Portland always seems to make it onto lists. Parenting Magazine proclaims Portland is the “third best place to raise your kids,” while Travel + Leisure says it’s the “fifth best place for hipsters.” “Top vacation resort area for people with dogs”? Yes, we made that list, too.

But no matter how obscure the lists or how proud we are to be on them, we keep making them because our city demonstrates great pride in its diversity.

Restaurants like Miyake and Fore Street often grace the pages of The New York Times or USA Today and have helped make Portland “America’s Foodiest Small Town” (Bon Appetit, 2009).

But while they glisten and gleam with accolades, other places, like Sangillo’s Tavern, should not be overlooked. They are decades-old establishments that have come to capture the loyalty of locals and salty spirit that the city of Portland embodies.

We understand that the Portland Police Department has made a recommendation to the city not to renew the bar’s liquor license, due at least in part, to the number of police calls to Sangillo’s in the past year (“Citing 23 calls, one shooting, police want Portland bar shut down,” March 11).

In the last year, Sangillo’s has installed surveillance cameras, hired a doorman with an electronic ID scanner – even created a “do not serve” list. The Sangillo family seems to have been actively working with the police department to ease any concerns it might have for neighboring residents and businesses.

As business owners ourselves, we have no problem sharing a sidewalk with Sangillo’s. We do, however, have a problem with the prospect of losing what we believe to be a crucial component of what makes this city great and diverse. If we focus on the shiny, new objects at the expense of the venerable neighborhood institutions, we will lose a piece of our identity.

Dean and Kristin Bingham
owners, Dean’s Sweets
Portland