Glyph Café & Arts Space
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When we first came to Portland, the special ethos and passion that Portlanders bring to their projects captured our hearts. It was this culture of playful invention that inspired us to create a place where such people might gather, eat and work amidst a changing kaleidoscope of art, literary and cultural projects. Likewise, our approach to coffee, tea and food has been influenced by the artistic vibrancy of the various cultures and places we’ve encountered while living abroad, mainly in Mexico, Central America, and South and East Asia. In other words, Glyph is not meant to be a place for one to rush through a drink in a paper cup before one runs to work. Rather, it’s a place to gather, nourish one’s self, converse, exchange ideas, and complete that stalled sentence or solve a perplexing design problem. Our aesthetic—from our menu to our monthly visual art and written word exhibitions—is meant to spark your imagination as well as the imaginations of those around you. Hugo Moreno and Sandra Comstock
Hugo Moreno and Sandra Comstock’s cafe looks an awful lot like an art gallery, but that’s kind of the idea. After all, when the two academics weren’t teaching, they were huddled in cafes sipping hot drinks, engaging in conversation, and taking in the paintings, photographs and spoken words displayed or performed there. Each month at Glyph, a local artist is invited to show his or her work at the North Park Blocks cafe, as as are writers, whose poems and prose are prominently displayed beneath the cafe’s glass tabletops. Moreno and Comstock are also determined to make sure that there’s an art to the cafe’s menu too—the ingredients the kitchen uses come mostly from local artisans. There’s a “tea theater” where hot sippers can watch the calming spectacle of loose-leaf tea preparation. And each month, chef Doug Weiler prepares one-night-only dinners inspired by the works of the visual artist and writer Glyph’s currently championing. For instance, Weiler’s first dinner, inspired by Japanese painting and poetry, was based on the concept of the haiku: three clean, simple courses respectively made with five, seven and five ingredients.
Few cafes employ a full-time chef, but Glyph, the cafe and arts space on the Pearl District’s most eastern edge, does. And while pairing pastries with your coffee and tea is fine and good, slightly fussy, yet still unpretentious breakfast fare is finer and better. Why settle for a bagel when you can have a cheesy, eggy breakfast sandwich made with your choice of either Olympic Provisions-cured chorizo or Sweetheart ham on a light, fluffy, flaky housemade biscuit? If you’re down with neither meat nor gluten, you can order a pair of fried eggs atop a warm, creamy mound of polenta that comes plated with a lightly dressed swirl of fresh arugula leaves. But, the cafe’s best (and most decadent) morning offering has to be the French toast. Why exactly? Because it’s made from bread pudding and gets generously schmeared with crème fraiche. In fact, it might even be better served as a dessert than a breakfast entree. Lucky for you, it can be both because, if you ask, Glyph’s breakfast is served from open to close, every day, all day, seven days a week.