A surge of development is hitting yet another formerly dreary eastside strip. The few blocks surrounding the intersection of 50th and Division, which used to house tacky baseball card traders and auto body shops and featured several empty storefronts with broken windows, has now gone uptown. There's early pioneer Stumptown Coffee on one end and, at the other end, the second location of Lake Oswego bakery La Provence where we've gone twice in the last week, once for lunch and once for coffee.
This place looks straight out of Paris with its black storefront with gold lettering, an impression that is only enhanced when you walk in the door to see the little wicker seats at stenciled wood tables on one side and a magnificent display of baked goods on the other. They serve what looks like a great breakfast through the lunch hour, and the lunch menu, while not extensive, is full of tempting sandwiches, salads and beverages.
And apparently the level of sophistication has been eye-opening for the owners, though anyone who's been to Pix or Lauro would simply say, "Pfft!" One article said that at their Lake Oswego store the bestsellers are scones and coffee, while at the new eastside store the specialty French baked goods like palmiers, croissants and various sweet pains are more popular, and people are flocking in from around the area to get them. Vive le Division!
Details: La Provence, 4834 SE Division St.; Phone 503-736-9600.