PAH! field trip is a sign of the times

Entrepreneurship and ASL classes get lunch at Portland’s first Deaf-owned restaurant

Melissa Lowery


     On Oct. 31, Central Catholic’s ASL and Entrepreneurship classes made their way down to a restaurant called PAH! located in southeast Portland with the mission of inclusivity and the goal of trying some delicious food. 

     ASL teacher Anne Marie Eagle has been teaching at Central Catholic for ten years and loves that Central Catholic allows her to see “The connection and that people want to with me as a Deaf person through ASL” Eagle said. 

     Eagle has worked towards including ASL into life at Central Catholic, in part through having all assemblies and masses signed mostly by students. 

     Approached by the teacher of the Entrepreneurship class, Jasmine Bush, about going on a field trip to PAH!, Eagle thought this collaboration would be a great idea. Bush explained how she knew about it.

     “I heard about PAH! from social media. I follow an account called Travel Oregon, and they did a feature on PAH! From there, I did some research and tried to learn more about the restaurant” Bush said. 

     As it turned out, Eagle personally knew the owner. They were in a play together a couple of years ago. She played the Deaf mom, and he played a deity. 

     Furthermore, Bush desired to introduce her students to inclusivity 

     “We don’t talk enough about entrepreneurship and accessibility nor do we feature business leaders that represent communities different from ours. I think it is so important to introduce businesses like PAH! to our learning community” Bush said. 

     Opening in June of 2022, PAH! was created to be a place for the Deaf to go to because many people in the Deaf community face discrimination and prejudice when they go to restaurants. The concept of at last having a space for the Deaf community in Portland is even reflected in the name PAH!, which means “finally” in American Sign Language. 

     When going to PAH! students had the opportunity to practice and learn ASL as they ordered their food. Senior Monica Tran, who is part of the Entrepreneurship class, said this experience was very valuable. 

     “My favorite part of the experience was being able to enjoy lunch with my friends as we were able to experience PAH! to the fullest. I was able to learn how to sign some new phrases and enjoyed the food and the time with my friends” Tran said. 

     Junior Marilyn Nickerson, who is currently taking ASL III, was another student who enjoyed her experience at PAH! 

     “I was nervous about my signing skills but was also very excited to sign to another Deaf person other than Ms. Eagle. I found it interesting that the menu items are ASL slang! My favorite part was eating the delicious food, especially the 258 (blooming onion),” Nickerson said. 

     According to Eagle, ASL is full of idioms which they call slang words. On the PAH! menu, there are a total of nine slang words that hold a variety of meanings. Items like THAT-THAT, a mixed green salad, means “that’s what I am talking about,” and FOR-FOR, a side of fries, means “for what” Eagle explained. Eagle’s favorite menu item is the TRU-BIZ, a platter of four sliders, which means “seriously,” and Nickerson’s favorite, 258, blooming onion, means  “very interesting.”

     Overall, Eagle hopes that at Central Catholic, “we continue to keep eyes, ears, and hearts open” Eagle said.