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August 15th, 2001 Caryn B. Brooks<p>&nbsp; | z-Miss Dish
 

Enter the Purple Parlor

     
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IMAGE: ben guzman
GENTLE READERS,
Molly and Dan Sadowsky are just the kind of people who should be moving to our fair city, declares Miss Dish. The adorable couple, who immigrated to Portland from Atlanta during January of last year, is politically aware, community-minded, scrappy, inventive and motivated. And did Miss Dish mention that they're cute as puppies?

Now, there's certainly plenty of toothsome twosomes who plant themselves down in "The City That Works" each year; why would Miss Dish single Molly and Dan out for special recognition? Because they went ahead and opened up a fetching and needed neighborhood cafe called The Purple Parlor in a beautifully renovated Victorian home on slowly but surely blooming North Mississippi Avenue. And did Miss Dish mention that the place is vegetarian?

Oh yeah, and they both have almost no experience in the field of food service. Dan is 28, and in Atlanta he worked in journalism and public relations. Molly is 27, and in Atlanta she worked for the Centers for Disease Control in the area of public health. Both grew weary of the dead downtown, suburban sprawl and hamster wheel of that city's life. "I saw too many people in Atlanta chasing the dollar," Dan says. They wanted to come to Portland because they had read all about this city's commitment to livability and they both had a dream of opening a cafe that was part of the fabric of a community. "We wanted to get involved in a neighborhood that needed strengthening," he says. When they hit the Rose City they thought this dream was five years off. As they began investigating, using groups such as the Portland Development Commission and getting a feel of how they might start a business in what's called a target area, it became clear that they might be able to make it a one-year plan. Dan, who has a longtime interest in planning issues, became chair of a committee that helps boost the Mississippi Historic District. Soon enough, they heard about the 1898 Victorian through word of mouth, and they purchased it. Knocking down a wall or two, they opened up what was a single-family house: Now, downstairs lives the cafe, and upstairs lives the couple. And yes, they painted the exterior and interior a particularly commanding shade of purple.

Both wanted an emphasis on healthy food. Dan was recently diagnosed with diabetes and has had to pay closer attention to his diet, and Molly's been a vegetarian for nine years. Since neither had too much restaurant experience, they did a slew of informational interviews in both Atlanta and Portland and hired a chef consultant to help them before they opened the doors Aug. 1. Molly is the one who mans the griddle and who created the basis for the menu. For breakfast, you'll find toasted grain pancakes, egg 'n' soy-sausage sandwich and rice porridge, while lunch offers hearty plates such as blackeyed peas and greens, red lentil dal and pesto polenta. Stumptown provides the coffee beans. The cafe is right across the street from the Rebuilding Center; many finds from there were used in the remodeling, and all the furniture and tableware items were scored at second-hand shops. "I believe in recycling, and I like different stuff," says Molly.

Didn't Miss D. say they were cute?


The Purple Parlor, 3560 N Mississippi Ave., 281-3560. 7 am-2 pm Tuesday - Friday, 8 am-3 pm Saturday - Sunday.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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