Food News

This Week In Portland Food News: Nico's Ice Cream Opens a Brick and Mortar, Ben & Esther's Expands, and Dough Zone is Coming

November 19, 2021 Edition
November 19, 2021

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The New Zealand-style ice cream cart Nico's Ice Cream opens its highly anticipated brick-and-mortar location this weekend. (Nico's Ice Cream)

There's plenty to be excited about in this week's edition of food news, including a new Baerlic Brewing taproom and beer garden, a new location of Ben & Esther's, a new cocktail bar from Old Gold and Paydirt co-owner Ezra Caraeff, a new brick-and-mortar location of Nico's Ice Cream, and an upcoming Portland location of the Washington dumpling destination Dough Zone. Read on for all of that and more of the latest food updates. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


Baerlic Brewing Alberta
This week, the "stubbornly independent" brewery Baerlic Brewing, named for an Old English word meaning "of barley," unveiled its third location, a new taproom and beer garden on Northeast Alberta Street. The new spot is featuring eight beers on tap to start and hopes to expand to 16-20 in the coming months.
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Ben & Esther's Vegan Jewish Deli
The popular Jewish deli opens its new Northeast Alberta location at 7 am this Saturday, serving a plant-based menu of bagels, deli sandwiches, salads by the pound, matzo ball soup, and baked goods like babka, hamantaschen, and black and white cookies, with plenty of gluten-free options. The restaurant was previously vegetarian but transitioned to a 100% vegan menu this week at both the new location and its original NE Sandy Boulevard location. The Sandy Boulevard location is temporarily closed through Thanksgiving for remodeling and will reopen on Friday, November 26 at 7 am.
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Holy Ghost
Ezra Caraeff, co-owner of the Old Gold and Paydirt (and former Portland Mercury music editor), opens this spooky and stylish new cocktail bar in the former Pub at the End of the Universe space today. You can look forward to drinks made with a wide selection of agave-based spirits, plus a menu of nonalcoholic drinks made with Seedlip zero-proof liqueurs, drinking vinegars, and syrups. There's even a special "Champagne button" in some booths to press to order sparkling wine to your table.
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Nico's Ice Cream
Nico Vergara, owner of the wildly popular ice cream cart Nico's Ice Cream, will host the grand opening of his new brick-and-mortar shop in the former Cupboard Goods space from 12-4 pm this Saturday. (EverOut associate editor and Portland Mercury columnist Janey Wong wrote about the upcoming shop in September.) Vergara specializes in New Zealand-style "real fruit" ice cream, featuring a vanilla base swirled with fresh fruit, with flavors like marionberry, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry. Guests at the new location will be able to choose from the four flavors in a kid's cone, cup, or waffle cone and can add optional toppings like rainbow sprinkles, toasted coconut flakes, graham cracker dust, and Chamoy. Half-pints will also be available to take home. On Sunday, Vergara will also open Nico's Coffee, a coffee shop inside the space serving cold brew and drip coffee from a rotating selection of BIPOC-owned roasters and pastries from HeyDay from Wednesday-Sunday, 7 am-12 pm. The spot has also teamed up with Trailhead Coffee Roasters to create Nico's Real Fruity Coffee, a limited-edition blend available on drip for the next month and in bags for retail.
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Ramen Ryoma
This "Japanese ramen and tapas bar" with locations in Beaverton and San Diego opened a new location in downtown Portland around mid-October. The menu features basic broths like shio, miso, and shoyu, as well as "specialty" versions like corn butter, tamago mayu, and spicy umami. 
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After a series of preview dinners, the upscale seafood restaurant Roe has reopened for the first time since the start of the pandemic as Tercet, a fine-dining restaurant concept that serves a tasting menu of vegetables, seafood, and meat. The spot's opening menu includes an update on the classic clams casino made with geoduck, as well as grilled petrale sole and ravioli with escargot.


Dough Zone
File under "news we're excited about": At long last, Washington's rapidly expanding dumpling destination Dough Zone has announced that it plans to open its largest location to date in Portland in spring 2022. The restaurant, which is known for its juicy xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and sheng jian bao (pan-fried steamed dumplings), will take over the former River Space event venue.
South Waterfront


Burgerville's union is close to finalizing a contract
After over three years of negotiation, the Burgerville Workers Union has reached a tentative contract agreement with Burgerville management. The Portland Mercury's Alex Zielinski has more details.


Plantsgiving Holiday Pantry Pop-Up
Stock up for the holidays at Küchenhaus's largest market of the year, with plant-based goodies from local vendors like Y.A.M.S. Organic, Tume PDX, Cocina Nagual, YES Juice Club, Miz Drizzle, Madre Theresa, Sinensis Tea Company, and Zips Chocolate.
Küchenhaus, Saturday, 12-4 pm

Fall Wine Tasting & Jazz

Sip vino from the urban wineries Ash Street Wines, Buona Notte, and Jackalope Wine Cellars and snack on charcuterie boxes from the butcher shop and restaurant Piccone's Corner while jazz guitarist Ben Graves sets the mood.
The Laurelhurst Club, Sunday, 1 pm

An Ode to Diner Pie
It's where pies go when they die: This month, the seasonally themed marketplace Zuckercreme will pay tribute to the best diner dessert with a "pie cafe" and markets.
Zuckercreme, through November 24


The Cuban-inspired cocktail bar is mashing up two classic drinks, the Cuba Libre and Sour, with its newest special, which combines Bacardi four-year rum, Beefeater gin, citrus, and cherry cola syrup, with truffle-infused egg white and fresh truffle shaved on top.
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Rudy's Gourmet Pizza
The laidback pizzeria has put all the flavors of a Thanksgiving dinner in a vegan slice of pizza with its "Holiday Ru" special, made with vegan mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, vegan gravy, vegan "turkey," and a sweet cranberry crust.
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Sweet Lorraine's Latkes & More
The potato pancake purveyor has put black and white cookies on its menu for this weekend while supplies last.
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