Food News

This Week In Portland Food News: Gado Gado Reopens Today, Cafe Reina Says Goodbye, and Nacheaux Plans A Food Hall

September 17, 2021 Edition
September 16, 2021
Thomas and Mariah Pisha-Duffly's celebrated restaurant Gado Gado reopens with a new rice table tasting menu option today. (Gado Gado)

In this week's batch of food news, Gado Gado reopens with a new rice table tasting menu, former Oregon Ducks football player Randall Willhite opens Poboyz Cajun Creole Kitchen, and the team behind Nacheaux plots a food hall with a speakeasy and a dessert shop. Plus, Brass Tacks Sandwiches and Café Reina say goodbye. Read on for that and more culinary updates, plus events for this weekend, like the Tater Tot Festival. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


Gado Gado
Thomas and Mariah Pisha-Duffly's acclaimed restaurant reopens today. The Indonesian favorite will also reprise its rice table service, which was originally on the menu when Gado Gado opened, but eventually disappeared after it became less sustainable. Inspired by the Indo-Dutch tradition of the "rijsttafel" ("rice table" in Dutch), an elaborate feast of many Indonesian small plates accompanied by rice, Gado Gado's rice table tasting will have vegan, pescatarian, and omnivorous options and will include a course of assorted snacks and bites, a main course of larger dishes with rice, and a dessert course with sweets like tapioca or sticky rice.
Hollywood District
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

La Villa Grill & Bar
This Mexican restaurant opened in Gresham's new Rockwood business center about a week ago, serving dishes like carne asada, ceviche, posole, enchiladas, and flan napolitano.
Pickup, dine-in

Mole Mole Mexican Cuisine
This cart opened on Alberta Street in late August. The menu features mole dishes, tacos, burritos, salads, and aguas frescas and includes several vegan options.

Pastificio d'Oro
Chef Chase Dopson and his fiancée Maggie Irwin soft-opened this Bologna-style pasta pop-up at Gracie's Apizza on Monday. Dopson makes all his pasta by hand without mixers or rollers, Italian nonna-style. The pop-up will be open for outdoor dining each Monday and Tuesday and will highlight dishes like tagliatelle alla bolognese or tortelloni di ricotta, along with antipasti, desserts, and a selection of wine.
St. John's

Pizza Kat
Emily and Scott Ketterman, the married couple behind Crown Paella, opened this neighborhood pizza joint on West Burnside for takeout and delivery on Wednesday. The restaurant features naturally leavened pies made with Pacific Northwest flour and topped with house-made mozzarella and ricotta. Other offerings include focaccia, meatballs, salads, sauces, beer, and natural wine.
Nob Hill
Pickup, delivery

Poboyz Cajun Creole Kitchen
Former Oregon Ducks football player Randall Willhite opened a brick-and-mortar location for his Cajun-Creole cart Poboyz in the former Bijou Cafe space last Friday, September 10. The menu includes the restaurant's signature po' boy sandwiches, stuffed with fillings like fried shrimp, oysters, chicken, and catfish, as well as Cajun and Creole staples like jambalaya, beignets, shrimp and grits, and red beans and rice. 
Old Town-Chinatown
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Just in time for Oktoberfest, this popular German bar opened a location in Bend this week. The outpost will offer 16 beers on tap and a food menu featuring some of its "greatest hits" from its sibling restaurant Stammtisch.
Pickup, dine-in


Beast by Marshawn Lynch
Seattle Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch, known by his nickname "Beast Mode," plans to open a Hawaiian restaurant called Beast along with Jun Park of Musashi and Kevin Yamada of Kama’aina Comfort Foods of Hawaii inside Hotel Vance this fall. There's just one problem: James Beard Award-winning chef Naomi Pomeroy's iconic restaurant Beast, which closed to make way for her market Ripe Cooperative, has the same name. According to Eater Portland, Pomeroy still hopes to reopen her restaurant at some point and has reached out to the team behind the upcoming restaurant to ask them to consider changing the name.

Ben & Esther's
The vegetarian Jewish deli announced this week that it will open a location in the former space of Random Order Coffeehouse on 18th and Alberta in a couple of months. In July, the restaurant revealed that it will be opening an outpost in San Diego's College Area sometime in late September or early October. 

Flor Wines
Famed Portland sommelier Andy Fortgang, the co-owner and wine director of Le Pigeon and Canard, will open his own wine shop as soon as early November, along with his business partner Gabriel Rucker and former Little Bird wine director Sergio Licea.

Green Zebra Grocery
The health-minded grocer announced on Instagram that its PSU store will reopen on October 1. The shop previously closed last August due to the impact of COVID-19 and a lack of foot traffic, along with the business's Lloyd District location.

Karnival Korner
In July, married couple Anthony and Stephanie Brown, the team behind the craveable "Mexicajun" cart-turned-restaurant Nacheaux, revealed that they plan to open a speakeasy-inspired bar and restaurant called Bourbon Street in a small room off the main Nacheaux space this fall. Now, those plans have changed a bit: The building's former tenants Blind Ox Taphouse and Mix 'n' Match Creamery are leaving, so the Nacheaux team will now open a full-fledged food hall, with two other restaurant concepts in addition to their flagship restaurant. Bourbon Street will take over Alameda Hop's bar by November 1, and a dessert shop called Karnival Korner will take over the ice cream counter in the space by October 1, serving up ice cream, freshly baked cookies, and other treats.

