Food News

This Week In Portland Food News: Reel M Inn Tavern Is Back, Kansas City Barbecue Arrives, and Capri Sun Cocktails Are Coming

February 26, 2021 Edition
February 25, 2021
Portland's favorite fried chicken and jo-jos are back on the menu: Reel M Inn Tavern re-opens for takeout and outdoor dining this Saturday. (Reel M Inn Tavern)

This week brings some welcome news: A crew comprised of employees from Deadshot, Magna Kusina, and Pono Brewing are opening a tropical bar with boozy Capri Sun cocktails and fun Filipinx snacks in the former space of Bit House Saloon, and the well-loved dive Reel M Inn Tavern is slinging fried chicken and jojos once again. Plus, a new takeout- and delivery-only kitchen is serving up Kansas City-style barbecue, Diane Lam's fried chicken pop-up Prey + Tell gets a permanent home inside Psychic Bar, and a new taphouse with over a dozen food carts opens in Oregon City. Read on for that and more culinary updates. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS

Bit House Collective
Deadshot bartender Natasha Mesa, Magna Kusina chefs Carlo Lamagna, Dante Fernandez, and Roberto Almodovar, and local brewery Pono Brewing are coming together to form a dream-team collaboration. The group will open their new project Bit House Collective, which they jokingly refer to as a "Michelin-starred dive bar," in the former space of the historic Bit House Saloon next Wednesday, March 3. You can look forward to a menu of playful drinks from Mesa, such as boozy Capri Sun-esque cocktails served in pouches, fancied-up flaming Dr. Peppers, and a gin-spiked version of buko pandan (a Filipinx "dessert salad" with coconut milk and fruit jelly). Some other draws? Beers from Pono Brewing, like a hazy pineapple IPA and a blackberry-raspberry stout, and Filipinx-inspired bar snacks, like crab fat gravy waffle fries and pineapple barbecue-glazed burgers with atchara (pickled papaya).
Southeast
Outdoor seating and limited indoor seating

Corner14
Not sure what you're craving? This taphouse selling beer and spirits, which had its grand opening in Oregon City on February 19, features over a dozen food carts to choose from. Cart options include The Freckled Peach (sweet and savory waffles), Veggie Bowl (customizable grain bowls), Original Salmon Tacos (salmon tacos, bowls, and quesadillas), Maw Maw's Cajun Kitchen (po' boys and other Cajun favorites), Krua Corner 14 (Thai cuisine), Shawarma Express (Mediterranean wraps and plates), Prometheus Pizza (sourdough pizza), Adelina's Mexican Food (Mexican staples), From Russia With Love (piroshkis and other Russian fare), and Walter French's (smashburgers, hoagies, and melts). There's outdoor dining with a fireplace as well as limited indoor seating.
Oregon City
Pickup, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating

Credit: Lawless Barbecue



Lawless Barbecue
This takeout- and delivery-only kitchen slinging slow hardwood-smoked, Kansas City-style barbecue opened last week. The menu includes hearty comfort food such as Frito chili pie, smoked and fried wings, burgers, brisket banh mi sandwiches, panko mac and cheese, carnitas tacos, ribs, and banana pudding.
Southeast
Pickup or delivery

Poppyseed
Pastry chef Lissette Morales Willis and Le Pigeon alum Tim Willis opened this new "sweet and savory seasonal kitchen" cart in the Killingsworth Station Food Cart Pod in mid-January. Drawing on the couple's fine-dining experience, the winter menu features glazed brisket sandwiches, duck country pate, winter baby kale salad with a galette, grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and sticky toffee pudding sundaes.
North
Pickup

Portland Cider House
The cider pub, which will celebrate its eighth anniversary in March, is reopening both its Clackamas and Hawthorne locations this weekend for limited indoor seating, according to its email newsletter.
Southeast, Clackamas
Limited indoor seating

Psychic Bar and Prey + Tell
The cocktail bar Psychic, which has been closed much of this year and has been home to former Revelry chef de cuisine Diane Lam's pop-up Sunshine Noodles, is reopening for outdoor dining and limited indoor dining next Thursday, March 4. This time, Lam's new Cambodian fried chicken concept Prey + Tell, which opened as a ghost kitchen in January and is currently on hiatus, will take over the kitchen permanently. Lam will also host Sunshine Noodles pop-ups and events in the upstairs space.
North
Pickup, delivery, outdoor seating, or limited outdoor seating

Reel M Inn Tavern
Rejoice! On Wednesday, the iconic dive, beloved for its fried chicken and jo-jos, announced on Instagram that it is reopening for takeout and patio dining with limited hours (Wednesday-Monday, 4-8 pm) beginning on Saturday. Preorders are accepted up to 24 hours in advance, or you can stop by and have a drink while you wait outside.
Southeast
Pickup or outdoor seating

OTHER NEWS

Voodoo Doughnut union demands to be recognized by company
Employees of the quirky tourist standby Voodoo Doughnut have formed a union called Doughnut Workers United and issued an ultimatum to the business earlier this week to recognize them by Thursday. If not, the union said it would file a petition for a National Labor Relations board election. (At this time of this writing, an update has not yet been released.) The union was founded in March 2020 after many employees felt insufficiently protected at the start of the pandemic and has fought for increased security. It's also provided food and drink for workers and distributed KN95 masks to employees during the wildfires. Their list of demands include a living wage, fair and consistent scheduling, safe and healthy workplaces, security guards, severance pay and access to PTO payout for workers laid off due to COVID-19, affordable benefits, paid sick leave and vacation time, holiday pay on more holidays, transparent hiring and firing policies, wage increases for each additional station an employee is trained on, and maternity or parental leave.

