Food News

This Week In Portland Food News: A Vegan Convenience Store Opens, Bijou Cafe Closes, and Portland Is Named the "Best Pizza City in America"

July 9, 2021 Edition
July 9, 2021
Authors Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya have declared Portland the best pizza city in America, praising local pizzerias like Lovely's Fifty Fifty, which will fully reopen in early September. (Lovely's Fifty Fifty)

In case you hadn't heard, Portland is the best pizza city in America, at least according to Modernist Pizza authors Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya. In other food news, a new vegan convenience store is open in Creston-Kenilworth, the Two Wrongs team is opening a new "bar with sports," Lovely's Fifty Fifty is reopening, and Bijou Cafe is saying goodbye after 42 years. Read on for all of that and more culinary updates, plus fun events for your weekend, like Portland Mercury's Summer of Slushies. For more delicious ideas for things to do, check out our food and drink calendar.

NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS

Cutiee Buys
Shopping for plant-based products has never looked so cute. A new vegan convenience store called Cutiee Buys soft-opened next door to Coffee Beer in Creston-Kenilworth from July 1-5—though, as they write on their website, what was intended to be a soft opening "pretty much immediately became a grand open[ing] with all the love and attention we could have ever asked for." The shop carries Junior's Roasted Coffee beans, cold brew, a wide selection of beer on draft and in cans, wine, cider, hard seltzer, kombucha, condiments, vegan cheese, meat substitutes, plant-based milks, pantry items, sandwiches, snacks, Ice Queen pops, and other sundries.
Southeast
Pickup

Koko Teriyaki
This teriyaki joint opened in Cedar Mill on June 14. Teriyaki protein options include chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and salmon, and the menu also includes dishes like yakisoba, bento boxes, teriyaki burgers, egg rolls, and potstickers.
Cedar Mill
Pickup or indoor seating

FUTURE OPENINGS

Jackie's
The team behind the Pearl District bar Two Wrongs will open a new bar called Jackie's in the former Century Bar space later this summer. Rather than a traditional "sports bar," the owners call Jackie's a "bar with sports," focusing on casual, group-friendly drinks and snacks in a lively setting. Bartender Tony Contreras has been tapped to develop the bar program, which will include draft cocktails like watermelon hibiscus margaritas as well as low- and no-proof drinks, while Grand Cru Hospitality will oversee the food menu with crowd-pleasers like birria nachos, wings, and shrimp po' boys. The bar will also feature an expanded patio.
Southeast

Lovely's Fifty Fifty
Lovely's Fifty Fifty owner Sarah Minnick announced on Instagram this Wednesday that the restaurant will come out of the "shutdown fog" to fully reopen in early September. The beloved pizzeria has only been open for takeout orders during the pandemic.
North

CLOSURES

Bijou Cafe
Portland has lost a longtime breakfast staple. The 42-year-old Bijou Cafe, one of the oldest restaurants of its kind in the city, closed in March 2020 with the intention of reopening. Unfortunately, the closure is now officially permanent. According to The Oregonian, owner Kathleen Hagberg was already contemplating retirement before the pandemic hit and also decided to close the restaurant due to the fact that the menu didn't translate well to takeout and the downtown area didn't receive enough traffic. Former Oregon Ducks football player Randall Willhite is set to take over the space with an upcoming brick-and-mortar location for his Cajun-Creole cart PoBoyz in August.
Southwest

YUI
Owner Chalunthorn “Yui” Schaeffer announced on Instagram this week that her Thai restaurant YUI, which opened in August 2020, is now closed until further notice, writing, "Thank you so much y’all for supporting and loving my food. I’ll never say THANK YOU enough. Thank you [a] thousand times! Selling my restaurant and recipes if you want it!" According to a sign on the restaurant's door in the photo on Instagram, the restaurant is for sale for $100,000, with a lease ending in July 2023.
Northeast

OTHER FOOD NEWS

Portland named "America's best pizza city" by national experts
Is Portland "America's best pizza city"? Modernist Pizza authors Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya seem to think so. According to a much-circulated Bloomberg piece published on Wednesday, the two experts, who sampled over 400 pizzas across the country while writing their upcoming 1,700-page tome, concluded that Portland's pies were superior to the rest of the nation's, praising familiar names like Apizza Scholls, Ken’s Artisan Pizza, and Lovely's Fifty-Fifty.

