Papa G’s Organic Vegan Deli

Updated 4/12/2008 We have a How-To dine at Papa G’s guide coming soon! For now, we recommend the daily specials – 4.99 for one entree and one side dish, or 7.99 for two and two.

Seven Corner Bicycles moved to SE Powell over a year ago, and it’s cute, little building was vacant until this past month, when Papa G’s took over. Formerly serving hot food items and a salad bar at the now defunct Daily Grind, I am welcoming Papa G’s Vegan Organic Deli to the neighborhood with open arms.

Sure, nearby New Seasons has great vegan offerings, but Papa G’s has a more versatile selection that you don’t have to walk past meat and cheese to get to. Everything is deli style, and most dishes are by the pound (exceptions include the baked goods, drinks and soups). Main dish options are $8.75/lb and side dishes are $4.99/lb. The deli cases are like Fred Meyer’s meets the hippielicious coop of your dreams. Currently, there are bottled beverages, nondairy milks, and espresso drinks but no straight up coffee. There are casual tables inside, and my fingers are crossed for outdoor seating this spring.

The dish that’s been creating the most buzz, and I positively agree, is the BBQ tofu. The combination of the chewy texture and smoky, exquisitely spicy taste of the ‘fu with its thick sauce have me hooked. I’ve heard it compared to ‘steak tips’, and while I’ve never had those, I can see where the idea is coming from. It is served cold, but perhaps the staff can heat it if you like.
While I can’t call it cheap, Papa G’s strives to be organic, and it is entirely vegan. A recent dinner, pictured below*, cost me about $7.50 (I got an additional $1 discount with this February coupon). My salad was small, but I did have heavy items like chickpeas and tofu. I dig the ranch dressing. It’s very light (and thus cost effective) but there are also thousand island and goddess dressings available. My pictured dinner consisted of BBQ tofu, black beans and brown rice. The latter two were basic, working well with the extremely flavorful main choice.

Among the sides, the mashed potatoes with ginger gravy are herby and chunky. I prefer their mushroom gravy, but if you can accept savory ginger and mashed potatoes like my partner, you’re in the clear. I’ve only seen the coconut ‘smashed’ yams a couple times, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for this decadent treat. Their mac and cheeze reminds of the first good vegan version I had – creamy, comforting, and homemade.

Papa G’s packaged tofus are definitely worth mentioning and are cheapest on site ($3). The tofu is really firm and comes in the garlicky Original and Savory Sesame. It is available packaged to go and on the salad bar – it’s great crumbled in salads or eaten plain and cold.

There’s also a breakfast bar, which features yellow tofu scramble, oatmeal, sweet grits, granola and housemade milks and yogurt. Hazelnut milk? Cashew milk? Coconut Kefir? Yes, please. Some of their items, like the tofu scramble and roasted potatoes, are pretty mild in taste. I suppose it’s a comforting notion, which means they can appeal to taste buds across the board. There are more vibrant flavors throughout day, in dishes like their Stronganoff, coconut greens, curried vegetables, that BBQ tofu again, and rotating specials. And did I mention biscuits and mushroom gravy by the pound? They biscuits were dense, but that actually wasn’t a bad thing – it just made me want more gravy. And no line! No wait! Though with their options, I won’t be surprised as that changes.

Stumptown Vegans will revisit this review, and Papa G’s, over the next few months as it develops. What a treat to have an utterly vegan deli for nights when you don’t want to cook! You simply need to decide how much you want vs. how much you obviously want to pay. There’s a lot to try, and while I wasn’t wild about the lasagna, that’s simply crossed off my list and I get to move onto trying countless other dishes.

Let us know if you have a favorite! And no offense, but a lot of the food looks straight from a table at a crunchy vegan potluck, which some people may find daunting, or delicious. Once you dig in, it’s up to you.

BBQ tofu, black beans and brown rice*
mid feb 08 026

From the salad bar*
mid feb 08 025

Mashed potatoes with Ginger Gravy

mid feb 08 021

Grits and Roasted Potatoes
mid feb 08 007

Tofu Scramble, Biscuits and Mushroom Gravy
mid feb 08 006

BBQ Tofu
paga g's

Roasted Potatoes and Ginger Gravy

paga g's

Smashed Yams and Quinoa with Tofu
paga g's

Savory Sesame Tofu package and a Brownie
mid feb 08 008

Rating: To Be Determined in Time!
Address: 2314 SE Division St. Portland, OR
Monday-Friday 9am-8pm
Saturday & Sunday 8am – 6pm

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13 responses to “Papa G’s Organic Vegan Deli

  1. I dig their mashed potatoes A LOT. The mac n cheese is on par with any other in town and the BBQ tofu has a firmness I can really get behind (I can’t really deal with spicy foods but I can handle this pretty well with a glass of water.)

  2. Deeelicious! I had the smashed yams, a tofu-walnut ball, and a savory, spiced shredded cabbage dish whose name I’ve forgotten. Love the stroganoff & coconut greens, but I’ll have to save those for next time. The place is casual, comfortable and clean as a whistle. (Much as I miss the Daily Grind, it always looked a bit dingy to me in recent years).

  3. I finally checked it out last night (and ran into Jess!) and really enjoyed it. I liked the casual scene and the curry was fantastic. I also tried the tofu ball but it was a little salty or something b/c I didn’t like it. Overall, it was good!

  4. Erica – No doubt! I recall seeing a handwritten sign inside mentioning the kefir, too.

    ChrisI – We’re going to give them some time to develop more before we rate. Think of this more as an initial review.
    And sure you can order a full amount of heavier items, but I dig how you can order a small amount of various items as well, and try some of each.

  5. I went there twice. First had the salad bar (simple salad of spinach greens, green onion and some of their tomato chutney—I did really like the chutney) and a little bowl of their yogurt with some orange segments. I had been anxious to try their yogurt, and it was okay. Not sweetened which I actually appreciated, but not real exciting. Runny, also, which is to be expected.

    The second time I went back specifically to get the BBQ tofu, after hearing it was good. And it was good. The texture was great, I liked the spicyness. I did actually find it a little overwhelming after a few bites, it’s a pretty dense food. And expensive at 10 bucks a pound.

    A little while after eating that, I sort of had the realization that yes, Papa G’s is fresh, organic, pretty tasty, and vegan, but for what I paid for half a pound of bbq tofu (which was still sitting in my stomach like a rock), I could get a delicious, varied, vegan and probably mostly if not 100% organic meal from the Red and Black. I think the cost is a big factor, and could be worth it if it was really great food. All in all, I’m glad they’re there and seem to be doing pretty good business. I may stop in to try other items from time to time, but like I said, seems like there are other better vegan options in town.

    And, despite being a “deli,” they have no vegan reuben. 😉

  6. I just went there for a late lunch/early dinner and I tried several of the hot items….Coconut Smashed Yams, Quinoa with Tofu, Mac & Cheese and one of those walnut balls or whatever they were…all which were good! A sauce, maybe the gravy, on the walnut ball would of been good. If I’m in the area again I’ll be sure to try it again.

  7. this place is pretty expensive but sooo good – we really like the pizza rolls and the ginger gravy is AMAZING. The staff is super friendly as well 🙂 when we want to treat ourselves we head over here

  8. Pingback: Savor Soup House Cart « Stumptown Vegans·

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