THE MONTAGE (a lost art)


My wandering days in Portland, Oregon always seemed to lead to the Eastside. It’s low profile warehouses  and edge loved by my camera. Wandering often ended or started just down from SE Grand Avenue, under the Morrison Bridge. There, the colorful Montage restaurant held court.

True to its name, it served everything from alligator to oysters somehow combining those small parts into a French and Cajon delight. For those who could find it, the Montage became a favorite over 27 years. Some complained of its loudness, the noise from the bridge, the waiters shouting out orders (a tradition) and the rowdy late night diners. It was loud, but I always got lost in the wonder of how all the pieces of the place came together to delight. I remember how the chef would form tin foil into fish, frogs, and alligator as part of the meal presentations.

A covid loss, The Montage unfortunately closed in 2020, only survived by a food cart of the same name. Ironically, I now live on a street named Grand in the Carolines. It is tree lined and peaceful. My thoughts though often go back to the days of wandering by the Montage. Realizing that the best of life is often made by bringing its small parts together.