About Elephants

Portland's favorite catering &
specialty foods since 1979.

About Elephants

Great Local Foods Since 1979...

We've had the pleasure of cooking for so many of you over the years, and we truly appreciate the opportunity to share our passion for
good taste. We make all of our great local foods from scratch every
day for your eating enjoyment. We're working each day to exceed your expectations, and to engage and delight your senses.

We look forward to serving you soon.


Elephants Delicatessen began on April 19, 1979. We took over a failing deli, knocked out a wall, and scrubbed around the clock for four days.


Elephants sprouted wings and flew to the Fox Tower where we opened the first Flying Elephants, a smaller and quicker, but still beautiful, fun and tasty, version of the big store.


Elephants catering, lunch delivery and bakery were bursting out of our small kitchen. So a new location, the central kitchen, opened.


Elephants on Wheels, a really cute(and delicious) cart opened on the Fifth Avenue Transit Mall side of Macy's in downtown Portland.

Also in 2009

Flying Elephants flew all the way to PDX and finally made great carry-on (or eat-in) food available at the airport.


Portland was still small and distinctly uncosmopolitan. Good cheese, wine, & coffee were not to be had. Elephants began to introduce them to Portland: fresh pasta, fresh-squeezed juice, sun-dried tomatoes, cheeses flown in directly from Europe, espresso drinks, olive paste, fresh pesto and really good, wholesome food to go.


Elephants moved to its own building and parking lot on NW 22nd off Burnside. We had a great parade from the old location to the new. Hundreds of customers with their kids and dogs, along with clowns, Chinese dragons, stilt walkers, local celebrities like Darcelle and Gerry Frank, all paraded behind a huge marching band, followed by a fire truck, followed by a huge elephant float. It was so much fun and it hasn't stopped since.


A new Flying Elephants opened off Kruse way on Meadow in Lake Oswego.


"The best thing about Elephants and the not-so-secret ingredient is the people. When I started the store in 1979, I had no idea that so many wonderful people would come to work here or that there would be so many terrific customers. Just think, over 30 years of smart, funny people, and delicious food. Not bad, huh?"


HR Generalist & Peruvian Hip Hopper


Line Lead & Bowling Enthusiast


Mgr & Sturgeon Whisperer


Receiving & Professional Funny Guy


Art Director & Printmaker


Catering Rep & Road Trip Enthusiast


Carrie & Rikki
Didgeridoo Player & Equestrian


Sous Chef & Avid Gamer


Maintenance Engineer & Track Star

  Community Involvement

Community Involvement

Part of our dedication to the Portland community involves giving back, both through volunteerism and donations. Our staff are involved with many local organizations, and Elephants Delicatessen donates to non-profits and community events throughout the year. 

  Fighting Hunger

Fighting Hunger

Elephants Delicatessen is committed not only to preparing great local foods from scratch, but also to fighting hunger within our community. Every Elephants retail location (and our catering division) donates all unsold food to a variety of organizations at the end of the day. These organizations include like  REACH Community Devlopment, Blanchet House, Rose Haven, Urban Gleaners and Bradley Angle House

  Associations & Awards

Associations & Awards

American Farmland Trust ~ Washington, DC.
Works with leaders and communities to develop legislation and programs that keep farmers on their land and protect our environment.
Chefs Collaborative ~ Boston, MA.
A growing community of chefs, farmers, fishers, educators, and food lovers dedicated to promoting sustainable cuisine.
Food Alliance ~ Portland, OR.
Food Alliance is a nonprofit organization that certifies farms, ranches and food handlers for sustainable agricultural and facility management practices.
greenpoweroregon ~ Portland, OR.
PGE site dedicated to helping customers learn about and choose renewable power sources. Elephants purchases 100% wind power to run our 10,000+ square foot central kitchen facility in SE Portland and flagship retail store in NW Portland.
Recycle At Work ~ Portland, OR.
A local resource for businesses looking to improve their practices and expand their ability to reduce, reuse & recycle.
SlowFoodUSA ~ Global Movement & National Organization with Local Chapters. Slow Food is a way of living and of eating that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

Gold Certification for all five Portland locations from Portland’s Sustainability At Work & 2009 Climate Champion Award
Sustainable Business Oregon Innovation Award for Small Businesses 2010
Energy Star Award for Small Business 2009Portland's Sustainability at Work certified Elephants as a Silver level business for having taken concrete actions to strengthen our economy, community and environment..
Elephants Delicatessen tied for #65 in Oregon Business Journal 's "100 Best Green Companies" 2011

Get the Buzz

What our customers are saying

NW 22nd

"Best soup I have ever had in my life, chicken + tomato, game over."

-- Reid R., Santa Monica, CA ~ via Yelp