Food News

This Week In Portland Food News: A New Cacao Cafe Arrives, Ox Reopens, and Obon Plans a Restaurant

June 11, 2021 Edition
June 10, 2021
The new Soul Lift Cacao Cafe features drinking chocolate, smoothies, tea, and coffee made with ceremonial cacao. (Soul Lift Cacao Cafe)

As the city opens back up, the Portland food scene has seen a flurry of activity. This week brings a new Spanish restaurant, a new cacao cafe, a new pizzeria, and a new vegan sushi cart—and that's just the beginning. Plus, Ox reopens today, Obon Shokudo announces an upcoming brick-and-mortar, and Top Chef contestant Gabriel Pascuzzi concocts a "chefwich" special for Lardo. Read on for all of that and more culinary intel. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


Brasa Haya
Chef Ian Muntzert, who racked up restaurant industry cred working as the chef de cuisine at the Michelin-starred restaurant Commonwealth in San Francisco, opened this new Spanish restaurant in the historic American Foursquare house that was once home to Beech Street Parlor on Wednesday. The restaurant features Spanish cuisine cooked by live fire with mesquite wood, with dishes like sea urchin bocadillos, crispy tripe, and coal-roasted chicken wings.
Outdoor seating or limited indoor seating

Buddy's Steaks
A cheesesteak with neither cheese nor steak may sound like a ship of Theseus-type paradox, but it's a reality at Buddy's Steaks. After running some pop-ups for their plant-based Philly cheesesteak concept earlier this year, Eem general manager Angela “Ang” D’Occhio and Buddy Richter (who's worked at Vtopia and The Mocking Bird) opened a cart in the Rose City Food Park at the end of May. Their take on the regional carnivore-staple sandwich is made with textured vegetable protein and vital wheat gluten, with pockets of coconut oil fat and a cashew- and coconut oil-based cheese. Besides cheesesteaks, the cart also offers fries, kale salad, plant-based cheesesteak egg rolls and mozzarella sticks, a Beyond Meat sausage and pepper sandwich, and water ice (a Philly favorite akin to Italian ice).

Honey Latte Cafe
The inclusive, all-ages booking agency Honey Latte Presents has opened this coffee shop venue presided over by a cat named Gourd. The cafe, which serves Cave Painter Coffee, soft-opened from June 1-7 and is celebrating its grand opening through June 15, with live outdoor performances from two to three artists each night. Drinks include the usual espresso suspects, in addition to matcha, Diaspora Desi Chai, cardamom rose lattes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch lattes, Fruity Pebbles lattes, butterfly pea flower tea, and of course, the signature drink: a honey latte.

The popular vegan, gluten-free sushi pop-up Mitate opened a cart at the new CORE (Collective Oregon Eateries) food cart pod on June 9. Owners Nino Ortiz and Summer Ortiz hope to open a full-fledged brick-and-mortar location by summer 2022.

Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton and Greg Denton's James Beard Award-winning restaurant, which has been on hiatus for winter after a short stint of outdoor dining last summer, announced on Instagram this week that it is reopening its doors today. The spot is open for indoor seating with limited capacity and has also turned part of its parking lot into a brick garden patio.
Outdoor seating or limited indoor seating

Pizza Thief and Bandit Bar
Darby Aldaco (a former executive chef at Nancy Silverton's acclaimed Triple Beam Pizza) and Tony Pasquale have opened a pizzeria serving naturally leavened pies in the former space of Acapulco's Gold, with an adjoining cocktail lounge through the archway. Toppings run the gamut from local produce to house-made sausage. In addition to whole pizzas and slices, there are also sandwiches, hand pies, and triple hazelnut chocolate cookies. The bar serves cocktails made with house-made tonics and syrups, as well as local and Italian wine, cider, and 10 local beers on tap.
Pickup or limited indoor seating

Soul Lift Cacao Cafe
"Cacao is (in) everything" serves as both the slogan and guiding philosophy of this "chocolate shop and superfood elixir cafe," which directly sources all of its ceremonial cacao from Mayan Indigenous collectives in Guatemala. The gluten- and dairy-free menu features drinking chocolate, smoothies, tea, and coffee. The cafe soft-opened on Wednesday and will have its grand opening on Saturday.
Pickup or outdoor seating


Obon Shokudo
The vegan Japanese favorite Obon revealed on Instagram this week that it will be opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the former space of Kachinka on July 1. The upcoming spot will serve house-made udon, Japanese curries, kenchinjiru miso vegetable stew, a variety of fermented foods, and boozy drinks.

