The search is over for Ken and Jennifer Norris. According to Portland Monthly, the couple behind sustainable seafood concept Riffle NW — who moved to Portland in February 2011 with the goal of opening a seafood restaurant somewhere in the Northwest neighborhood — have inked a deal to take over the former 50 Plates spot in the Pearl. (50 Plates, a new-American restaurant owned by the JoPa Hospitality Group, shuttered in December of last year.)
Since arriving in Portland, the Norrises have cooked up preview Riffle dinners around town, including a well-received series at KitchenCru that kick-started early buzz (one of Norris' recipes was featured in the February 2012 issue of Food & Wine, an impressive accolade for a chef without a restaurant). And according to the PoMo article, the Norrises are bringing along a ringer to guide the restaurant's bar program, in the form of Beaker & Flask alum Dave Shenaut, who will work on "fish pairings made with white (unaged) spirits and house-made ice carved from 300-pound blocks of laboriously frozen, crystal-clear water."
50 Plates' 80-seat dining room will undergo a revamp, setting the projected opening date at May 2012. More information as it becomes available.
· Riffle NW [Official site]
· Riffle NW Hooks Pearl District Space [Eat Beat]
Image of 50 Plates courtesy Yelp