Rejoice: Shake Shack opens its long-awaited first Oregon location at last today! Plus, the Vietnamese cafe Portland Cà Phê soft-opens this weekend, an "extreme milkshake bar" featured on Shark Tank is headed to Vancouver, and Ciao Vito has closed after 16 years of business. Read on for all that and more exciting culinary developments. Be sure to also check out the lineup for the Portland Mercury's Pizza Week 2021. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.
NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS
Breakside Beer Cart
The lauded brewery opened a beer cart inside the new CORE (Collective Oregon Eateries) pod on April 8.
Pickup or outdoor seating
According to a press release, the newly opened juice bar and veg-centric cafe from chefs Brian Han and BJ Smith opened for dine-in service on Thursday.
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating
The Momo Master
In early March, co-owners Faisal Mutua and Lakpa Nubo launched this food cart slinging momos (a delightful type of Himalayan filled dumpling) and coffee inside the Bantu Island pod. Nubo makes the momos, which are stuffed with a rotating array of fillings ranging from local grass-fed beef to Mama Lil's peppers to birria, while Mutua, the founder of the award-winning roaster Abundancia Coffee, provides the java.
Jalapeño & Rocoto Pepper PDX
The Sherwood-based Mexican restaurant opened an outpost in Portland in late March. The extensive menu includes carne asadas, chimichangas, chile relleno, tortas, and other staples.
According to a press release, Kachka's Russian deli sibling Kachka Lavka is now back open for both shopping and outdoor dining. The grocery section is stocked with breads, charcuterie, cured fish, imported grocery items, and merchandise, while the restaurant's new all-day cafe menu features Lavka egg sandwiches, piroshkis, blini, "Baltic picnic" sets (a choice of fish, parsley mayo, a hard-boiled egg, pickled onion, herbs, and pumpernickel toasts), and "Soviet Lunchables" (alef yevreyskaya osobaya beef salami, druzhba cheese spread, malosolnye cucumbers, and pumpernickel toast). Chef and co-owner Bonnie Morales said in the release, "We always wanted Lavka to be the kind of place you could pop in on your way to work for a fresh pirozhok and hot tea, or spend an afternoon with a friend, sharing a bottle of wine and snacks. We're finally getting to a place where we can offer Kachka's hospitality in a safe, casual setting, and are so excited to see our guests again."
Pickup or outdoor seating
According to a press release, the original Southeast Grand Avenue location of Nicholas Restaurant, Portland's first Lebanese restaurant, has moved to a new 4,000-square-foot location at 109 SE Madison Street. Second-generation owner Hilda Dibe, whose father Nicholas Dibe fled Beirut with his family during the Lebanon War and opened the original restaurant over 30 years ago, now oversees the business. The spacious new location features an outdoor patio and an adjacent parking lot. There's also a new Lebanese-inspired beverage menu, with cocktails like an arak-based mojito and a pomegranate molasses spritzer.
Pickup, delivery, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating
Portland Cà Phê
Kimberly Dam, owner of the Vietnamese coffee roasting company Portland Cà Phê, will soft-open her new Southeast Portland cafe from Saturday through Sunday this weekend and will host a grand opening next weekend, April 23-24. Dam has previously developed roasts for local favorites like Matta and Mama Dut, as well as her mother's restaurant House of Bánh Mì, and her new shop will serve coffee alongside bánh mi sandwiches. She's also teaming up with the local patê sô purveyor Hey Chaudy to offer some specials just for the grand opening. Each day during the soft opening (April 17-18), the first 15 customers will receive a free 12 oz bottle of cold brew, while the first 20 customers at the grand opening (April 23-24) will receive a free cà phê sữa đá and a free bánh patê sô from Hey Chaudy.
Bring on the burgers, crinkle-cut fries, and frozen custard concretes: The first-ever Oregon location of Danny Meyer's beloved fast-food chain Shake Shack lands in Cedar Hills today. The chain is known for its local collaborations, and this location is no different: The menu will feature beer from Breakside, Ecliptic, and Occidental as well as seasonal milkshakes, starting with a strawberry rhubarb special. The spot is now open for outdoor patio seating and limited indoor seating, and will add online ordering in the next few months.
Pickup, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating
Sou'S Asian Fusion
Another cart called Sou'S Asian Fusion has also joined the throng of carts at the CORE pod. Its soft opening began on Thursday and continues through Saturday. The simple menu includes pepper salted shrimp and squid, "surf and turf" combos with mac salad and rice, and wings with rice and pickled vegetables.
Pickup or outdoor seating
Asylum Spirits Pub
The Hawthorne Asylum food cart pod is opening a bar, tentatively called Asylum Spirits Pub and slated to open in September. The pub will feature 40 taps of beer, wine, cider, and potentially cocktails, along with covered seating.