Sula Juicery
This cold-pressed juice bar, which provides drinks for the vegan restaurant Plant Based Papi, announced on Instagram that it will be launching a juice bar on June 19.


Ramen chain Marukin's Portland locations change name
The Japan-based ramen chain Marukin's Portland locations are parting ways with the company in favor of operating under the new name Kinboshi Ramen. Owner David Rademacher told Eater Portland the decision was informed by the fact that the Portland outposts have gradually differentiated themselves from the original Japanese locations as well as the impact of COVID-19, which made it difficult for Marukin to run businesses in multiple countries.

Henry Higgins will sell hot bagels at night
Bagels aren't just for breakfast anymore: Hoping to entice customers with an evening craving, Henry Higgins is rolling out a new program called "After Hours with Henry Higgins," with hot, fresh rings of dough available right out of the oven from 5-7 pm, Friday-Saturday. The new hours begin today.


Festa Italiana
Luxuriate in Italian goodness at this market featuring Tuscan sandwiches from Sorbu Paninoteca, scoops from Pinolo Gelato, local organic produce (including Italian specialties) from Wild Roots Farm, imported Italian radicchio seeds, vegetable starts, and marzipan molds from Lane Selman of Culinary Breeding Network, vegetable themed wrapping paper from Kate Blairstone, prints from Tatti Stampa, and more.
Wellspent Market, Saturday, 12-6 pm

Uncovering the Secrets of Rosé
Ponder the enigmas of everyone's favorite pink-hued wine at this online class led by wine writer Martin Skegg and Mallory Smith of 1856 Beer Wine Cider.
Online, Sunday, 4-5:30 pm

Tasty Brunch Pop-Up
Tasty will take up residence as a brunch pop-up inside the former Bar King space on Saturdays and Sundays through June 13, with classic dishes like quiche and patatas bravas alongside baked goods from pastry chef Katherine Benvenuti.
Bar King, Saturday-Sunday

Wine Country Pride
Yamhill County will have a lineup of events for pride, including special themed beverages at participating bars, restaurants, and wineries, lesbian trivia, speed friending, live entertainment, and yoga and mimosas. Various locations, through June 30

The Great Food Truck Race: All Stars
We're confident that chef and food truck owner Han Hwang (Kim Jong Grillin) will do Portland proud on the latest season of Food Network'sThe Great Food Truck Race: All Stars, which challenges seven teams of newfangled food truck operators to use ingredients and culinary methods that would've been used in the Wild West (queue theme song). Tune in on Sundays to see who will come away with the $50,000 prize.
June 13-July 22


Bonnie and Israel Morales' restaurant has put their signature Slavic spin on the Choco Taco with their new Mint Chip Plombir Sandwich, which features "Russian-style ice cream sandwiched between wafers, dunked in dark chocolate magic shell and coated with chocolate cookie crumbs."
Pickup or outdoor seating

Looking for a bite to eat as you catch up on Top Chef: Portland? One of the current season's local "cheftestants" Gabriel Pascuzzi, who departed the show on episode six, has devised the June "chefwich" special for Lardo: the "Dungeness Green Curry Crabby Patty" with a Dungeness crab cake, green curry aioli, wakame salad, cucumber, butter lettuce, and umeboshi furikake. Proceeds from the sandwich will go to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, which provides programs and support to those affected by MS.
East, West, Lake Oswego
Pickup or delivery

Mama Đút
In honor of Pride Month, the vegan Vietnamese deli is offering a special called "A Cup of Pride," featuring rainbow vanilla cake chunks topped with piña colada whipped cream frosting. Proceeds will be donated to the local nonprofit Outside In, which provides healthcare and social services for youth experiencing homelessness and other marginalized people.