Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Island Cafe

250 N. Tomahawk Island Dr.
Portland, Oregon 97217

Happy Hour Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m.

Island Cafe is a floating outdoor restaurant on the Columbia River. It can be accessed by car or boat, and it is one popular place! I met a group of people for Happy Hour at around 4:30 on a Tuesday, and it quickly became so full that there was a wait to get in.

We got a seat at the bar, but I was at the end of the group so sometimes I wasn't able to participate in the conversation. What was interesting for me, though, was that I was right next to the place where people came up to order drinks. I am pretty entertained by people watching, and I am also pretty nosy, so this quickly became a sociological experiment. One of the first things I noticed was how few people say please and thank the hour or more that we were there, I only heard two people say please. There were more thank yous, but overall I was pretty appalled by how many people just barked out their drink orders at the bartenders. "Yes, I'll have an IPA and a Corona." No please, no thank you. Ugh. I also noticed that many of these people were bad tippers. Which brings me to an interesting question--what is the proper etiquette for tipping when you are getting drinks? Some people feel it is one dollar per round, regardless of how many drinks you ordered. Other people seem to think it is one dollar per drink. Still others follow the 15-20% rule that they normally adhere to at a restaurant. During my observation at this particular place, some people seem to feel no tip or a fifty cent tip is acceptable as well. I'm eager to hear opinions on this issue.

Bad manners aside, the Island Cafe had really nice, awesome bartenders. They were friendly, checked in regularly, and put up with people whose parents apparently forgot to teach them the magic word. I liked them a lot.

As far as drink specials go, it was unclear to me exactly what the Happy Hour deal was. I think it was $1 off of draft beer, but I wasn't sure about mixed drinks. This meant that my boyfriend's IPA was $3.50, which wasn't a bad deal. I got a Corona (another side note here--is Corona really on par with PBR or Coors Light? I always thought it tasted way better, but the people I was with argued that if you put a lime into either of the other two the taste would be identical). Ok, I actually got multiple Coronas ($3.50).

I forced my boyfriend to order the pulled pork sliders ($4.95) even though he wasn't hungry. The things he does for our Happy Hour blog! These were just okay. There were only two, were pretty salty, and you had to put the extra BBQ sauce and coleslaw on yourself. Not good for lazy people like me.

I ordered off the regular menu. I got the corn dog and fries ($4.95). Corn dogs bring back happy memories of my favorite kind of school lunch when I was a kid, so I can rarely resist them when they are an option on the menu. This corn dog was exactly how a corn dog should be. The fries left something to be desired though. They had this crunchy batter on the outside that was somewhat tasteless. I didn't like them at all.

Based on our experience here, Island Cafe is one of those places that you go to more for the atmosphere than for the food. The food wasn't memorable, but it's fun for people watching, has good service, and it gives you that island feeling of being on vacation. It was a fun place that I wouldn't mind going to again.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets (some drinks are a little pricey for what they are)


Island Cafe on Urbanspoon

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