Portland Pie History: Quality Pie

Update: Thanks to reader Bob Nelson, who sent in this great pic of a group of his friends @ Quality Pie circa the 60s:

Quality Pie guys

Before the pie boom of 2010-11, pie, believe it or not, existed in Portland.

Quality Pie was a Portland institution until it shuttered in 1992. It was located on NW 23rd & Northrup across from Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital.

The venerable Dave of DaveKnowsPDX recalls the institution:

Quality Pie, in addition to Powells and the McDonalds (now Rich’s Cigars) by the Galleria, was my introduction to the city. Sipping coffee into the wee hours, we observed eccentric late night Portland while we shared grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries, or a slice of truly quality pie.

Quality Pie still has a cult following in Portland and beyond, and boasts a Facebook group with 450 members – very impressive for a defunct restaurant.

And, pieces of Quality Pie still exist in Portland. Part of the iconic pie sign was re-purposed as a wall in Wieden + Kennedy’s offices on the third floor. W + K is a huge proponent of pie, as founder Dan Wieden is a pie lover. They apparently shut down the office each year for a pie contest, have provided local pie cart PieLab with a street location, and hosted Random Order in their pop-up farmers market this year. Not to mention, they host the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) in their building as well. Needless to say, pie is a big deal at W + K, and it seems to have started with the acquisition of this amazing slice of Portland pie history.

Oh, and you can also buy an awesome Quality Pie t-shirt from W+K Studio.

Sadly, I was a young’n in the 80s and 90s, so I never got to experience Quality Pie, but I would love to hear about your Quality Pie memories – comment below!

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  1. Mariko

     /  August 2, 2011

    I grew up a few blocks away from QP and spent a considerable amount of time there in high school. I saw a lot of very interesting things there and ate a lot of kickass pie (with soft ice cream!). I sure miss that place …

  2. Cricket

     /  August 7, 2013

    Maybe someone can reopen it. I miss that place. You could see executives in one booth and Goth’s and MLC’ers in another.

  3. Cricket – yes! (former MLC’er here) :o)

  4. We always called that place Fryer’s (the name is just below the QUALITY PIE on the sign). The most interesting people ate there.

  5. QP was the aftershow place to hang out for local indie bands in the early 90s – Calvin Johnson took me there a few times

  6. Carolyn

     /  January 11, 2015

    Back in High School, my friends and I would go there all the time. I loved that place. Good pie can be hard to find.

  7. Jen

     /  March 25, 2015

    My boyfriend and I used to spend hours at both locations in the late 70’s – his mom worked at the Hollywood location. I lived in NW just a few blocks from the 23rd Ave. location. Delicious pies and other goodies.

  8. I just talked to Bob he was telling me about this place, said he worked there for 12 years.

  9. nancy

     /  July 28, 2015

    Had many great times there; it was either there or Hung Far Low lat-or early AM. QP had an interesting clientele of hippies , gays & Good Sam people . Also great food and PIE. And the abusive wait staff was wonderful. I still miss it

  10. BJane

     /  August 4, 2015

    When I was a naive young lass visiting Portland from Eastern Oregon, maybe 14, I had a nice conversation with a lovely lady at the bus stop bench next to Quality Pie on NW 23rd street. When the lady’s bus came, s/he gave me $1.00 and told me I was a nice girl. I was then promptly informed by another man still waiting for his bus, “That was no lady!”. I had just met my first transgender person. Kind of blew my mind.

  11. Chris Freedom

     /  October 18, 2015

    My mom was a waitress there when I was a little boy in the late 70’s. I used to go there every day and eat cottage cheese and fruit. And I’m sure I ate my share of pie. Amazing place.

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