¿Por Qué No?

¿Por Qué No? Brief Review
Overall Service Food Quality Atmosphere Vegan Options
6 4 6 9 5
Location: 3524 N Mississippi Ave / Portland, OR 97227 / (503) 467-4149    
4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 503.954.3138
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-10pm Times Visited: 4

¿Por Qué No? started serving Mexican food out of a brightly decorated hole in the wall location on Mississippi near Fremont in the Mississippi Neighborhood. For vegans, I cannot say the restaurant provides too many options, but the few choices are good.

The restaurant is small, very small, with tables to match. If you’re not a small person, you probably will not find the dining options comfortable, that is, assuming you’re able to get a table. The place is almost always packed for lunch and dinner, but the line typically moves quickly. Eclectic nick-nacks cling to the brightly colored walls helping to you briefly forget you’re in a small space.

Orders are taken at the counter, next to beautiful jars of various juice, also known as aqua frescas. Seating is limited, so scope out your seat before deciding on “for here”, or “to go.” (And don’t have your dining companion scope a seat while you stand in line to order, it is frowned upon.) When your order is up it will be called to be retrieved from the counter. Tables should be self-bused after you’re done eating. It makes you wonder why meals can be as much as $8 when the service is not more than you’d expect from a slow taco cart.

The food is a bit expensive for what it is. The Verdura Tacos, filled with pinto beans and lightly seasoned veggies, are fine, but it’s the housemade corn tortilla that makes them worth the $2.75, each. The tortillas are as smooth as wheat tortillas and taste as just as fresh, as they are made to order. 

The Spicy Cucumbers with Guacamole ($5.50) is a wonderfully refreshing alternative to chips and guac on a summers day. However, it is cheaper to enjoy the housemade chips and salsa. Fellow cilantro haters should be warned of the evil green stuff in the Salsa Fresca, and topping many of the dishes. Just say no.  

At $6.50, Bryan’s Bowl is the best vegan bang for your buck. It’s a medium sized bowl filled with beans, rice, salsa, an assortment of seasoned vegetables, and guacamole. To top it off, it comes with either three corn tortillas or fresh chips. Either way you go, there’s enough to make a meal, or two, out of it. 

The only other vegan item worth mentioning is the Aguas Frescas, the beautiful fruit juices in large jars. The flavors are ever changing so so you never know what you’ll get. On a hot summer day, order a watermelon guava fresca and some Spicy Cucumber chips to cool down with.

One of my favorite decorations in the restaurant is the blog-like text placed in picture frames. I love to read them to learn that the business is doing well and employees are able to have health insurance, or how the business started, or how the business is expanding with the opening of the Hawthorne location last year. Speaking of the Hawthorne location:

The other Stumptown Vegan found her sole visit to the Hawthorne location an obviously big change from the Mississippi locale.  The dining room is twice as large and was filled with twice as many people.  There was more air to breathe but an increased amount of chatter.  Odds are you will find yourself sharing space at a large wooden table with other smiling folks munching on chips and sipping colorful margaritas or Mexican Coca Cola.  The beans and rice were just as tasty, but the chips were considerably under salted.

We will save you the cheesy ¿why not give this place a try? We  suggest taking a friend or a date to ¿Por Qué No? on a warm summer’s evening, when the option of sitting outside at their sparse tiny tables, or getting your food to go is appealing


Por Que No - Decor

Aguas Frescas:

Spicy Cucumbers:

Bryan Bowl:

Bryan Bowl:
Brian's bowl, segmented

Verdura Tacos:
webly tacos

super salt chips


10 responses to “¿Por Qué No?

  1. I love the por que no salad made vegan. Pile of greens, grilled veggies, avo, salsa and pumpkin seeds. That’s the only thing I’ve ever had there, it’s perfect!

  2. Don’t forget the happy hour! I believe it is between 4-6… 1$ off tacos and $1 off chips & guac . Love it! Probably drink specials also…

  3. i’m surprised that you feel so mediocre about this place. i agree it’s kind of expensive but i think that the food is of a notably high quality. the spicy cucumbers are so delicious. also one of the better margaritas in portland.

  4. I have to agree with Liz, I love the Hawthorne location! Even on really busy nights, a party of two can always find a spot (they tables turn over quickly). You might call the options ‘limited’, but compared to all but Los Gorditos, the options abound for vegan Mex food. I agree with ami, too. The salad (sin queso) is wonderful, and plenty to share. Try the rum & juice (rum & one of those agua frescas). They are smooth, and way too easy to drink.

  5. i *finally* went to a Por Que No a couple weekends ago and all the raving i heard from friends was apot on. i had the bryan bowl veganized and a large margarita. so! good! i wish it came with more tortillas, but that’s my only complaint. there is a drink special during happy hour. it’s either 50 cents or a $1 off margaritas….

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