The Seattle-based Filipino pop-up Baon Kainan, run by married couple Ethan and Geri Leung out of the restaurant Ben Paris (where Ethan works as a chef), is headed for Portland. The Leungs have already hosted some pop-ups at Matta and are planning on opening a cart of their own in July—a location has not yet been determined, but they're hoping to settle down near Matta, according to Eater Seattle.
Goths and anyone with a taste for the macabre will be happy to know that a spooky "haunted mansion-themed cocktail lounge" will open in the former space of No Vacancy Lounge later this month. The bar will let guests sip craft cocktails from glassware like beakers and skulls and participate in a variety of interactive activities, such as a hands-on "elixir experience" where you can "brew your own mad scientist potion."
Arden owner Kelsey Glasser and former Tusk chef Sam Smith are teaming up to open a customizable grain bowl shop called Wild Thing early this summer. The restaurant will also serve smoothies, chia pudding, overnight oats, and canned wines from various local winemakers.
The Yard Milkshake Bar
The Instagram-trendy chain The Yard Milkshake Bar, which was featured on Shark Tank and is known for its "extreme milkshakes, ice cream, waffle sundaes and edible cookie dough," is opening its first West Coast location in Vancouver this summer.
Ciao for now, Ciao Vito: The esteemed Italian restaurant, known for launching the career of Ataula chef José Chesa, appears to have shuttered after 16 years of business. This week, the business posted on Instagram, "Ciao Vito n’est pas morte...mais il n’existe plus" ("Ciao Vito is not dead, but it no longer exists"), adding, "Onwards we go— hope we meet again somewhere." Eater Portland reports that a wine shop and bar called Solera has filed a liquor license for the location's address.
Red Star Tavern
The downtown Kimpton Hotel restaurant, which was recently featured in an episode of Top Chef: Portland, is no more. The Hotel Monaco had rebranded as a Royal Sonesta earlier this year, and the tavern appears to have been impacted negatively by the change.
Boxcar Pizza reports customers spat in an employee's drink and stole food
The vegan Detroit-style pizzeria Boxcar Pizza posted on Instagram this week that a couple at the shop on April 8 became angry after being told they couldn't dine inside with masks and called their staff "Nazis." According to the post, they also tried to steal some prepared pizzas, spit in an employees' drink, broadcast the situation on Facebook Live, and threatened to round up some "freedom fighters." Boxcar closed on Friday, April 9, out of fear that the harassers would return, but reopened the following day.
Portland Pizza Week returns
In decidedly happier pizza-related news, after a hiatus in 2020, the Portland Mercury’s Portland Pizza Week is returning from April 19-25 to team up with Portland's best pizza purveyors to offer amazing, delicious, $2 slices to the masses! (Or $16 whole pies.) With over 30 restaurants and bars taking part, you’ll never be far from your next slice, and your week—nay, your life—will be all the better for it. Get excited. Check out our full guide to this year's lineup.
POP-UPS AND EVENTS
Hip Chicks Do Wine Pop-Up
Sip a trio of three wines and three fruity sangrias at the urban winery Hip Chicks Who Do Wine. Additional Spanish-inspired small plates are also available for purchase if you're feeling peckish.
Hip Chicks Do Wine, Saturday, 12-5 pm
A bevy of Portland's most in-demand vegan pop-ups and restaurants have joined forces to create a deluxe plant-based takeout meal. The spread includes mango-papaya salad from the Vietnamese deli Mama Dút, a meadow roll from the vegan sushi pop-up Mitate, ube croquettes from the Thai restaurant Kati, frozen kulfi pops from the shop Kulfi, and ube ensaymadas and biko from the pop-up Kumare.
Mestizo, Sunday, 1-4 pm
Heyday Donuts Pop-Up
The sought-after doughnut pop-up Heyday makes a triumphant return from hiatus with this pop-up, which will feature flavors like Thai tea, pandan, guava cheesecake, baked ube, and banana brûlée.
MILK+TEA, Sunday, 12-2 pm
CBD Dinner Series
Looking for some upscale room service with a cannabis twist? Chef and plant medicine coach Liv Vasquez, a winner on Netflix's Cooked With Cannabis, will host a CBD Dinner Series at the Jupiter Hotel, with private in-room three-course meals.
Jupiter NEXT, April 22-24
The Berliner-style donut shop is celebrating rhubarb season with their newest special, a bright pink strawberry-glazed donut with roasted rhubarb jam.
Pickup or delivery
Naomi Pomeroy's sustainability-focused community market is featuring a vegetarian meal this week, with spring vegetable lasagna (green garlic pasta sheets layered with ricotta, spring greens, black pearl oyster mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and tomato butter sauce), "gathering together greens" with Dijon mustard and red wine vinaigrette, a rhubarb brown butter tart with vanilla bean whipped cream, and a bottle of Verdicchio Riserva from Ca'Liptra.