a rule, just like the Geneva Convention, but for waiters, to stop a customer for ordering too much food. This could easily feed a couple, but I thought the portion might be small and went for the extra side. Should have read carefully that the fried chicken hot plate comes with (boneless) breasts and thigh, rather than thigh and leg.

Crispy fried buttermilk-battered chicken – all natural boneless breast & thigh w/ buttery mashed
potatoes & tasso ham gravy. $18
Thin sliced fried pork chop w/ tasso gravy. $5

The wait is not bad considering a full house. My server lay down my hot plate as I am mesmerized by the speed of the turnover in the restaurant. They do try to accommodate as many customers as they could. The fried chicken, unfortunately, is in the chicken fried chicken style, which is also obvious looking back at the description of being boneless. I do not have a bone to pick (he.) but I much rather eat the “traditional” fried chicken. All in all, the fried chicken is delicious, crispy on the outside, and rather juicy, the batter could probably use more spices, but I got my craving fixed. The fried pork chop, on the other hand, is a little underwhelming, especially coming from the yummy friend chicken. It isn’t exactly dry, or not tasty – it feels more like here is a slab of pork and to fill up your stomach. I guess that is why it is on the house side menu, and not as an entree. If I come back, I would most likely get a biscuit or pimento cheese, just to see how good this Southern restaurant is.

Maybe I’m doing this all wrong. Sure, Screendoor serves delicious fried chicken, and the chicken and waffles for Sunday brunch sounds wonderful. But half the menu is dedicated to our good friend alcohol. This make it seem like the food might just be an afterthought and is a good place to socialize with your friends. Most of the tables here are large, and that seem like the focus. As a result, the share plates and appetizers are as good, if not better, than the entrees. Which is a good thing, because I can’t spend this much just to get my fried chicken fixing every week!

Visited: Nov 3, 2019 at 7pm for dinner.
Address: 2337 E BURNSIDE ST.

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