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- Portland Tribune - News
Every Friday in Stumptown Stumper, the Portland Tribune offers a trivia question and answer that helps you boost your Rose City IQ.
Q: What former Portland landmark at Northwest 23rd Avenue and West Burnside Street was sold to a developer in 1990?
A: One of the last throwbacks to another era in dining was the Henry Thiele's restaurant, the old white stucco building with red tile roof that occupied the space at 2305 W. Burnside St. for 58 years.
Thiele, a German restaurateur, opened the place in 1932 and became famous for his giant German pancakes and Princess Charlotte pudding, a fruit-filled hot dessert named for King George IV's daughter.
Thiele ran the busy restaurant with his wife, Margaret Thiele, until he died in 1952, at which time she remarried a man named August Petti and kept the business going until 1990.
At that time, developer George Killian purchased the property for $1.3 million to turn it into a trendy shopping center. Margaret Thiele Petti died in 2001 at 85.
Today the Gap and Cost Plus World Market occupy the site, but all is not forgotten. The name of the building, 'Thiele's Square,' is emblazoned on its facade in gold letters, and a plaque on the upper level, near Cost Plus, also pays tribute to the site's past.
'We definitely wanted to honor the history of the restaurant,' said Mert Meeker, president of MBM Properties Inc., which leases the building. 'It was a wonderful place to go in town for a German pancake, a good cup of coffee. It was always the best place to go to see who's who in Portland.'
Meeker said he did get to meet Thiele's widow once or twice, and remembers hearing her tell stories about how many people ate at her restaurant three meals a day, every day of the week. 'It was convenient, and part of their social experience,' Meeker says. 'It was all a big part of the family.'
Next week's Stumper: What's the most popular ice cream flavor at the Ben and Jerry's locations in Portland?