Portland wine community raises funds for winemaker diagnosed with brain tumor
The Portland wine community has rallied around former Division Winemaking winemaker Drew Herman, who is expecting his first child with Johan Vineyards manager Elise Hansen this spring and has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. To raise money, many local wine shops, wineries, and wine vendors have banded together to donate bottles for raffle prizes. Raffle tickets are $10 each, and winners will receive a mixed six-pack of wines containing everything from "Champagne to magnums, cellared bottles to current releases."

A new chili pop-up has arrived
A new plant-based chili pop-up called Chili Goat Gruff, selling cups of chili, chili fries, and Impossible burgers with chili, made its debut at the smash burger cart Rough Draft this Tuesday. The next event is on March 16.

POP-UPS AND EVENTS

Virtual OMSI After Dark: Winter Ale Fest
Add some science magic to your beer tasting adventures (and vice-versa) at this virtual night out at OMSI, where you'll get to witness experiments, chat with brewery experts, and play trivia.
Online, Friday, 7-9 pm

Drive-Thru Pop-Up Bakery with Blackstreet Bakery
The Black-owned vegan bakery Blackstreet Bakery will sling treats at this drive-thru pop-up.
Alder Commons, Saturday, 10 am-12 pm

Virtual Pairings Party
Wine experts Mallory Smith and Martin Skegg will share helpful pointers for pairing wine with any type of food (from "chili dogs to Shanghai dumplings") at this free class.
Online, Saturday, 5-6 pm

Black Restaurant Week Northwest
Black Restaurant Week, a national culinary campaign founded in Houston in 2016 with the goal of shining a light on local Black-owned businesses, is coming to the Northwest for the first time. Several restaurants across Washington and Oregon will be participating with prix-fixe menus, specials, and more. Besides dining at featured restaurants, such as Po' Shines Cafe De La Soul and Deadstock Coffee, you can also get involved by checking off items on the event's official bingo card, which involves challenges like taking a food truck selfie or a screenshot of a positive restaurant review. You'll get a chance to win some treats and other prizes.
Various locations, February 26-28

Stout Month
As we head further into the season of dark and heavy brews, Fort George Brewery has you covered with a lineup of hearty food specials (like beer-braised beef with potatoes and mushroom gravy and bacon on a stick) to complement your stout of choice.
Fort George Brewery, February 26-28

Girl Scout Cookie & Wine Pairing
If you've never unfurled on the couch after a long day with a box of Thin Mints and a big ol' glass of Cabernet, you're missing out, friend. Redeem yourself with Hip Chicks Do Wine's package of four Girl Scout cookies paired with four wines of their choosing, which you can pick up at the shop or have delivered to your door.
Hip Chicks Do Wine, February 26-March 5

Le Pigeon at the NEXT
James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker's celebrated Le Pigeon is pivoting to room service: The French restaurant is teaming up with the modern boutique hotel Jupiter NEXT to offer a pop-up with three-course meals in hotel rooms for $100. Guests have the option to book a stay for the rest of the night for $89 and can also add on optional wine pairings or cocktail pairings from Hey Love. A portion of proceeds from all meals will go towards the nonprofit Feed the Mass.
Jupiter NEXT, Thursday-Saturday through March 6

Puffy Jacket Pop-Up Dining Series
This new pop-up series from Columbia Hospitality is making the best of winter al fresco dining by encouraging local diners to bundle up in their most voluminous outerwear for outdoor meals with cozy cocktails at 12 different venues in Washington and Oregon. 
Various locations, Friday-Saturday through March 27

NEW SPECIALS

Credit: Lottie & Zula's

Lottie & Zula's
The East Coast-style sandwich shop has released its own line of "Aprés House Canned Cocktails" this week, according to a press release. Created by bartender Erica Namare, the ski-themed cocktails function as "both shaker tin and imbibing container all in one" and even come with ice cubes inside. The cocktails include the Nose Dive Annie (Rittenhouse Rye, Nux Alpina Walnut, smoked maple syrup, and bitters), the Picabo (Lewis & Clark Vodka, St. Germain, rosemary syrup, and lemon), and Hey Dude (a White Russian-inspired drink with Dreg's Vodka, Averna, PushXPull cold brew, vanilla, chicory, and coconut cream). The Aprés menu also contains three hot cocktails perfect for warming up on a cold day: Cape Codmother, Hot Tub Time Machine, and the Duck Butter Whiskey Toddy.
Northeast
Pickup

Pinolo Gelato
The gelateria has released a few new seasonal flavors, including Martina (a flavor infused with ginger, cardamom, grapefruit, and bay leaves), Sanguinella (a sorbetto made with fresh blood orange juice), and Cassata (made with ricotta, almond and citrus zest and drizzled with chocolate).
Southeast
Pickup or delivery

St. Beatrix
The bakeshop is putting its own twist on the pithivier (a round French pastry) with puff pastry made from Camas Country Mill hard red spring wheat flour, plus house-made ricotta, Old Blue raw blackberry honey, and a kiss of crunchy salt.
Northeast
Pickup