Pink Rose: Bringing a Bit of Portland to the Pearl

The Front of Pink Rose, looking down into the underground lair

The Front of Pink Rose, looking down into the underground lair

You step off the streetcar in the Pearl where 13th and Lovejoy intersects. On a summer night, you might hear live music playing from the corner, emanating from just beyond a steel sign with the words “Pink Rose” cut out. A few steps West on 13th street you discover a metal gateway that reveals two paths. Descend the stone steps to discover a plush underground bar and restaurant, or ascend the stairs to join the people watchers dining on the patio. A server approaches with a smile and you remember the feeling of being at home. Congratulations. You’ve found the Pink Rose.

The Pink Rose Restaurant & Lounge is one of the hidden gems of the Pearl, an intimate venue known only by savvy Portlanders or by NOLO (North of Lovejoy) locals. Have you heard of it yet? You may have already found yourself here bantering over cocktails and desserts while a well-known local DJ plays at the turntables. Or you may have been brought here on a date, an upscale dive chosen for its comfortable, intimate, and classy vibe. You might know it to be great alternative spot to watch a sports game away from the shoulder-to-shoulder jam of a sports bar, a place where you can occasionally spot the Portland celebrities who’ve come in for bite of their house-ground everything burger. Or perhaps you’ve been here after following up a recommendation for their famous brunch menu with the Bloody Mary, made with their own Rosie’s homemade hot sauce and mimosa special. Locals swear by the place, and say that its homey and authentic style “Brings a bit of Portland to the Pearl”.

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A pink rose can vary from light plushes to dark sexy crimsons. Like its namesake, each opportunity to visit The Pink Rose brings an experience that is shaded a bit differently from the last. Those who’ve come to the Pink Rose for their popular brunch might not know of their quality dinner options with original dishes and cocktails, and vice versa. If you haven’t been yet for brunch yet, you’ve got to try out “The Stack”, a house scratch biscuit with gravy, fried chicken, eggs and cheese. If you’re coming for the evening, you can taste from a charcuterie board while you sip at whiskey flights on the patio or sip house-aged sangria in the cool underground lair of the bar below. You can even smoke cigars on the patio after a certain hour.

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To better understand the unique qualities of this innovative third-year venue, I sat down with the owner Adan Heller and Chef Kacey Lopez to get to know the story of Pink Rose. Check out the Pink Rose menu and upcoming events at


What is the origin story of Pink Rose?

Adan: The business was started with the encouragement of family. I was bartending at up-and-coming places around town and would host family at home and they’d say this and that dish is the best I’ve ever had. I originally started Pink Rose with another family member. Now my dad and mom drop-in after Sunday church. My mom has a spanish coffee and my dad has a bloody mary and they get a good kick out of coming into the city, seeing the place and going on to visit the Saturday Market.

What’s a summer night at the Pink Rose like?

Adan: Who doesn’t like a fireplace patio on a summer evening. We’ve got a great charcuterie or a cheese plate with a whiskey flight. If you’re looking for refreshments we make our own aged sangria, and also our house-made ice cream on top of molten lava cake. Deep-fried oreos, like the carnival classic. We have fun. We welcome smoking on the patio after a certain hour. Hard to find any other place where you can smoke a cigar and listen to live music.

How is music a part Pink Rose?

Adan: Music is a big part of my life and we’ve always had relationships with great musicians. We try to pick the right music for the right crowds. We put live music on the outdoor patio, a DJ on the turntables underground. We’ve got a lot of good relationships with some of the talent in Portland and the customers always give us great feedback about their

What would you say you are best known for?

Kasey: We’ve got one of the best burgers in town, hands down. We just like to make good food with fresh ingredients and so each of our dishes turn out really well.

What’s an original dish that you’d only be able to find at The Pink Rose?

Kasey: We’ve also got a great Smoked Pork Salad. Pork Shoulder served with orange and grapefruit supremes, avocados, pickled red onions drizzled with a cilantro mango vinaigrette and sprinkled with poppy seeds. I love Mexican food so there are some of my favorite Southwestern flavors in that dish.

What does the future of Pink Rose look like?

Kasey: We are interested in opening another location in the East Side. We think we’ve got a good thing here and we always hear from customers coming over the Broadway Bridge who want a Pink Rose in their own neighborhood.

Adan: We feel like the word is just beginning to get out about our weekday night menu. Everyone comes for brunch, but those in the neighborhood know that we are a great place to stop by for dessert and wine. We’re excited to be adding a few new menu items and to continue to produce unique events with the local community and musicians.

How is the feedback you’ve gotten from your customers been?

Adan: We’ve come a long way and our customers and staff have all helped make us into what we are now. When we first opened, we let the neighborhood tell us what it is that they wanted. We had a bit of a concept in the beginning and we’ve changed a lot from what that was. That’s good! We were smart enough to let go of our original vision and listen to our customers, to make them happy while still giving our personal touch. Recently a regular put his hand on my shoulder and said to me that we’ve got something real special going on here, it’s just different. It’s a different place, different feel. It’s unique.

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