This week, Portland gets two new ghost kitchens: a virtual burrito joint and a hip Cambodian fried chicken pop-up (with edible-glitter rice!). Plus, the popular "Mexicajun" food cart Nacheaux plans to launch a brick-and-mortar restaurant, Portland Brewing says goodbye after 34 years, and Otto's Sausage Kitchen appears on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. You'll find all that and more food-world updates below. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.
NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS
According to a press release, the team behind Sizzle Pie has launched a new "virtual burrito joint" called Dynamite Burrito, available for pickup or delivery through DoorDash and Postmates and coming soon to Caviar. The menu offers gluten-free and plant-based options and includes burritos and burrito bowls, with add-ons like carne asada, pollo asado, carnitas, cauliflower baja, cauliflower asada, and soy curl carnitas, plus salsas and hot sauces.
Pickup or delivery
The Pie Spot
This cozy pie bakery reopened its doors last Friday. Current flavors include brown butter pecan, chocolate hazelnut, s'more, marionberry, lemon vanilla bean, peanut butter chocolate, banana cream with salted caramel, blueberry ginger, brandy apple crumble, sweet potato, key lime, and Meyer lemon meringue.
Pickup or delivery
Prey + Tell
Former Revelry chef de cuisine Diane Lam's Cambodian pop-up Sunshine Noodles, which opened at Psychic Bar last summer, ended on December 24 and is set to reopen as a brick-and-mortar restaurant in March. In the meantime, Lam's new virtual Cambodian fried chicken pop-up Prey + Tell opens in Psychic Bar today, available for pickup and delivery only. The project is described as "Cambodian streets meets French hospitality" on Instagram and will have a multi-media component, with live-streamed programming like game shows and comedy shows to watch on Instagram or Twitch as you eat. You can choose from four different rice packs wrapped in banana leaves to complement your fried chicken, including jasmine rice with Thai pickles, jasmine rice with edible glitter (!), jasmine rice with crushed instant ramen noodles, or cauliflower rice with herb salad, as well as several house-made dipping sauces, like ranch and lime-leaf buffalo sauce.
Produce Row Cafe
The comfortable gastropub reopened on Wednesday, January 13 and has doubled its outdoor dining area, which now boasts over 2500 square feet of space, with heated and covered tents and distanced picnic tables. Free parking is also available daily after 4 pm in the adjacent lot at SE 2nd and Oak.
Here's something to look forward to: Following the recent trend of food carts like Gumba and GrindWitTryz opening permanent locations, the popular "Mexicajun" food cart Nacheaux plans to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant inside the former space of Alameda Brewpub, which it will share with the recently opened Blind Ox Taphouse. The Nacheaux food cart will shut down on February 21 to make way for the new restaurant's opening on March 5. Once open, the new Nacheaux will serve its signature brand of Mexican-Cajun fusion comfort food, with dishes like "Doriteaux" cheese-dusted beignets, crawfish étouffée, Cajun fried chicken crunch wraps, and carnitas mac and cheese. The new location will also introduce two of owner Anthony Brow's abandoned food cart ideas as delivery-only restaurant concepts: Taceaux, a taqueria, and Sweeteatz, a bakery with desserts like deluxe cheesecakes, cookies, and tres leches cakes.
E-San Thai Cuisine
This popular Thai restaurant announced on Instagram this week that it has permanently closed its downtown location. The announcement read, "We want to thank our past crew members and especially our loyal customers for supporting E-San in our 22 years of being open. We are devastated to see it go, but also extremely grateful for the connections and experiences it has brought us as a family business." The business's SE Division Street location and food carts will remain open.
The experimental craft brewery Labrewatory has exited the North Russell taproom space it shares with Jaime Soltero Jr.'s popular restaurant Tamale Boy, which will take over the full space. The nano-brewery will continue to brew beer despite not having its own taproom.
Portland's pioneering craft brewery Portland Brewing announced on Facebook that it will cease all production by February 5 after 34 years of business. Founded by Fred Bowman, Jim Goodwin, and Art Larrance in 1986, the brewery helped give rise to the city's thriving craft beer scene.
Washington birria chain announces upcoming Gresham location
The Washington-based birria chain Birreria Tijuana, which has three locations in Washington and has attracted lots of Instagram buzz and critical acclaim for its cheesy, oozy, crunchy birria tacos, recently announced on Instagram that it will open its first Oregon outpost in Gresham soon. The location and opening date have not yet been revealed.
Otto's Sausage Kitchen featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
Guy Fieri, a.k.a. the Mayor of Flavortown, has given his seal of approval to a Portland favorite: Tonight, the longtime German deli Otto's Sausage Kitchen will appear on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in an episode called "From Sausage to Saltfish."
Shalom Y'All and Aviv vandalized
The Middle Eastern restaurants Shalom Y'All and Aviv were recently vandalized with anti-Israeli graffiti with messages like "free Palestine" and "hummus is not Israeli." As Eater PDX notes, neither restaurant group identifies strictly as Israeli cuisine, but both have used the term in the past to describe themselves, and Aviv's chef and owner Tal Caspi is from Israel.
Ben & Esther's introduces bakery menu and new specials
Portland's only vegetarian Jewish deli Ben & Esther's is soon expanding to encompass a bakery as well. The new menu will feature vegan cheesecakes, babkas, cookies, pies, and more. Meanwhile, the deli will also add several new offerings, including a vegan Reuben sandwich on marble rye, a vegan turkey and bacon club, and a vegan New Yorker sandwich (typically corned beef and spicy mustard). The spot will be closed from January 18-20 to undergo a kitchen remodel.
POP-UPS AND EVENTS
Free Tea at Smith Teamaker
The respected artisan tea merchant Smith Teamaker will give away 10 oz cups of its three new tea flavors, including Golden Light (turmeric, cardamom, sarsaparilla, and black pepper), Soothe Sayer (peppermint, ginger, nutmeg, and echinacea), and Lullaby (lemongrass, chamomile, and ashwagandha), for free. Other tea drinks and cookies will also be available for sale.
Southeast, January 14-18
Cheese Bar Closeout Sale
Alas, the fromage-focused bar is closing after nearly a decade. They'll be selling all remaining cheese, beer, wine, pantry goods, and equipment at a discount until they're gone.
Mount Tabor, January 15-24
Need a low-effort, high-reward meal? Joshua McFadden's Italian restaurant has introduced a new take-and-bake pasta meal: pasta e fagioli with borlotti beans, rosemary, and roasted garlic. Add on optional fennel sausage to make it even heartier, and/or round it out with a salad trio ("Tuscan cavalry salad" with kale, parmigiana, lemon, olive oil, garlic, and breadcrumbs; sprouted farro salad with roasted winter squash, pickled onions, candied pecans, and carrots; and marinated squash salad with chicories, sheep's gouda, parsley, and hazelnuts), freshly baked sourdough, and a seasonal dessert for the full family meal option.
Pickup or delivery
The meaty sandwich shop's new "Rickrib" is a tribute to a certain barbecue-flavored pork sandwich from a certain internationally ubiquitous fast food chain that rhymes with "Rickdonald's."
Pickup or delivery
The nostalgic drive-thru has added some new specials for its winter menu, including the "Larch Mountain" sundae: vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream with blondie brownie bites, blueberry-lavender sauce, and pine nut honeycomb clusters.