Our Name in Print: An Acceptance Speech

Seeing our name in print is something I don't think either of us will ever get used to. It reminds me of when I was younger and I used to write my first name attached to the last name of the current boy I was pining for. Despite the recognition of my first name, and the repetitious manner of writing and rewriting my "married name" over and over, something always felt off, like in a "this can't really be happening" sort of way (perhaps in this case it was the fact that I was never meant to change my name, and that the reality is that I never did take the name of my husband).

The reason I mention it is that the month of March has proven to be quite the month for Little Red Bike press. The month began spectacularly when we won Portland Monthly's Best French Toast accolade. "B is for Bacon...", the cover story of this month's issue, guides the reader to Portland’s best waffles, eggs, biscuits, hash, coffee, pancakes, bagels, omelets, pastries, doughnuts, dim sum, and more. Sixty-four places throughout the city were mentioned and we couldn't help but swoon over the fact that not only did our Messenger Sandwich get a nod in the "Best Egg Sandwich" category, but our French toast won for best French Toast in the city. Wowza! What a fantastic compliment, and on a personal note, I truly hold these two items close to my heart as their recipes and existence in the cafe are so wrapped up in family history that this award should also go out to my grandmother, Martha Charlesworth, my mother, Madeline Jepson, and my best friend in the whole world and sister, Tara Jepson. Without them, the Messenger would still be missing something, and our French Toast would be nothing more than bread dipped in batter. So much thanks must go out to everyone, including Portland Monthly Magazine. Thanks for your support of our business and livelihood during these difficult economic times. Most importantly thanks for redirecting us to our roots. I can say first hand that this particular article has brought tons of people out to North Portland on the hunt for mind-blowing fried egg sammies and challah French toast, and consequently we can't keep enough bread in stock. Apologies to our baker, Greg Mistell, who puts up with our ever-changing "standing order."

We are also thrilled to be a part of the editorial feature in Imbibe Magazine's Mar/Apr issue. Last July, Imbibe graciously published our recipe for Blackberry Tequila Sorbet but this time we're over the moon that this month's feature is regarding our coffee. "Around the World in 20 Cups" is the Mar/Apr cover story that reports the "best, brightest, and flat-out most interesting coffee happenings around the globe." Aside from Portland (like duh) featured locales include Chiapas, Mexcio, Hawaii and Athens, Greece to name a few. Not surprisingly, Imbibe picked up on Portland's trend of connecting two of our city's most beloved and distinct counterparts: Bikes and Coffee. According to the article, Portland's highlights include Pedal Bike Tours which takes participants through a coffee crawl, Stumptown's Bikes to Rwanda which provides cargo bicycles to coffee farmers in Africa, our dear friend Joel Domreis of Courier Coffee Roasters and his pedal pushing ways, and us, Little Red Bike Cafe. We blinked twice reading our name in print amongst such inspiring company. Sheesh. How cool is that? Cheers to Imbibe Magazine for your constant creative inspiration. We love collaborating with you, we love reading you, and we love filling our brains with your rocking recipes and buzz-worthy news.

Lastly and perhaps the most alluring evidence that there must be something in the water, was our feature in Willamette Week's Cheap Eats Guide 2009. While we have always liked to consider our food good value, it means all that much more when we're actually recognized for it in an actual guide. I shit you not when I say we've always kept a copy of Willamette Week's annual Cheap Eats pull-out guide in our take-out menu drawer (yes, we've designated a whole drawer in our kitchen for those), and we've relied on it for years to navigate around the city's most affordable and trendsetting eateries. Imagine our glee when this year's guide had not one but two shout-outs for our Little Red Bike Cafe. Cue the "this really can't be happening" moment. The first mention of our cafe is in the "American" section, pg. 7-8. My stomach turned (in the best way possible) when we read the opening lines:
"The bike-thru window. The housemade ice cream. The locally roasted, bike-delivered coffee. The gourmet breakfast sandwiches made with local ingredients...few places epitomize the Portland ethos quite like the teacup-sized Little Red Bike Cafe."

I am verklemptly overwhelmed by the sweetness of that statement. Our second mention, and perhaps the most rewarding can be found in the "Coffee Beyond Stumptown" section (gasp! there is such a thing in this city!!!!), pg.23, where we are featured along with our friends from Coffeehouse Northwest, Spella, and Cellar Door to name a few. As tickled pink as I am from all the press about our food, I can tell you first hand that Joel, Evan, and Ray from roasting, tamping, and pouring, have put just as much love in to the coffee side of things at the cafe. As far as I know it, this and the Imbibe Magazine article are the first to make note of such. To sum it up, it means a lot, it really does.

And now for our acceptance speech...
After what can only be described as a somber and demanding February, these little March gems act as reflections of light, cast in what shadows remain of darker moments. As difficult as it is to wrap our heads around getting published, being mentioned, and getting a wink, nod, and push from undeniably talented resources, I have to say, that it is at times like these when we become so thankful for our jobs and that we are able to confirm yes, this is all worth it. Because while the flame and drive must ignite from within, it doesn't hurt to have some validation from the outside world. We recognize the fact that we work very hard at our jobs trying to please the masses. Day in and day out our life literally revolves around the cafe. At times it has consumed us, chewed us up, and spit us out. But we know we are not alone in this reality and that there are many people out there who devote their lives to their job but lack not only a venue but an outlet to be recognized, valued and praised. Having this happen to us, to our cafe, and to our LRBC family, and knowing that what started out as a small seed has grown in to something beyond our capacity for digestion, is all very rewarding, humbling, and inspiring. So thank you, thank all of you. I suppose at this point it can't be denied that you like us, you really, really like us.


  1. in fact, we LOVE having you as part of our neighborhood! i wake up on mondays (like today) bummed that our walk won't include a lrbc latte :)

    so good to hear you're getting all your due recognition. i only hope we can still get a seat on the weekends :)

  2. ps. now go have a day off, sheesh!

  3. You deserve all of the props! Keep it up, crew! I appreciate everything you do! (No I didn't mean to rhyme those last two sentences...)

  4. Anonymous16.3.09

    What you do is magic, and you deserve every accolade!! Congrats!

  5. Congrats! I too noticed that Willie Week gave you two nice reviews. And remember, in the restaurant/retail biz it's called "black February" for a reason. Spring is within shouting distance and it's all downhill now.

    I'm so glad spring break is next week and my wife and I will finally get to go -by bike - on a Little Red Bike breakfast date.

  6. Anonymous16.3.09

    You guys are too kewl~!
    Whimsy2 who drives all the way from SE Portland to the LRBC now and again.

  7. A. You guys rock. Despite the fact that sometimes you ain't feelin' it.

    B. "The first time I didn't feel it, but this time, I feel it".

  8. Anonymous17.3.09

    Much love to you from a long time full time reader, who lurks from the shadows in one of our finer suburbs.
    XOXO-Waist High

  9. Awesome! So proud of you guys. I got inspired to make french toast last weekend...yeah...ummm...you have some things to teach me!

  10. Anonymous17.3.09

    everyone at the lrbc deserves the recognition coming their way. i tell all my passengers about your place. atleast 40 in the past week alone have come on the plane carrying the portland monthly and i make sure to stop each and every one of them to tell them how exquisite you all are!

  11. don't forget about the "I Saw U" ad!