It's not the first time such a claim has surfaced: Portland Monthly critic Karen Brooks called Portland America's next "pizza city" in 2017, while revered "pizza consultant" Anthony Falco (formerly of the legendary New York pizzeria Roberta's) controversially stated it was the greatest pizza city in the nation in 2018. Myhrvold and Migoya's declaration was met with a mix of enthusiasm from some and skepticism or consternation from others. In response to the news, the official New Jersey Twitter account wrote simply, "No." Many locals expressed weariness at the online discourse rearing its head once again: Eater Portland's Brooke Jackson-Glidden published a piece called "Please Stop Calling Portland America’s Best Pizza City. We Don’t Care," writing, "Here’s the thing: Portlanders do not care. We don’t care if you think we’re great, and we don’t care if you think we’re trash. If anything, we resent the ways people talk about Portland as if it’s an underdog, whether it’s a visiting chef talking about its restaurants with a condescending sense of enthusiastic surprise or a snarky commenter questioning the city’s presence on any sort of national stage." The Oregonian's Michael Russell also wrote, "Let’s be real: Could you find eight New York pizzerias better than the Portland spots Myhrvold and Migoya highlighted in the Bloomberg piece? Of course. And yet, do we really need to fire up the engines on this debate again? I’ll pass."

Ben & Esther's will open a location in San Diego
Ben & Esther's, Portland's self-described "only vegetarian Jewish deli," is expanding. The restaurant's owners announced in an Instagram post this week that they will be opening an outpost in San Diego's College Area sometime in late September or early October. 

POP-UPS AND EVENTS

Cafe Rowan Anniversary Party
The seasonally inspired cafe will celebrate one year in the neighborhood with new food and cocktail specials, lobster rolls, and other festivities. The cafe's namesake dog will even make a special appearance.
Cafe Rowan, Friday, 9 am-2 pm

3rd Annual Edgefield Brewfest
The imbiber’s version of a candy store, Edgefield is home to a winery, distillery, and brewery. Their 3rd annual Brewfest will showcase over 50 beers and ciders, so pick your poison and bring your own blanket or chair to enjoy it out on the lawn.
McMenamins Edgefield, Saturday, 1-7 pm

Chef in Your Garden: Richard Văn Lê
As part of Growing Gardens' "Chef In Your Garden" series, Matta chef and co-owner Richard Văn Lê will prepare a gluten-free four-course takeout meal for two, with roll-your-own spring rolls, braised beef tongue, heo quay (roast pork), and a summer berry coconut tart, along with a non-alcoholic botanical cocktail pairing from Wilderton. Supplies are extremely limited and likely to sell out, so place your orders soon.
Pickup available at Matta from 5-7 pm on Tuesday

Portland Mercury's Summer of Slushies
The coolest, most delicious event of the summer is finally here! The Merc and Jim Beam present Summer of Slushies, which brings boozy, frozen, custom-made treats to the frugal and thirsty denizens of Portland at just $5 a pop. Check out this convenient slushie map to see which bars have the goods.
Various locations, through July 31

Zuckercreme presents: Summer Camp
Embrace your inner child at this summer camp-themed weekend series, where you'll find purveyors of sugary sweets, a bakery and camp store with morning treats and craft supplies, Sunday brunches, and more.
Kuchenhaus, Thursdays-Sundays through July 31

SPECIALS

Buddy's Steaks
As an early celebration of National French Fry Day, which is coming up on July 13, the vegan cheesesteak cart Buddy's Steaks is running a limited-time cheesesteak fries special all weekend long. The menu item is only available for in-person ordering, since, as they say, "soggy fries are worse than missing 48 free throws in one playoff series." 
Northeast
Pickup


Jojo
The popular fried chicken food truck known for its jojos and its often wacky social media presence is offering a new limited-time special that's a stoner's dream come true: spicy jojos tossed in Nashville hot dust, then loaded with Nashville hot chicken, coleslaw, ranch, pepper relish, fried shallots, and chives. 
Southeast
Pickup or delivery

Salt & Straw
According to a press release, the artisan ice creamery has brought back its seasonal "Berries Berries Berries" series, which will be available through August 12. Flavors include Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero, Birthday Cakes and Blackberries, Wild-Foraged Berry Slab Pie, Boysenberry Oat Milk Sherbet (a vegan and dairy-free flavor), and Besharam's Yogurt Lassi with Raspberries.
Northwest, Northeast, Southeast
Pickup or delivery