Food News

This Week In Portland Food News: Magna Kusina Reopens, Dinger's Deli Closes, and Nico's Ice Cream Arrives

Friday, July 16 Edition
July 15, 2021
Chef Carlo Lamagna's acclaimed Filipino restaurant Magna Kusina is back and serving halo-halo topped with house-made ube ice cream. (Magna Kusina)

This week, Magna Kusina makes a triumphant return, Nico's Ice Cream brings New Zealand-style "real fruit" ice cream to Mississippi (just in time for National Ice Cream Day), and the vegan deli Dinger's Deli says goodbye for now. Plus, Fortune announces its upcoming reopening and a collaboration with Plant Based Papi. Read on for details on all of that and more, plus events for this weekend, like Ruthie's x MidCity Smash Burger Pop-Up. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


Magna Kusina
After going on hiatus this winter to rest, remodel the project, and work on some new ideas, chef Carlo Lamagna's acclaimed Filipino restaurant reopened for both indoor and outdoor seating last weekend with a new menu. The menu includes tuhong (skewers), pulutan (snacks) like lumpia and sisig, and ulam (main dishes) like chicken adobo and beef pares.  Desserts include biko (coconut sticky rice topped with polvoron) and halo-halo.
Pickup, delivery, outdoor seating, indoor seating

Nico's Ice Cream
Looking for a frozen treat for National Ice Cream Day this Sunday? This new ice cream cart had its grand opening in front of Prost! on Thursday and specializes in New Zealand-style ice cream, featuring a vanilla base swirled with fresh fruit. Flavors include marionberry, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry.


After closing last September due to the impact of COVID-19 and an ongoing legal battle with the venue's landlords, the Old Town Chinatown nightclub Fortune is making a comeback. The spot is set to take over the space of the cocktail bar Jackknife, which closed in May 2020, inside the Sentinel Hotel later this month. The popular vegan comfort food restaurant Plant Based Papi, which is currently on hiatus for renovations and running a three-month pop-up residency at Bit House Collective, will join the kitchen when it reopens, slinging his signature burgers, cheesy pasta, crispy fried jackfruit "chicken," and other crowd favorites.

Green Zebra Grocery
The health-minded grocer announced on Instagram this week that it will reopen its PSU store sometime this fall. 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.

Portland Cider Co.
Portland Cider Co. plans to expand with a location in Beaverton in spring 2022. The outpost will be the growing cider company's third pub.

Upright Brewing
The award-winning microbrewery Upright Brewing is teaming up with the local coffee roaster Junior's to open a taproom and cafe in a former gas station in the Roseway/Cully area sometime next year. The spot will also feature two food carts and outdoor seating.


Dinger's Deli
The popular plant-based deli known for its hearty subs closed on July 9, at least for now. Owner Brian Steadman explained to Willamette Week that the cart was closing not due to a lack of business, but rather due to the need for a break because of the "emotional and physical toll" of running the business. He also hinted that he'll soon be collaborating with an existing brick-and-mortar with a patio and cocktails and will be cooking up something entirely new for the menu. In an Instagram post, he wrote, "This is not a goodbye!!! It’s a very simple 'I’ll catch you later!'...I love Dinger's Deli, and while I will still be working with food, I need a break to try new things and for me to change gears!"


Local brewery faces criticism for cultural appropriation
This week, a series of two TikToks criticizing the local brewery N.W.I.P.A. for its name went viral. In the videos, which currently have 70,000 views combined, Amiri Bradley, who goes by the username @opbamiri, explains that the bar takes its name from the pioneering hip hop group N.W.A. and uses the same font, despite being white-owned and having predominantly white patrons. Bradley alleges that when he went to the owners and customers to ask them about the name, they laughed at him and called him "racist." He encouraged users to leave negative reviews for the business, which many have done. The business has since responded by changing its name to "North West India Pale Ale" and has posted an apology on Instagram: "To everyone, I heard you, am sorry and know that your hurt and anger is justified. We’ve removed our old signage and logos. Thank you for your efforts and pushing us to be better."

Little Caesar's tests out plant-based pepperoni in Portland

Portlanders can be among the first to try out a new vegetarian pizza option. The national chain Little Caesar's has picked Portland as one of five cities to test out its new "Planteroni" plant-based pepperoni topping from Field Roast. The pepperoni is available on a full-sized pizza or on the chain's Slices-N-Sticks option, which is composed of half pizza slices and half garlic breadsticks.

República starts new tasting menu
In June, the Mexican restaurant República began offering a new five-course chef's tasting menu, which highlights rare ingredients such as escamoles (ant larvae), huitlamoche (corn smut), and ancestral maíz. Diners can choose a tasting focused on meat and fish or one focused on vegetables, and optional wine pairings from Mexican and Mexican-American winemakers are also available, as well as a menu of cocktails and mezcals. Servers provide some background on the history of the ingredients used in the menu.


Bastille Day at Stem Wine Bar
Missed out on Bastille Day this past Wednesday? Celebrate fashionably late all weekend long over French champagne and wine flights, macarons, and live accordion music.
Stem Wine Bar, Friday-Saturday

Eat Vegan
Revel in plant-based dishes with Middle Eastern flavors from Alley Mezza, Lokanta, the Moody Persian, Peri Koshari, Tōv, and Jerusalem Rose.
Lokanta, pickup from 1-3 pm on Saturday

Ruthie's x MidCity Smash Burger Pop-Up
The seasonal wood-fired cart Ruthie's and the burger cart MidCity SmashBurger will collaborate on a homey, simple menu with smoked oyster deviled eggs, smashed potato salad, cucumber salad, a whole branzino, and banana cake.
Ruthie's, Sunday, 2-10 pm

Verdant Paired Tasting Lunch
Enjoy a leisurely multi-course tasting lunch by chef Will Preisch, who will devise menus sourced primarily from Abbey Road Farm produce, paired with wines from the farm's winery.
Abbey Road Farm, Fridays-Saturdays through October

Summer Soirée Series
Wine pro Ron Acierto will pair wines with dumplings, noodles, dim sum, and other dishes prepared by chef Christian Yuen.
Lobby by Lechon, Sunday-Monday, 4-9 pm

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 30

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


The "Mexicajun" restaurant is appealing to breakfast-loving hedonists with a new brunch special available for this weekend, a carnitas flatbread breakfast sandwich loaded with cheese, bacon, and guacamole.
Pickup, delivery

Providore Fine Foods
Tomato season has arrived, and the specialty market Providore Fine Foods is celebrating by bringing back its caprese focaccia.

South x Northwest
The recently opened plant-based restaurant has released a new line of mocktails, including "Grownup Punch" (Wilderton Earthen Distillate, blackberry, lavender, lemon, Topo Chico), the "Classy Lady" (Wilderton Lustre Distillate, lemon, marjoram, orange blossom water), and the "Bench Swing" (mint, lime, lime sparkling water). They've also expanded their brunch menu and added Texas state fair-style corn dogs to their happy hour menu. 
Pickup, outdoor seating

Sugarpine Drive-In
The destination drive-in is celebrating its third anniversary with a birthday cake soft-serve special starting this weekend, with vanilla soft serve, strawberry magic shell, layered funfetti cake bites, and birthday cake crumbs. The special will be available for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, their food truck pop-up Da Pine Grinds has added a new vegan tofu bibimbap bowl special with vegetables, bulgogi-marinated tofu, house kimchi, and gochujang.
Drive-thru, pickup

Twisted Croissant
The modern French-inspired bakery has introduced a new croissant doughnut special for July, featuring peach compote, Earl Grey whipped ganache, and bergamot glaze.