This Week In Portland Food News: Cheeto-Stuffed Burritos Arrive, Reel M Inn Closes Indefinitely, and A "Drag-Thru" Opens

by Mercury EverOut Staff
November 19, 2020
The new takeout and delivery pop-up Man Vs. Fries brings fry-and-Cheeto-stuffed burritos and Krusteaz-battered Oreos to Portland. (Man Vs. Fries)

As Portland enters a freeze that includes a ban on all onsite dining this week, it might seem like the restaurant scene is at a standstill. Happily, that's not the case: some prime new takeout options have come to town, including a solid sandwich shop, a pop-up with burritos stuffed with Cheetos and fries, and a Seattle sushi favorite. Plus, Top Chef star Gregory Gourdet announces a pop-up "yurt village" to preview his highly anticipated upcoming restaurant, Reel M Inn says farewell for now, and Shine Distillery launches a new drive-thru with drag performances. Read on for that and more food-world updates. For more ideas, check out our full food and drink guide.

NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS

Break Bread Sandwich Shop
This sandwich spot, which opened its first location in the Pearl District last year, quietly soft-opened its second location near the waterfront last week and had planned a grand opening before the dining-out freeze, but has currently postponed that in favor of a "medium opening" until restrictions are lifted. They're currently open for pickup and delivery. Portland Mercury contributor Suzette Smith recently sang the shop's praises in her column Takeout Club, writing, "For the vegetarians I recommend the Credible Hunk which puts roasted bell pepper, tomato, pickled shallots, avocado, and vegan sriracha mayo together and stabilizes it all with copious mixed greens. If meat is your thing, I'm a big fan of the CAR (chicken, avocado, ranch dressing, and delightful crispy onions). Pro tip: If crunchy baguette-style bread makes your life complete, dish out the fifty cents for the Dutch Crunch."
Downtown
Pickup and delivery

Man Vs. Fries
This delivery and takeout pop-up with locations in various cities has brought its menu of hefty French fry-based creations to the Park the Carts pod, serving loaded asada fries and fry-stuffed SoCal and NorCal-style burritos and quesadillas with Flamin' Hot Cheetos. You can choose between straight or curly fries, pollo or carne asada, and SoCal or NorCal. There's also fried New York cheesecake and fried double-stuffed Oreos, both breaded with Krusteaz mix. The menu is available for pickup or for delivery via DoorDash, UberEats, Postmates, or GrubHub.
Northeast
Pickup and delivery

Musashi's
Looking for an ideal new takeout option during the dining freeze? This budget-friendly Seattle sushi chain, which has won a loyal following for its impressive deals on high-quality sushi and chirashi bowls, soft-opened a location on Southeast Belmont Street on Monday.
Southeast
Pickup and delivery

FUTURE OPENINGS

Papi Chulo's and Deadstock 
The Pearl District taqueria Papi Chulo's and the sneakerhead cafe Deadstock are both set to open new locations in Alberta Alley, an upcoming development, next year. The alley is being constructed by HMS Development, a collaboration between NFL player Ndamukong Suh and contractor Joel Andersen, and will open in 2021 with six different local businesses, the rest of which have not yet been announced.
Northeast

Smith Teamaker
The tea business founded by the late tea entrepreneur Steven Dean Smith, which also has a tasting room in Southeast Portland, is planning to open its first cafe in spring 2021. Chef Karl Holl, who developed a plant-based menu for the tasting room, will serve as executive chef, and designer Andee Hess will oversee the decor.
Northwest

CLOSURES

Muu-Muu's
After 20 years of business, this neighborhood cocktail bar serving globally inspired comfort food announced on its website that it has been "eaten by the COVID monster."
Northwest

Headwaters and Rosa Rosa
Chef Vitaly Paley, who recently closed his restaurants Imperial and the Crown, has shut down Headwaters, his seafood-centric restaurant inside the Heathman Hotel, and Rosa Rosa, his Mediterranean restaurant inside the Dossier Hotel, due to a drop in business related to a decrease in traffic in the attached hotels and surrounding area. Paley's Place is now his sole remaining restaurant.
Downtown

Reel M Inn
Alas, this beloved dive, which is considered by many to have the best fried chicken in the city and was just featured on the Pacific Northwest episode of Eater's new show Eater's Guide to the World, announced on Instagram on Saturday that it has decided to close indefinitely in light of the recently announced dining restrictions. They promise the closure is not permanent, writing, "To be clear, 2020 sucks but it's not gonna take us down. This isn't forever. We don't know when but for now we gotta do [what's] best for our community and close our doors."
Southeast

