OK, so I'm from NYC...an outer borough girl, Brooklyn and Queens. When we don't know what we want to eat or those in a group can't decide on one type of food or we want a fast meal but not fast food, we go to a diner. Diners in the east, and especially NY, usually serve good fish, good burgers and grill items, good fried stuff, breakfast all day, always good coffee, etc. They are inexpensive and often open 24/7.
I haven't found a place in Portland that fills this niche for me. Where do you go if you want a burger or a huge salad with a grilled chicken breast on it, and your co-diner wants a turkey dinner or filet of sole, or even breakfast, and you want to spend less than $20 on the whole thing?
Puhleeze - don't give me chains - Denny's has it's place when you're on the road and hungry at 2am and all but it is not a diner, not what I'm looking for.
I've eaten at Cup & Saucer on Hawthorne and they fit some of the requirements - breakfast all day, inexpensive, burgers and other items - but the menu is not varied enough and although I am no foe of vegetarianism or healthy eating (even seek it out, sometimes), it is not the right vibe for a diner.
So, all you chilly Portlanders (could be worse, we could be living in a place that got over 6' (no typo there folks - six feet!) of snow like Buffalo, NY) let me know where to go.
SE or NE would be best but we will venture further for the real thing.