Food News

This Week In Portland Food News: Dig A Pony Is Back, Lúa Is Here, and Tasty and Fills Open in Lake Oswego

July 2, 2021 Edition
July 1, 2021
The team behind Lotus Kitchen soft-opened their new Vietnamese restaurant Lúa this week. (Lúa)

Now that the heatwave has mercifully receded and the city has fully reopened, there's a decidedly celebratory mood in the air. The week also brings plenty of welcome culinary developments: Dig A Pony is reopening with a new Italian food menu provided by Stevens Italiano, the Cantonese barbecue joint YāYā has arrived, and the Vietnamese spot Lúa is here. Plus, Irving Street Tapas and Cooperativa are open, Tasty has launched its Lake Oswego outpost (soon to be joined by Fills), and Kate's Ice Cream will open a permanent scoop shop. Read on for all of that and more of this week's food news. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


Belle Pomme
This plant-based café, which promises "European flair combined with Portland’s friendly and unassuming attitude," opened near the end of June and offers juices, smoothies, açai bowls, salads, grilled sandwiches, baked goods, and seasonal dishes. Drink options include tea from Tea Forte, house-roasted small-batch coffee, nitro cold brew, and espresso drinks with oat milk.

Dig A Pony and Stevens Italiano
Rejoice: The beloved Southeast Portland bar Dig A Pony will reopen its doors this Saturday, July 3 at 4 pm. Not only that, but it'll have a new menu of comforting red-sauce Italian food provided by Stevens Italiano, the pandemic pop-up project started by Burger Stevens owner Don Salamone. Salamone's menu features chicken parm and eggplant parm hero sandwiches, Italian sausage smash burgers, a classic beef burger, gnocchi alla vodka, fries, a house salad, fried calamari, charred broccoli, garlic bread, and tiramisu. Stevens Italiano is also planning to open a full-fledged brick-and-mortar in Beaverton in spring 2022.

Irving Street Tapas and Cooperativa
On Thursday, Sarah Schafer and Anna Caporael, owners of the Italian market Cooperativa, opened a new internationally inspired tapas destination called Irving Street Tapas in the former space of their restaurant Irving Street Kitchen, which closed at the beginning of the pandemic. Even more good news: Cooperativa, which opened for takeout in fall 2020, is opening its full space for the first time ever today. Now, guests can take advantage of a pizzeria, pastaria, and bar in addition to the spot's cafe, market, and paninoteca, all in one convenient location.

Pearl District

Lil' Shalom
The Alder location of Shalom Y'all has been replaced by a more casual concept called Lil' Shalom, serving dips, salads, sandwiches, wraps, bowls, and other simple fare. The new restaurant, which soft-opened this Wednesday and will have a grand opening next Wednesday, includes an indoor space with a European-inspired standing bar, a grab-and-go case with portable snacks and salads, and a courtyard with outdoor seating. To drink, there's a selection of low-proof and no-proof cocktails, Turkish coffee, soft drinks, beer, and wine.

Alvin Wang, Phumitas Kaewklang, and Raymond Chau, the team behind the Vietnamese deli Lotus Kitchen, soft-opened their new restaurant and bar Lúa in the former space of Las Primas on Wednesday, serving a limited initial menu that includes muc rang muoi (salt and pepper squid), banh hoi (woven rice noodles), bún (vermicelli noodles), cha gio (egg rolls), banh mi, and chicken wings. Some drinks, such as Vietnamese coffee and Hong Kong milk tea, are also available.

Tasty and Fills
The sought-after sandwich shop Lardo and the fresh pasta spot Grassa opened new outposts in the Lake Oswego development Mercato Grove in April. Now, they're joined by the revival of the well-known brunch staple Tasty, which has been taken over from chef John Gorham by pastry chef Katherine Benvenuti, former Tasty general manager Faye Crosswhite, chef Michael Kessler, and Kurt Huffman of ChefStable. The new Tasty opened on Thursday and features a globally inspired menu with dishes like bibimbap, Nashville hot chicken, and shakshuka. Benvenuti's buzzy Berliner-style donut shop Fills Donuts will also open a location (called simply Fills) in the development this Sunday, serving donuts in the morning and a menu of brioche burgers, soft-serve sundaes, and fries beginning at 11:30 am. Also on deck: The popular French restaurant St. Jack will open a second location called Lac St. Jack on July 15, followed by a location of the wood-fired pizzeria Oven and Shaker in August or later. Mercato Grove will celebrate the slew of new openings with a grand opening party featuring live music and bites from the various restaurants from July 24-25.

Chef Steven Chin, restaurateur Micah Camden, and NFL pro Ndamukong Suh opened this Cantonese barbecue spot for takeout on Wednesday, June 23. The menu includes roast duck, soy sauce chicken, crispy pork belly, and char siu, as well as fried rice and side dishes like ginger scallion noodles and pork and shrimp wontons in chili sauce.


Kate's Ice Cream
The popular plant-based and gluten-free ice cream brand plans to open a new scoop shop in the former space of Ruby Jewel on North Mississippi this fall.


Fair Weather will transition back into Jacqueline
Jacqueline, the stylish seafood restaurant named for Bill Murray's submarine in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, rebranded as a brunch pop-up called Fair Weather at the end of January. Now that full capacity dining is back, the restaurant is transitioning back into its original incarnation. However, the restaurant will retain Fair Weather's coffee service, crullers, and pastries in the mornings.

Voodoo Doughnut workers go on strike
This week, some employees at Voodoo Doughnut's Old Town location walked out to protest working conditions, saying that the company had not made sufficient accommodations to help its workers through the hottest day in Portland history. According to the employees' union Doughnut Workers United, which is not formally recognized by Voodoo, temperatures inside the shop were dangerously hot due to the deep fryers and large southwest-facing windows, and workers now say that Voodoo has fired three employees for participating in the strike.


Portland Mercury's Summer of Slushies
IT'S FINALLY HERE... the coolest, most delicious event of the summer! The Portland Mercury and Jim Beam proudly present the Summer of Slushies! Get boozy, frozen slushie specials at your favorite bars during the month of July—and for only $5 each! Check out all of these delicious concoctions NOW! Want to find a delicious, cooling slushie near you? Check out our SLUSHIE MAP!
Various locations, through July 31


Lauretta Jean's
Whether you're looking for a red, white, and blue dessert for the Fourth of July or just want to celebrate berry season, Lauretta Jean's berries and sweet cream pie, topped with a tumble of colorful mixed berries, will fit the bill.

Sula Juicery
Looking for more ways to cool off this summer? This recently opened juice bar is offering its fresh-pressed juices as frozen ice pops in tubes, Otter Pop-style.

Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine
The modern San Francisco-based Thai restaurant's new July special is a "crabby curry," a southern Thai-style curry with soft-shell crab, jumbo lump crab, Anchan vermicelli noodles, and herbs. The dish is available for dine-in only.
Southeast, Pearl District