Food for thought: Where to eat during UP’s Upperclassmen Family Weekend

By Julianna Pedone | November 3, 2023 11:00am

Media Credit: Julianna Pedone

It's that time of year again! From Nov. 3 to Nov. 5, UP’s chilly autumn campus will be filled with warmth and laughter as families gather for the annual Upperclassmen Family Weekend. 

As seasoned “veterans” on UP's campus, upperclassmen may want to discover new eateries with their families this weekend or revisit familiar places to bask in a sense of nostalgia. Either way, nothing brings a family together like a delicious meal. 

The Beacon has assembled a list of eateries within 20 minutes of campus that students and their families should be sure to try this weekend. 


Bastion PDX ($$)

Start your day off with a healthy and delicious bite from Bastion PDX. Bastion is known for its seasonal, plant-focused and sustainable menu curated by nutritionist-certified chefs. Like most PDX eateries, healthier does not mean lacking flavor — Bastion is known for its mouth-watering unique toasts, breakfast sandwiches and more. Although this stop may be pricier, it will keep you satisfied and energized throughout the day. 

Must try: Sweet potato and acorn waffle with maple syrup, the breakfast sando and smoked salmon bagel. 

Petunia’s Pies & Pastries ($$)

For families who are small breakfast people, stop by Petunia's Pies & Pastries to try one of their many gluten-free and vegan pastries. From banana oat muffins to freshly made and fried donuts, this is your one-stop destination for all your pastry desires. Woman-owned and featured in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit & Sunset Magazines and The New York Times, Petunia’s is definitely worth a visit. 

Must try: Sleeve of bagels, chai spice doughnuts and cinnamon swirl coffee cake. 

Gravy ($$)

If you want a big breakfast that will make you question the size of your stomach when the food hits the table, this is for you. Gravy is one of the most frequented breakfast stops in Portland — and undeniably one of the most tasty. Located in Portland’s Boise neighborhood, Gravy is known for, of course, their homemade gravy and breakfast staples. You definitely get the bang for your buck at this establishment, so bring an appetite and be prepared to take food home with you. 

Must try: Challah french toast, two biscuits and gravy and greco omelet. 


Drunken Noodle ($)

If you want your family to really get the UP experience, you cannot miss taking them to the canon event of Drunken Noodle. A short walk from UP’s campus, Drunken Noodle is an affordable lunch stop for those looking for a quick bite. It may not be the best Thai food you have ever had, but it certainly will satisfy your Pad Thai cravings. Boasting an extensive menu, there is sure to be something that stands out to every family member looking to place an order. 

Must try: Drunken noodle, crab rangoons and spicy basil fried rice.

Burrito Azteca ($)

There seems to be a campus-wide consensus that Burrito Azteca is one of the best spots for authentic Mexican food near campus. Students who are 21+ can grab a margarita with their families and enjoy an expansive and robust drink assortment at the bar inside the restaurant. Overflowing with ambiance, this eatery is an essential stop if you want quick, affordable and flavorful Mexican food. 

Must try: California burrito, azteca taco and margaritas.

Spitz ($$)

If you are in the mood for some flavorful Mediterranean food, look no further than Spitz. Located just ten minutes from campus, Spitz serves up insanely satisfying gyros, falafels, award-winning fries and more. Beyond its enticing food and welcoming atmosphere, Spitz also offers inclusive menu items for those family members with eating differences. Namely, Spitz boasts extensive kid-friendly, paleo-friendly and keto-friendly options with gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives. 

Must try: Fried pita strips with hummus and berliner fries. 

East Side Deli ($)

If you are still full from breakfast and are looking to grab something light for lunch, be sure to stop by the East Side Deli. East Side Deli is a definite UP student favorite. Between its affordable prices, close proximity to campus and delicious sandwiches, it is hard to go wrong with anything here. To give your family the ultimate UP experience, take them on a meander to the East Side Deli in the rain so that they get the complete picture of Portland’s lovely autumn weather. 

Must try: Spicy Italian, French dip and build your own.


Urdaneta ($$)

Given its higher prices, Urdaneta is very much a “treat yourself moment” — however, the food and the atmosphere of the restaurant make it well worth it. ​​A tapas-style Spanish restaurant, Urdaneta serves up family-inspired recipes with a modern twist using local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. Customers who eat at Urdaneta can peer into the open kitchen and see all the chefs at work preparing meals in real time. It is definitely an experience like no other. 

Must try: Pulpo a la brasa, pan and Basque cheesecake.

St. John’s Beer Porch ($)

The UP-student renowned one-stop spot for the “I don’t know, what do you want?” nights. With over 15 food carts to choose from, St. John’s Beer Porch is a perfect dinner destination for families who can never decide on what type of food they want to eat. Featuring cuisines ranging from Italian to Thai, there is a little something for everyone to choose from. With cold beer, wholesome ambiance and crave-able food, stop by St. John’s Beer Porch this Family Weekend. 

Must try: All the food carts and beer.

Sushi Hada ($) 

It’s affordable, fresh and mouth-watering sushi on a conveyor belt — I don’t know how much more needs to be said. Sushi Hada has beautiful modern decor with spacious seating to accommodate large groups. With excellent service and a unique experience, Sushi Hada is a great place to stop for some freshly made sushi with your family members this weekend. 

Must try: Sesame balls, spicy tuna roll and salmon skin roll. 

Julianna Pedone is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at