Sisters of the Road

About Us:

  • Sisters of the Road is a nonprofit Cafe in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood working to create systemic change that will end poverty and homelessness by providing nourishing meals in a safe, dignified space.
  • We work to build community one relationship at a time, with nonviolence and gentle personalism, believing everyone has a piece of the truth and that we are all more than the sum of our current situation or past experiences.
  • We interrupt violence and oppression in all forms and our Cafe is a Safer Space where everyone is welcome.
  • Our belief in food and housing justice with care and dignity as universal human rights are reflected in Sister’s barter work program where folks can work to pay $1.50 for a meal and drink (same price since 1979!) if you aren’t able to pay with cash. We accept cash, SNAP benefits?EBT cards, meal coupons and barter cards.
  • First time guests, families and customers who, for medical reasons, are unable to do any of the work involved in running the Cafe receive a meal and drink at no charge.
  • Blue meal coupons can be redeemed in our Cafe for a meal and a drink
  • Green barter cards (earned by barter working in the cafe) can also be redeemed in our Cafe for a meal and drink or at Portland area farmer’s markets during the growing season. Meal Coupons are an innovative way to share a meal and start a conversation while responding to need in our community. If you would like to purchase meal cards for $200 each they’re avail bale online at or give a call or stop by the development office at 618 NW Davis (Tuesday – Saturday, 9-5).

Our Mission

Sisters of the Road exists to build authentic relationships and alleviate the hunger of isolation in an atmosphere of nonviolence and gentle personalism that nurtures the whole individual, while seeking systemic solutions that reach the roots of homelessness and poverty to end them forever.

Sisters’ Philosophies

Systemic Change

We’re committed to being a profoundly loving community space, while also remaining dedicated to ending homelessness and poverty. In the Cafe, we work to dismantle and change the systems that endanger our community’s lives every day. We also do advocacy and community organizing work outside of the Cafe to make Portland a healthier place for all.

At the core of Sisters’ community organizing lies our belief that the people most qualified to change oppressive systems are those who lived experience of that oppression. We at Sisters envision a community that is healthy and thriving, a community that no longer needs us to operate as a non-profit; where everyone has a bathroom and a living room of their own to share with their friends and family. We’d like to become a regular old restaurant!


At Sisters we say “no” to any form of humiliation, including physical, emotional, and verbal violence. Nonviolence asks us to stop violence in a nonviolent way, confronting it using love and respect to promote the safety and well-being of all. Creating a nonviolent environment starts with relationships, by calling each other by name, and caring for one another.

Dining with Dignity

Dining with Dignity means that not only are we providing our community with a safe place to enjoy a meal, but also that we are committed to serving healthy food that has been sourced thoughtfully. We are a vital part of the food movement that is already happening in Portland, ensuring that accessibility to safe and nutritious food is everyon’s right.

Gentle Personalism

All people are good, and when given the opportunity, we display that goodness. When we treat people as whole, we give each other room to be whole. The basis for Gentle Personalism at Sisters is love and community. We believe that if we sit down, share our stories together and get to know each other – we will stand up for each other’s freedoms and fight for a just society.




We actively and continuously work to create a community in which all people are welcomed and values. We are creating a community in which all peole have access to the support and resources needed to live and to thrive. at Sisters, we interrupt racism, sexism and other forms of oppressive actions and language. We are committed to recruiting and supporting people with diverse backgrounds for all positions in Sisters’ community.

Community Leadership

As we continue to seek systemic solutions to homelessness and poverty we look to our community for leadership. Since 2016, we’ve been hosting community organizing forums every other week in the Cafe. We are going to ask our community what our priorities and action steps should be in creating a more healthy Portland for all. These forums come from the huge success of our Food for Thought forums which started small, by changing a system our customers knew intimately–Sisters itself and our hours of operation. We are going to be hosting teach-ins with local organizers in the fall and then taking our energy and power wherever our community decides this winter–join us!


About Our Logo

The Cafe was anonymously christened when a circle containing three X’s (inspired by the hobo code) was chalked on the pavement outside the restaurant door. This symbol became Sisters’ logo signifying good food and hospitality and represents more than three decades of building long term, stable and mutually supportive relationships.