Nico's Ice Cream
This week, Nico Vergara, owner of the ice cream cart Nico's Ice Cream, revealed that he is opening a brick-and-mortar shop in the former Cupboard Goods space sometime this fall or winter. Vergara specializes in New Zealand-style ice cream, featuring a vanilla base swirled with fresh fruit, with flavors like marionberry, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry. EverOut associate editor and Portland Mercury columnist Janey Wong has all the details.


Brass Tacks Sandwiches
The sustainably sourced sandwich shop announced on Instagram this week that it will close on October 9 after a decade of business. The post read, "Rest assured that it was not tragedy that put a fork in this one: we're going out on TOP, babies! Still, after a decade of countless sandwiches, we're ready to move on to something different. Ten years is a long time to do anything in one place, but we've worked hard and have been lucky to weather all kinds of changes. We're proud of what we've all been able to accomplish." The announcement also noted that the team is focusing on other projects, including a new sparkling yerba maté and lemon soda called Maté Party and a "new adult drinking establishment," and told fans to stay posted for details for an upcoming going-away party.

Café Reina
Café Reina owner Erica Escalante announced on Instagram this week that she is closing her coffee shop Café Reina at the end of the month, as her family has decided to move to Los Angeles. She wrote, "I started this company 9 years ago at the age of 21. It has molded me and shaped me and has been the biggest influence of my adult life. . .I do have some possible exciting things lined up for me on the job front… definitely want to stay in coffee and I hope I can announce my next role soon." She also mentioned that she is "stepping away from baking for the foreseeable future" and that Café Reina will remain open as a commissary kitchen for now as she seeks a buyer to take over the space.


Oregon breweries win big at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival
14 Oregon breweries took home medals at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival on September 10. The winners include Breakside, which received a gold medal for its Passionfruit Sour and a bronze medal for its Disco Queen Lager, and Von Ebert Brewing, which received a gold medal for Volatile Substance in the notoriously competitive American-Style IPA category.

CJ McCollum buys land for a vineyard
This week, Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum and his wife Dr. Elise McCollum announced they purchased a 318-acre vineyard property in Yamhill-Carlton. McCollum, who launched his own wine brand McCollum Heritage 91 in 2020, plans to develop the land into a vineyard along with other Willamette Valley vineyard experts beginning in 2022.

Old Town Brewing launches hard seltzer brand
No doubt inspired by the rapid rise in popularity of White Claw and other spiked seltzers, Portland's Old Town Brewing has thrown its hat into the boozy bubbly water ring. The brewery has launched a new hard seltzer brand called Upper Left, complete with retro '70s packaging and flavors like cotton candy and key lime. The drinks will be available at Old Town's Northeast Portland brewpub as well as Zupan’s Market and Baby Doll Pizza.


Tater Tot Festival
Celebrate the delightfully squishy-crisp deep-fried potato product at the first annual Tater Tot Festival, hosted in the tater tot's birthplace: Ontario, Oregon. The event will feature live music, a cooking competition, an eating contest, a carnival boardwalk with games, a beer garden, food vendors, and lots of "tater-inspired food."
South Oregon Street and Southwest 2nd Avenue, Friday, 4-9 pm; Saturday, 11 am-9 pm

Fresh Hops & Hip-Hop
Since the pandemic spoiled its plans to have a birthday party, the Kenton taproom and bottle shop Mayfly has decided to throw an impromptu "Fresh Hops and Hip-Hop" celebration for its two-and-a-half-year anniversary, featuring the winning combination of fresh hop beer, dogs, yoga, and music.
Mayfly Taproom and Bottle Shop, Friday-Sunday

Serbian (Food) Fest 2021
Sample traditional Serbian flavors at this free all-ages festival.
St. Stephen Serbian Orthodox Church, Saturday, 12-8 pm

MidCity Smash Party
The smash burger cart MidCity will throw an end-of-summer bash, with additional food from the wood-fired pop-up Street Disco and the Vietnamese/BBQ pop-up Stabs and treats from Darth Baker. The festivities will also include music and local vendors.
MidCity Smash Burger, Saturday, 4-8 pm

Corks & Pork
Enjoy heritage pork and vino in equal measure at this wine tasting event series, which will feature meaty bites prepared by Tabula Rasa Farms chef Brett Uniss alongside Willamette Valley wines.
Tabula Rasa Farms, through September 25


Doe Donuts
The vegan donut purveyor unveiled its new plant-based ice cream sandwiches this week and announced they will be available in stores (including Food Fight! and Cutiee Buys) beginning September 23. Flavors include sugar cookie and birthday cake, chocolate chip and mint, and snickerdoodle and marionberry.
Pickup, delivery

Nacheaux debuted a new lunch menu this Thursday, with items like a patty melt and a new breakfast sandwich with thick-cut Cajun turkey, slaw, marinated tomatoes, a fried egg, garlic sauce, and Texas toast with a crispy "cheese skirt."  
Pickup, delivery, dine-in

Twisted Croissant
The bakery specializing in laminated-dough pastries is offering Boston cream doughnuts through the end of September.