The Rose City food scene is abuzz this week, as indoor dining returns to the Portland metro area at 25% capacity today and the trailer for the upcoming Top Chef season in Portland is revealed. Plus, two new smash burger food carts have arrived, Bailey's Taproom says farewell, and a brewery, a tropical vegan food cart, and a thin-crust pizza restaurant are all on the horizon. Read on for that and more culinary updates. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.
NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS
The Bavarian-themed bar reopened its patio for in-person dining after an almost ten-week hiatus on February 10 and received a very warm welcome in the form of a $2,000 tip left by a customer, who was enjoying the chicken schnitzel. The tip was shared amongst the members of the team.
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating
This new Kenton cafe, which opened in late January, serves a fresh, health-conscious menu of plant-based and gluten-free fare, including grain bowls, salads, smoothies, smoothie bowls, juices, hot drinks, oats, and granola.
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating
Hina's Island Grindz and Catering
Hawaiian food fans in the Portland area have some new food carts to check out: Just a couple weeks after the new island-inspired cart Kuli Kuli's late January opening, this Hawaiian-inspired cart debuted in Beaverton's Bi-Mart parking lot last weekend, serving classic plate lunches with two scoops of rice and a mac salad. Options include kalua pig, hamburger steak, Hina's goji jun, beef teriyaki, chicken katsu, "Hawaiian chili," chicharron chicken, mochiko chicken, and musubi.
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating
Sushi chef Takeo Kashiwagi, who was forced to close his pint-sized Southwest Portland restaurant Sushi Takahashi 2 in 2019, has at last tracked down a new location. (In 2016, Andrea Damewood declared Sushi Takahashi 2 the best conveyor belt sushi spot in Portland in her Portland Mercury column The Last Supper, writing, "A sushi master in Tokyo, Mr. Yasuda, recently taught me that the real way to gauge sushi is by its rice, and Sushi Takahashi has got it down. The grains are all lightly flavored with vinegar, and cooked to perfection, neither gummy nor hard.") His new eponymous restaurant Kashiwagi soft-opened this Thursday in the former space of the New Mexican restaurant La Panza and serves takeout sushi and bento boxes—alas, the conveyor belt didn't carry over in the transition.
Mid-City Smash Burger
Just in time for Mardi Gras, this food cart, which was originally conceived in New Orleans and opened on January 22, has landed in Buckman, serving smash burgers with American cheese and "smash sauce" (ketchup, mayo, pickles, onions, and spices) on Franz buns, as well as crinkle-cut fries and chocolate shakes. Owner Mike Aldridge will pay tribute to the Big Easy (where he lived for a year before returning to Portland due to COIVD) this weekend with individual king cakes and live musicians, if weather allows.
Another smash-burger cart opened outside Belmont Station on Saturday, February 6. This one has a spooky monster theme and serves a signature "OG Smash Burger" with two beef patties, American cheese, house-made pickles, and "monster sauce" on a brioche bun, as well as a vegan version with Beyond patties and vegan American cheese, French fries with garlic aioli, green salads, and a "soup and sando" combo (smoked tomato bisque and a grilled cheese with provolone, pesto, and Genoa salami).
The nano-brewery Binary Brewing (formerly known as Uptown Brewing) will be expanding with a bigger brewery in the former space of Beaverton Bakery in historic downtown Beaverton by mid-to-late summer this year. The new location will feature a pinball hall, lounge areas, and a spacious patio.
Bull Run Pizza
This pizza cart inside Baerlic Brewing’s Barley Pod plans to open a full-fledged restaurant in the former Fonda Rosa space in Northeast Portland by the end of the month. The pod is temporarily closed in the meantime to prepare for the opening but will reopen in March.
Kayla Lamberson, owner of the vegan comfort food cart the Mocking Bird, is opening a new tropical-themed cart in the new CORE (Collective Oregon Eateries) pod on March 5. The cart will sling dishes like plant-based loco moco, teriyaki tempeh, and jackfruit nachos and will also serve as a source for education about ocean and animal conservation issues.
Bailey's Taproom and the Upper Lip
The beloved watering hole Bailey's Taproom and its sister bar the Upper Lip, which closed indefinitely in September 2020 due to the pandemic, have announced that they will not be reopening. The building is currently for sale.
Eater Portland reports that this bar appears to have vacated its Alberta Street location and that a "for lease" sign has been posted in its window, although its website still says it is closed temporarily due to COVID restrictions.
Indoor dining returns to Portland metro
Starting today, indoor dining has returned at 25% capacity to the Portland metro area, including Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties, which have been moved from "extreme" to "high" COVID-19 risk. While some restaurants, such as Mt. Hood Brewing and EaT: An Oyster Bar, are reopening, others are proceeding with caution—Eem and Kachka have both announced they will be sticking to takeout for the time being, and the restaurant Nostrana plans to reopen for dine-in only once its employees have received a vaccine.
Top Chef's Portland season is coming soon
Bravo's popular culinary competition series Top Chef, which announced in October that its 18th season would take place in Portland, has dropped a trailer and announced the lineup of contestants. The new season comes out on April 1. Two local chefs, Gabriel Pascuzzi (of Stacked Sandwich Shop and Mama Bird) and Sara Hauman (formerly of Arden and now at Soter Vineyards), will be among the contestants competing this season, and other Portland chefs, including Kann chef Gregory Gourdet and Le Pigeon chef Gabriel Rucker, will also make appearances.
Old Spaghetti Factory co-founder Sally Dussin dies
Sally Dussin, who founded the Portland-based national chain the Old Spaghetti Factory in 1969, died of natural causes at age 92 on January 28.
POP-UPS AND EVENTS
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, Friday-Sunday, 6-8 pm
Prime your liver for Zwickelmania, the annual event where more than 100 breweries open their doors online stores for your drinking pleasure, promising tons of beer releases. Think of it as a virtual open house.
Online, Saturday, 12-3 pm
Giant Squid: A Natural Wine Bar Pop Up by Aaron Barnett & Joel Gunderson
Longtime best friends and drinking buddies Aaron Barnett of St. Jack and Joel Gunderson of Coopers Hall are debuting their new natural wine pop-up Giant Squid at La Moule on Valentine's Day. Barnett will prepare a four-course dinner, while Gunderson will supply the wine selection.
La Moule, Saturday, 6-10 pm
Winter Soup Festival To-Go
Warm up with steamy, restorative Latin American soups available for takeout or for covered outdoor dining from a variety of Portland Mercado businesses, including Xocotl, Tierra Del Sol, Fernando's Alegría, Barrio, Kaah Market, La Arepa, Que Bacano, and Alecocina.
Portland Mercado, Saturday-Sunday, 11 am-9 pm
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.
Need a cozy beverage to sip as you watch the snow fall? Dot's Cafe has a menu of hot drinks, including hot toddies (with classic, cardamom, and orange marmalade variations), Clinton St. Coffee with Bailey's and Kahlua, "blueberry tea" (brandy, amaretto, Earl Grey, lemon), tequila-spiked Mexican hot chocolate, and apple cider with whiskey.
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating with heated patio