I drive out to the St John’s neighborhood three times a week and am pretty familiar with the goings on along my route. Well, I try to pay attention to my surroundings anyway. So, Saturday, as I drove through the Overlook neighborhood, I noticed that the long established tavern on the corner of Greeley and Killingsworth had changed its name. For as long as I can remember it has been Yorgo’s. How could one not remember that name?! It’s just different enough that it sticks in the brain. I invented a big Greek family to run the place, because whether or not the name is Greek, it sounded like Greek to me.
Last year Oregon passed a law requiring bars and taverns to be smoke free. That meant that all the bars and taverns that had diehard smoker clientele built little covered patios for their patrons. This happened at Yorgo’s, like everywhere else, but it seems to have been the beginning of the end. They only finished that patio a couple of months ago, and now, BOOM. New name!
And, how’s this for uninspired: Greeley Avenue Bar and Grill. The thing that’s funny to me about the name is that the tavern is actually on Killingsworth rather than Greeley… but no one wants to saddle their place with a name that is synonymous with the ghetto. Lots of bad stuff has gone down on Killingsworth over the years, and even though this is in a completely different neighborhood, the folks in charge of picking a name went with the safer choice. And who can blame them?
There has been a fair bit of gentrification in this neighborhood over the last few years. Believe me when I say that the sushi place would never have lasted a decade ago. But, the US headquarters for Adidas are down the street and that has to bring lots of lunch money to the hood. A girl that my daughter went to high school with lives directly behind the former Yorgo’s. Their family has been in that house for years. I wonder whether they like the changes or not.