OTHER NEWS

Gregory Gourdet's upcoming restaurant announces pop-up "yurt village" preview
Yurts, a type of round tent, were once the province of camping enthusiasts, but now, thanks to a new promotion with the restaurant booking platform Resy and American Express, they've taken on an unexpected new role as a fine-dining destination. The companies are teaming up to provide individual reservations for private outdoor dining at pop-ups in cozy heated tents in "yurt villages" at 13 restaurants across the country. The Top Chef star and James Beard-nominated Departure chef Gregory Gourdet will use the yurt promotion as a way to preview his highly anticipated upcoming Haitian restaurant, Kann, which is expected to open in 2021. The Kann restaurant concept first appeared (and won) on Top Chef: LA All-Stars's "Restaurant Wars," a challenge in which chefs come up with and present restaurant concepts to the public under a strict time constraint, and was debuted at a pop-up preview at Mama Bird over the summer. "Kann" refers to the Haitian Creole word for "cane," a reference to Gourdet's childhood memories of sugar cane vendors in Haiti, and is inspired by his Haitian roots. The restaurant is also staffed with a BIPOC, LGBTQIA and womxn-led team. The pop-up will take place in the Redd parking lot and will feature a six-course prix-fixe menu highlighting the "bright, soulful, slow cooked flavors of an underserved cuisine," including dishes like ripe plantain and roasted squash with smoked peanuts, griot twice-cooked pork belly, fish marinated in epis (a Haitian seasoning base), and beef short ribs stewed in habanero and thyme. The menu also includes a zero-proof cocktail pairing, and optional wine or beer pairings will be available. Service will begin when Gov. Kate Brown lifts restrictions on onsite dining on December 18 or later and will last for three months.

Botanist will protest state liquor laws with to-go cocktails
Botanist is done waiting for the state to give the go-ahead for to-go booze: The acclaimed Northwest cocktail bar announced on Instagram this week that it will begin offering to-go cocktails on November 25 as an act of civil disobedience, regardless of laws banning them. In an open letter, co-founder and owner Matt Davidson wrote, "My fellow business owners and I have continuously stressed the critical nature of cocktails to-go to our state representatives, imploring that our industry needs lifelines like this to help ensure our long-term survival. We made the phone calls, we submitted the petitions, and we waited through special session after special session for our opportunity to speak about the benefits of cocktails to-go, but that opportunity never came. Our agenda, the potential linchpin to our survival, was deprioritized, pushed aside, and passed over in hope that our voices would wane and then disappear...We hope that the state shows equal compassion and understanding for our business’ position and necessary civil disobedience while they continue to work on the long-term solutions for our industry."

Shine Distillery launches drag drive-thru
COVID-19 has forced many small businesses to get creative, but Shine Distillery's latest innovation might just take the cake: On Wednesday, the local distillery and restaurant unveiled its new "drag-thru," a drive-thru with drag performances from queens like Lulu Luscious and Bolivia Charmichaels to entertain customers while they wait for food (including cheesecake from Muse Cheesecake, which just moved into Shine) and drinks. Cocktail kits and liquor will be available for sale—because Shine is a distillery as well as a restaurant, it is allowed to sell to-go cocktails, unlike other establishments. 

Portland man arrested for the murder of Matt Choi
On Wednesday, Portland police arrested a suspect named Allan Coe for the murder of Choi's Kimchi founder Matt Choi, who was stabbed in his apartment last month. Coe was a tenant in Choi's apartment building and has been charged with murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, unlawful use of a weapon, burglary in the first degree, and identity theft.

POP-UPS & EVENTS

Harvest Market
Gather turkey, sweet potatoes, chestnuts, sweet pumpkins, cranberries, and everything else you need for your holiday table at this distanced outdoor market.
Woodstock Farmers Market, Sunday, 10 am-2 pm

NEW SPECIALS

Bar Carlo
The Mexican and American restaurant is offering a savory take on cinnamon rolls with their new garam masala rolls.
Southeast
Pickup or delivery

Fermenter
The vegan restaurant's latest sandwich special features shio koji-marinated millet-lentil tempeh, seared and served with hazelnut chive cheese, ruby kraut, pickles, and miso sauce.
Southeast
Pickup or delivery

Masia
According to a press release, this restaurant from chef Jose Chesa has rolled out a new takeout menu in response to the state mandate and will be offering at-home paella kits and even pre-seasoned paella pans. There's also churros, burgers, ribs, xuixos (a Catalan fried pastry), flauta sandwiches, and more, plus discounted wine, beer, sherry and vermouth.
Downtown
Pickup or delivery