McMenamins (Kennedy School et. al.)

Sunday after church I text messaged my best friend in the whole world “If you want brunch, call me”. About an hour later, my phone started vibrating.

“Where you wanna go?” BFitWW asked.

“I was thinking Fire on the Mountain.”

“What do they have there?”

“Hot wings!”

Oh, I could HEAR the face he was making over the phone. BFitWW is a very picky eater. “What else do they have?”

“…hot wings?”

“I’m not sure I want to go there.”

I started scratching my head. There were some new places I wanted to try, but they were of the raw fish variety (see above re: picky eater). “Wanna go to the Kennedy School?” I ventured.


Back in March of 2005, I was contemplating moving from California (where my family has lived since 1903-ish) to, well, ANYWHERE. BFitWW said, “Come visit Portland!” And I did. And it wasn’t continual rain-drenched mold spot that people in California believe it to be (it’s just a California thing, Californians tend to believe that anywhere that isn’t the Sunshine State is hell). However, even as my last day in Portland wound to a close, I wasn’t sure I could make the far-away move.

Plus, after several continuous days of uninterrupted exposure to BFitWW, I was about ready to kill him (and he was about ready to kill me, we’ve got similar abrasive personalities; we can stand each other for about 24 hours and then we need a few day’s break). We both needed a beer, so we stopped at The Ram’s Head. I got a Terminator Stout, and took one sip and my brain said, “Oh, yeah, you’ll be quite happy in Portland.”

The Ram’s Head is run by the same guys who run the Kennedy School, known far and wide as the McMenamin brothers. They take historic buildings and turn them into combinations of hotels/bars/restaurants/breweries/movie theaters that serve BEER! as the floor plan warrants. I am informed by Those Who Know Everything that the food and beer quality has gone way downhill. My reply? If this is downhill, in its prime it must have been quite close to Heaven.

I have also decided that one of my missions in life is to visit every McMenamins property. Which has led me to discover that the quality of food and service does vary from property to property, as does the menu (well, as much as pub grub can vary. Go see a movie at the Mission Theater for their chili. I swear to God, best chili I’ve ever had).

Anyway, when BFitWW and I go to a McMenamins, it’s always the same thing. I get a bacon cheeseburger, no sauce; he gets the Wilbur burger, which has a fried egg on top, and no vegetables. We both get tater tots, he eats his with ranch, I have Terminator Stout Mustard.

And, at some point during the meal, we will throw things at each other. It just happens.

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