This Week In Portland Food News: A Viking-Themed Mead Hall Opens, Pok Pok Says Goodbye, And More

by Mercury EverOut Staff
October 29, 2020
A new Viking-inspired mead hall called Wyrd Leather and Mead will officially open in Southeast Portland this weekend, complete with shields, swords, drinking horns, and Viking games. (Wyrd Leather and Mead)

This week, the new Viking-inspired mead hall Wyrd Leather and Mead opens in Southeast Portland (complete with swords and drinking horns), and Andy Ricker's iconic Pok Pok is gone for good. Plus, Andina makes a comeback, a new Mexican cafe called República comes to the Pearl District, and Brandon Weeks of HunnyMilk launches his new pop-up Yakipura. Read on for all the details and more food updates, or check out our complete food and drink guide—including our Halloween specials roundup!


The Pearl District's enduring Peruvian standby, which has been serving takeout since March, re-opened at limited capacity for indoor dining on October 26. Along with the reopening, the restaurant is returning to its roots by renewing its focus on seasonal ingredients, emphasizing its partnership with the Corvallis farm Peace Seedlings. Co-owner Doris Rodriguez de Platt is handing the reins to her sons Peter and Victor Platt, and the restaurant's former chef Jose Luis de Cossio is coming aboard as a consultant. The restaurant will also add a new takeout program called Chicha, serving Peruvian street food.

Carlos Beltran Birria
In keeping with the trend of birria places (like the recently opened food cart Birreria PDX) opening in the Portland area, this new birria truck opened in mid-October in Happy Valley. This one has tacos, quesabirrias, mulitas, quesagrandes, burritos, and even ramen birria, and for those adhering to the ketogenic diet, there's even the "keto taco"—meat wrapped in crispy fried cheese.
Happy Valley

Drink Mamey
This BIPOC-owned juice bar will open in the former location of Tea Bar on NE Killingsworth this weekend, serving items like juices, smoothies, and fruit bowls. Founder Cydnie Smith-McCarthy has a mission to make wellness more accessible to Black people after her father died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2018.

Chef Lauro Romero of the Clandestino PDX pop-up, Angel Medina of the cafe La Perlita, and Olivia Bartruff of the pastry pop-up Olivia B Sweets have opened a new cafe called República in the Pearl District. The shop serves Mexican pastries, wines, guisados (stews and braised dishes), and masa nixtamalized (an ancient technique where corn is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, then hulled) in-house.

A new food cart called Ruthie's serving seasonally inspired, wood-fired "Mormon cooking" opened in early October. The cart is run by the duo Collin Mohr and Aaron Kiss, who have been friends since childhood and who have spent time at the now-defunct Park Kitchen and at Ava Gene's, and is inspired by Mohr's grandmother Ruth, who cooked fresh food from her backyard garden using recipes from a church cookbook. The homey fare includes honey butter rolls, ribs, and pork chops, plus a rotation of seasonal vegetable-centric specials.

Valley Public House
Valley Growlers owners Ami and Brian Shannon opened this family-friendly Happy Valley taproom and food hall with an 84-tap beer bar on Wednesday, October 28. The Mexican favorite Tamale Boy and the Sicilian-style pizza shop Ranch Pizza are selling food inside the hall, with more vendors to come in the future. The space also has heated and covered outdoor patios with fire pits.
Happy Valley

Wyrd Leather and Mead
Skål! According to a press release, a new Viking-inspired mead hall will open in Southeast Portland this weekend. The Milkwaukie-based company Wyrd Leatherworks and Meadery, which makes mead as well as handmade leather goods and has supplied articles of clothing for the TV show Vikings, is taking over the space that was formerly home to the colonial-themed restaurant Ye Olde Town Crier. The new space features shields and swords on the walls, long antique wooden tables, drinking horns, and mead from Wyrd as well as other meaderies, plus charcuterie boards, breads, vegetables, and soups. The hall will also host live music, karaoke, and Hnefatafl boards (a Viking strategy game similar to chess). Apropos of the hall's Halloween weekend opening, the press release also notes that the building has had reports of paranormal activity since the '60s.

According to a press release, HunnyMilk owner Brandon Weeks has launched this new pop-up focused on robata (a style of Japanese grilling similar to barbecue), with meats and vegetables grilled over white binchotan charcoal at 2000 degrees. The pop-up also features sparkling wine, beer, cocktails, sake, salty snacks, and "fancy flash-frozen popsicles," made on a cold "anti-griddle."


The pioneering downtown chocolate shop Cacao is calling it quits after nearly 15 years of business. In an Instagram post, owners Aubrey Lindley and Jesse Manis wrote, "Over the years we have learned and grown along with a vibrant and rich community of people who love chocolate and after nearly 15 years it is time to say goodbye to this chapter in our lives and close our store...As the market has grown and consumers have become more knowledgeable our role has changed. When we opened we helped introduce the world to a new way of thinking about and talking about chocolate, representing the first wave of American craft chocolate makers. The discovery and exploration continues but we are reevaluating where we fit in to that and what the future holds." The shop will also be holding a chocolate sale with 50% off all inventory from 11 am-3 pm on Saturday.

