Grab and Go: Noho’s Cafe


By Ariel Harmon and Brooklyn Pierce

The Hawaiian word “noho” means a seat, chair, stool, or bench. So take a seat and get comfortable. Here’s what we have to say about Noho’s Hawaiian Cafe on 26th and Clinton.

In only seven minutes’ time, you can walk from Cleveland to Noho’s, a walk that can be spent talking about the day so far or just walking in silence if that is your thing. The trip is only 0.3 miles, meaning you can walk leisurely without worries of time restraints. Additionally, the food is served quickly.

The Cleveland lunch special is served almost immediately. The special is normally served with rice and chicken; however, you can opt for macaroni salad or a vegetarian version of the meal. The rice is buttered and smooth. If that’s not your style, you have artistic license– feel free to add soy sauce, sriracha, and anything else you can get your hungry little scavenger-hands on. The prices vary accordingly: the regular special, rice and chicken comes in at $4; just the macaroni salad and rice is $2; and the whole spiel of mac, rice, and chicken is $5. The meal is filling, and it’s definitely a steal for a maximum of $5. Let’s be real: there are very few other options that are (a) good, (b) filling, and (c) under five bucks. If you only consider restaurants within walking distance, there are even fewer.

The menu also offers numerous other meals, whether it be noodles, meats, sandwiches, or a combination. Aside from the Cleveland special, the average price is around $10. The cost is easily justified by the portions. One of our favorites, the yakisoba noodles, is described by their website as “colossal mound of noodles and vegetables…perfect for two!” We second that definition. However, ordering from the menu is more costly. The average high school student doesn’t have much money to spare, so daily lunches can be hard hitting on our wallets. That being said, we suggest the Cleveland special, unless it’s on the rare occasion when you have extra time and money for lunch. Also, good quality food takes a while to cook, and with our tight time frame for lunch, that’s not always possible. However, if you do order food off the menu and sit down for a full meal, at the end when they bring you the bill, you also get some lollipops (Score!).

The atmosphere is another positive aspect of Noho’s. They provide both inside and outside seating, which is perfect as we near summer and the days get warmer. In addition, the staff is always super friendly. It is a nice change to get a server who will make a few jokes and not just want to take your order with a stoic face. They’re patient as we gradually read the menu, and they’re helpful when we edit our orders mid-sentence. The restaurant makes you feel very safe. It is homey, and I want to keep eating my comfort food.

Next time you venture out for lunch, consider Noho’s Hawaiian Cafe. They offer a great menu, comfortable seating, and a friendly staff. With summer approaching, the location is perfect. You don’t have to walk far in the heat, yet you can still sit outside to enjoy it. The cuisine can briefly make you forget that you’re experiencing Portland’s erratic sun; instead, you’re placed on the Makena beach in Maui. Well, as close as you can get from a picnic table on the corner of Clinton Street.