Where We Live: Huber’s Cafe and Spanish Coffee

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One of Portland’s Thanksgiving traditions continues this year at Huber’s Cafe, the city’s oldest bar and restaurant.

Huber’s has been in the Oregon Pioneer Building on SW 3rd Avenue and Stark Street since 1879. The cafe features what many call Portland’s most famous drink: Huber’s Flaming Spanish Coffee.

Huber's sells approximately 5,000 Spanish Coffees a month and 60,000 a year. (Huber's Cafe)

The drink is a concoction of Kahlua, rum, triple sec and coffee, topped with whipped cream and nutmeg. Today it’s become a Portland treasure.

“Forty years ago, when we first started making Spanish Coffees, I had no idea it was going to get this big,” owner James Louie said.

Huber’s sells approximately 5,000 Spanish Coffees a month and 60,000 a year. The cafe is the largest user of Kahlua in the nation.

James, his brother David and their sister Lucille are the third generation of Louies to own Huber’s.

David said his great uncle bought half the business from Mr. Huber for just a dollar. Great uncle Jim Louie cooked turkeys and made sandwiches back when Huber’s Cafe was called The Bureau Saloon in the late 1800s.

“Back in the old days if you bought a drink you got a free turkey sandwich,” David explained. “So that was my great uncle’s role.”

One of Portland's Thanksgiving traditions continues this year at Huber's Cafe, the city's oldest bar and restaurant. (KOIN)

Jim kept turkey as the featured menu item at Huber’s throughout the years. There’s plenty of other food to try today, but you can always get a traditional turkey dinner, stuffing and all, even on Thanksgiving.

The business eventually passed from Jim to nephew Andrew Louie. Then it went to Andrew’s children James, David and Lucille. The siblings have owned the cafe together since 1991.

Huber’s Cafe has survived everything from floods to wars and recessions. And there’s a lot of history inside like a stained glass skylight and an old-time cash register.

“There are a lot of old restaurants in the country, but there aren’t many restaurants that have the architectural merit that we’ve been blessed with having our business in,” James said.

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