With the recent closure of Bay 13, it is becoming increasingly clear that a certain area of the Pearl District, specifically a twelve- to fifteen-block area radiating from the intersection of NW 13th Avenue and Hoyt Street, is cursed when it comes to keeping a restaurant doors open. The restaurant core of this upwardly mobile neighborhood has seen its share of hit restaurants inhabit it including star standouts Andina, Fratelli, Daily Cafe, and Giorgio's, but for every fanatical bite of Fratelli chef Paul Klitsie's penne pasta, there was others who did not live up to their initial promise. So in keeping with Eater's list-keeping tradition, here are restaurants that have gone tips up in this "dead zone."
(Meanwhile, hat tip to Oregonian foodie Grant Butler for his takes on some of the following long gone spaces in his wonderfully written piece “True Confessions of a Former Food Critic”):
Bima: Known for its half-pound Bima burger as much as for its Gulf coast cuisine, at the beginning of the Pearl District boom, this bustling hotspot was the place to be for see and be seen food lovers. It also had hot waiters.
Terra: In the same space as Bima it was “notable for a gigantic Buddha statue and not much else.” Oregonian/Grant Butler
Vivid: It too took a stab in the space that once held Bima. Butler called it “a temple to architectural cooking that was so unpleasant it should have been called Livid. Chef Tom Hurley (who would go on to greater fame and pomposity at his eponymous—and now-shuttered—restaurant) created one dish that typified the excess -- a phallic tower of puff pastry layered with foie gras, beef tenderloin and ahi tuna.”
Olea: Loved by many, hated by some. Again it was in the Bima space and again here is Butler's take on it: “a Mediterranean restaurant that Esquire magazine named as one of the 19 best new American restaurants, but was so mediocre that I suspect the magazine only went to 19 new restaurants that year.”
Little Wing Bakery: A wonderful sandwich and soup shop that is
much missed by locals.
Solo: A subterranean boite spot that made every dish look it was made on board the Titanic. Tasted like it too.
Acorn: The Pearl District outlet of the wonderfully quirky Half and Half, but only half as quirky as the more centrally located original.
Manzana: Killer all-Sunday happy hour did not extend to the rest of the week at this very corporate establishment popular with out-of-towners who didn’t know there were much better restaurant choices right around the corner.
Palomino's: Same spot as Manzana, same gimmicky service and food.
Holden's Bistro: A wonderful neighborhood restaurant that started strong (and kept alive the Bima burger long after Bima had closed) but sort of disappeared into nothingness toward the end.
Bay 13: Raw fish may’ve have been on the menu, but this place was more about fishing for drinks and a late-night hookup than anything else.