an homage to henry ford’s…with borrowed photos.

i have been wanting to write about a restaurant/bar that used to be in southwest portland…where there are now some hideous, cheaply built condos….henry ford’s. this place was magical, and i have no pics of my own from there, so i am borrowing them from

i can’t even begin to describe how awesome this place was, and i’m surprised by how many of my friends never knew about it. it closed back in 2003. i never understood why. it was allegedly going to reopen in lake oswego, but i don’t think that it ever did.

let me just paint a picture here.  i have always described henry ford’s as “kitschy-classy”. my friends who had been there thought that to be a very apt description! you walk up the path, past the valet, onto green indoor/outdoor carpet under a roof of corrugated fiberglass. you enter the door and are greeted by an always pleasant hostess, who was maybe in love with the piano bar guy? they had a coat check. then you enter the main room…

the photo above is taken out of the window of my favorite place to sit. it was most people’s favorite place to sit. you could see a view of downtown portland and, on a clear night, mt hood off in the distance. in the foreground would be the amazing flaming, bubbling pond. i found this item to be completely captivating. on windy nights, little clumps of bubbles would fly away up into the sky. pure magic!

the walls were flocked wallpaper, and there were these gilded frames with brooches and other random things just stuck directly onto the wall. kitsch-a-rama.

i guess this is henry ford, although, i never met him.

the sofas were low and armless. the tables were shiny black lacquer. this was in the bar area.

some things that aren’t pictured but that made this place even more amazing as follows:

-lyle, the piano bar guy. lyle played everything at the same tempo, regardless of the song. if you remind me sometime, i’ll sing an example for you.

-the women’s bathroom in the bar-there were items that were supposed to make it fancy, but really it made it faux fancy….suave lotion and white rain hairspray.

-the dining room area-you could get yummy steak dinners, and the service was really top notch. lots of old people went there. there was also a patio with cute lights and an outdoor fireplace.

-the help- as i mentioned before, the service in the restaurant was really top notch. it was in the other areas, too. everyone who worked there was very warm and they had very colorful stories to tell and always remembered my name, even though i only went there about once per month. i miss them.

-ladie’s room in the restaurant area- sixties-victorian lady head wallpaper. that’s all. it was rad.

anyways, henry ford’s is deeply missed and can never be replicated. it had a strange patina, a weird vibe, and kitschy class.


About iheartlivinginportlandoregon

i'm julie thompson, and i live in portland, oregon. this city has so much to offer and so many places to explore. i enjoy highlighting some of these places here on my blog.
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8 Responses to an homage to henry ford’s…with borrowed photos.

  1. jason tinkey says:

    ha, julie! i went to find a picture of henry ford’s and your site was the first to come up, smalllll world. i’ve added it to this:,-122.714874267578/id/6431/info/sv/

    i think it’s the right spot, i can’t remember too clearly even though i used to live just a few blocks away.

  2. james says:

    what a great hommage to a very fun place. i lived very close by in SW portland for years and enjoyed going to Henry’s many times. they never had a printed menu and those waiters, who had been there for ever, could recite it and back up and go over it as many times as needed. the BEST CARROTS were always a part of the dinner. what a terrific memory

  3. steve says:

    henry ford was a very nice man.he moved here in 1956 and took over what was then the redmond mansion.i used to eat there twice a week.i know both his sons,they are both in town.

  4. nazhuret says:

    I loved this spot.
    I don’t know what else to say.
    So sad it’s gone.

  5. nadine says:

    It was the best, my father worked there and lived up above we went there every weekend greatest place to grow up around. Sadly Henry Ford passed away which eventually caused the closing of the place. His son recently told me he opened 4 restaurants and ran them for awhile but wanted a change in career. He eventually wants to open another restaurant

  6. JBR says:

    Related to owners family and washed dishes at Henry’s as a teenager, it was a great place. They don’t make them like that anymore — the food, the service all top notch.

  7. Marlena says:

    I worked there in 1978, made salads. Love, loved Henry, an amazing man.

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