Sayler’s Old Country Kitchen is in a class by itself. First, it’s been successfully serving Portland families for sixty-six years. Secondly, we doubt any restaurant of any genre feeds as many people in a day. Sayler’s had 450 customers the Thursday we visited, over a weekend they often feed almost 2,000 guests, and in 2012 they served almost a quarter of a million people.
Then there’s the quality, quantity and price of their steaks, some half those of local national brand steakhouses. To be fair, some of those serve all Prime grade beef, while Sayler’s offers Choice grade, with their top sirloin Prime grade.
Their large selection of steaks, which they age and cut themselves, includes prime rib, filet mignon, T-bone, Porterhouse, New York, ground sirloin, and Rib Eye. They charge from $19.95 for a 6-ounce filet mignon to $35.95 for a 40-ounce Prime top sirloin. We ordered a 10-ounce prime rib, and 24-ounce Porterhouse, which were perfectly cooked, tender, succulent and vanished without a trace.
Included with each of their dinners is a relish tray, choice of a green salad, soup, or Cole slaw, a breadbasket, French fries, baked potato or rice, and ice cream or sherbet for dessert. You must also try their signature onion rings, just about the best we’ve ever had.
Brothers Bryan and David, the third generation of Sayler’s to run the restaurant, think a big part of their success is their staff. “We have two ladies who have been here 25 years, and many have been with us between 5-10 years. They’re a big reason we have so many loyal customers.” Our charming and smoothly efficient server Sheryl, an 11-year veteran, treated us like we were guests in her home.
Gluttony note: If you can eat their 72-ounce (4 1/2 pound) top sirloin steak in one hour it’s free. You also must eat two celery and carrots sticks, two olives and dill pickle slices, a house salad, ten French fries or a baked potato, one slice of bread, drink one cup of coffee or glass of milk or tea, and a dish of ice cream or sherbet. In sixty years 9 women and 587 men, out of 1,305, have succeeded.
Yes, Sayler’s is crowded, and it can be noisy, but it’s a friendly, sociable, family gathering kind of noisy. Everyone enjoying the company, the prices, great steaks, seafood and chicken, and scrumptious mountains of those golden onion rings.