Pok Pok
So long, and thanks for all the fish sauce wings: The iconic Portland restaurant empire Pok Pok has officially closed permanently. Chef and owner Andy Ricker announced in June that he was closing several of the restaurant's locations, with the possibility that the original Southeast location and one of the Pok Pok Wing locations might eventually re-open after the pandemic, but has announced in a social media post that he has decided to ultimately close for good. In the post, Ricker wrote, "I swore when Pok Pok opened that if it ever reached the point where it was all about profit and loss, I would shut it down and walk away. I have far too much respect and love for the food and culture of Thailand for it to be solely about the commercial aspects of the business. Fuck that. So when Covid made it ALL about the bottom line that was my cue to pull the plug. No sense going deeper into debt in order to survive and then spend the next several years focusing on trying to make money and pay it all back, or to NOT survive and face financial ruin so deep that coming back in any form could never be an option. However, as a chef and small business owner, the survival instinct is pretty strong. Holding onto hope for some sort of resurrection post Covid was so tempting because that is what we do...we keep going, no matter what, until it is impossible to do so (often far too long after it is wise to do so). But I know when I am licked. And I am licked." He also noted that he is moving permanently to live on a farm with his wife and cats in a small village outside Chiang Mai in Thailand.


Choi's Kimchi co-owner Matt Choi has been killed
Tragically, Matt Choi, the co-owner of the award-winning kimchi brand Choi's Kimchi, was fatally stabbed in his apartment in Southeast Portland on Sunday, according to Portland police. Choi co-founded Choi's Kimchi with his mother Chong Suk Choi after graduating from the University of Oregon in 2011 and was known for being a familiar face at farmers markets, as well as for introducing many Portlanders to kimchi. Many have shared their condolences and their memories of Choi on social media, recalling his warm, gregarious nature. A GoFundMe was created to raise money for funeral expenses and quickly surpassed its $10,000 goal, with over $40,000 raised so far—it remains open, and the surplus will be donated to a charity in Choi's name.

Portland restaurants report break-ins and burglaries
Several Portland restaurants have been broken into recently: The Pearl District restaurant Papi Chulo's had its safe stolen last weekend, the Cuban bar Palomar had the glass of their door broken this week, and the bakery Twisted Croissant had some electronics and valuables stolen between Monday and Tuesday. 


Halloween Trick-or-Treat and Costume Contest Pix-O-Matic Pop-Up
Trick-or-treating may be a no-go in a pandemic, but Pix Patisserie has you covered with their Pix-O-Matic vending machine full of wondrous delights. For Halloween, it'll be stocked to the brim with treats and surprises, with 114 doors to choose from for "contactless candy fun." You can press a button to watch the goodies rotate on a carousel and pick the one you want—the selection will include Pix truffles, classic fun-sized candy bars, retro candies, mini Kellogg's cereal boxes, stickers, small toys, and more. Plus, the Pix-O-Matic will be transformed into a haunted house, and there will be a costume contest—snap a pic of your getup in the photo booth and post a pic on social media for a chance to win a box of candy worth $50.
Pix Patisserie, Saturday

Epitaph Halloween Release
Heathen Brewing will unveil their 2020 Epitaph Russian Imperial Stout in cans and 2020 Barrel-Aged Epitaph Russian Imperial Stout in bottles, featuring "strong notes of black licorice, vanilla, toffee, and subtle notes of roasted coffee."
Vancouver, Saturday

Dine the Couve
All month long, you can take advantage of super-cheap "3 for $25" specials from participating Vancouver restaurants. Some restaurants will be offering takeout options in addition to dine-in.
Vancouver, through October 31

Bratwurst & Bier
Drink some sudsy steins of craft beer from Three Mugs alongside hearty brats from the Altengartz German Sausage Food Truck.
Three Mugs Brewing Company, Fridays through October 30


Bushel & Peck Bakeshop
The charming bakery and coffee shop is serving up flaky onion, garlic and cream cheese galettes. They suggest pairing it with one of their smoky mochas.

Ken's Artisan Bakery
Ken Forkish's lauded bakery currently has an apple Danish, made with croissant dough, local apples, hazelnut cream, and pearled sugar.

Ninkasi Brewing
The Eugene-based brewery has released the "People Power Imperial Coffee Stout," available exclusively on draft and in 32 oz crowlers from the brewery's Ninkasi Better Living Room. Ten percent of proceeds will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Pickup or in-person

Sisters Gourmet Deli
Tell 45 to get lost with some chocolate-covered strawberries emblazoned with the message "Fuck Trump" from the downtown deli, available for $25 through November 23.
Pickup or delivery

Soro Soro Coffee & Dessert
Brighten your day with a cheerful sweet kabocha pumpkin tart from the adorable Korean bakery.
Pickup, delivery, or in-person