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Portland's 10 Most Anticipated Fall Openings

[Avila, EPDX]

As per usual, the coming of fall brings a flurry of major restaurant openings, and this autumn is absolutely the most exciting time to be a diner in Portland. And now, in chronological order of each spot's projected opening date, here's a guide to everything you need to know about the big fall openings this year.

imperialp150.jpg1) Downtown: Imperial
: 400 SW Broadway
Major Players: Vitaly Paley, Ben Bettinger, Brandon Wise
The Situation: After nearly 15 years of operating his NW restaurant Paley's Place (and a few rumors about a possible seafood restaurant), James Beard-winning chef Vitaly Paley finally opens his second establishment in Portland — in a high-profile downtown location. Imperial, located inside the Hotel Lucia, takes over the former Typhoon! space, giving it a complete makeover representative of its Pacific Northwest–inspired menu. Longtime Paley protege Ben Bettinger (the opening chef at Beaker & Flask) will oversee day-to-day operations in the 110-seat restaurant, which features a grill as its main dining room (and menu) focal point. Another recent Beaker alum, bartender Brandon Wise, will craft the cocktail menu.
Projected opening: September 12

kennyzukesdb.jpg2) N. Williams: Kenny & Zuke's Deli Bar
: 3901 N. Williams Ave.
Major Players: Ken Gordon, Jamal Hassan
The Situation: The Kenny & Zuke's brand will open its third location in the former Pix Patisserie space on N. Williams. And unlike the recently converted BagelWorks in NW, which highlights morning offerings — this location is created with an eye toward a convivial cocktail crowd. The K&Z Deli Bar promises service from breakfast to late-night, with new deli-inspired bar food (charcuterie plates, baked pretzels, poutine) and a cocktail list by current Ox barman Jamal Hassan.
Projected opening: September 12

ppenny150.jpg3) Downtown: Portland Penny Diner
: 400 SW Broadway
Major Players: Vitaly Paley, Ben Bettinger
The Situation: The casual complement to Vitaly Paley's Imperial concept in the Hotel Lucia, the daytime-only Portland Penny Diner serves primarily as a breakfast- and lunch counter for hotel guests and downtown workers, focusing on "Native American" flatbreads in a diner-like atmosphere. Construction begins immediately following Imperial's opening.
Projected opening: late September

pepel150.jpg4) Downtown: Pepe le Moko
: 1014 SW Stark St.
Major Players: Nate Tilden, Jeffrey Morgenthaler
The Situation: The hopping bar scene at downtown's Clyde Common will only become hipper with the debut of Pepe le Moko, a "speakeasy" set for a space underneath the Ace Hotel. Clyde/Olympic Provisions founder Nate Tilden is behind the Spanish-influenced menu (featuring anchovy, sardine, and meat bocadillos), with Clyde bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler crafting the cocktail menu.
Projected opening: late September

trigg150.jpg5) Northeast: Trigger
: 128 NE Russell St.
Major Players: Tommy Habetz, Nick Wood, Matt Brown, Kurt Huffman
The Situation: The long-rumored new location for Bunk Sandwiches becomes a reality — in the form of a "Bunk Goes Tex-Mex" concept in the basement of the Wonder Ballroom music venue. Earlier this summer, chef Tommy Habetz hilariously described the 30-seat concept as "authentic gay cowboy cuisine," with menu items like queso, brisket, and margaritas. ChefStable's Kurt Huffman is an investor.
Projected opening: October

southland150.jpg6) NW / Alphabet District: Southland Whiskey Kitchen
: 1422 NW 23rd Ave.
Major Players: Zak Melang, Nate Opper
The Situation: The Seattle-based restaurateurs behind the Casa del Matador chainlet (which has seven outposts in Portland and Seattle) will open a Southern "whiskey kitchen" in the same building that houses their NW tequila bar. A similar concept — dubbed the Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchen — debuted in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood in August, with a menu featuring Southern comfort-food favorites like fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and barbeque.
Projected opening: October

bluestarp150.jpg7) West End: Blue Star Donuts
: 430 SW 13th Ave.
Major Players: Micah Camden
The Situation: With a local burger empire firmly in his back pocket, Little Big Burger's Micah Camden (also of Yakuza and Boxer Sushi) will unveil another comfort-food concept created with the possibilities of expansion in mind. Camden's Blue Star Donuts, slated for the the West End, promises options like a brioche-yeast doughnut with a dark chocolate-amarenea cherry glaze and cardamom flakes.
Projected opening: mid-October

ava150.jpg8) Division/Clinton: Ava Genes
: 3377 SE Division St.
Major Players: Duane Sorenson, Joshua McFadden
The Situation: Less than a year after the auspicious debut of his first restaurant, the Woodsman Tavern, Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson will open a second restaurant on SE Division: the Italian-leaning Ava Genes, which takes over the space recently vacated by Lauro Kitchen. NYC transplant Joshua McFadden (an alum of Brooklyn's Frannys restaurant) will run the kitchen, offering a rustic Italian menu.
Projected opening: second week of October

punchp150.jpg9) Downtown: Punch Bowl Social
: 700 SW Fifth Ave.
Major Players: Robert Thompson
The Situation: Denver nightlife entrepreneur Robert Thompson brings his Punch Bowl Social concept — aka, a 32,000-square-food combination bowling alley, bar, lounge, and diner — to downtown's Pioneer Place Mall. The first PBC is scheduled to debut in Denver in late October, and early peeks at the design and menu promise increased vegan and locally sourced options for the Portland crowds.
Projected opening: late November

ravenrose150.jpg10) Downtown/SW: Raven & Rose
: 1331 SW Broadway
Major Players: David Padberg, John Gorham
The Situation: Right before the Labor Day weekend, news broke that the long-stewing restaurant slated for downtown's historic Ladd Carriage House would be a gastropub dubbed Raven & Rose — and that longtime Park Kitchen chef David Padberg would leave his post to run the spot's kitchen. Toro Bravo chef John Gorham is on-board as an independent consultant, and a teaser in the Oregonian suggests that "other well-known Portland restaurant names — including a GM and bar manager — could be on the way." Solid details are sketchy, but this one's shaping up to be a delicious surprise.
Projected opening: Holidays 2012

Also on tap: In NE's "micro-restaurant" Ocean complex, John and Caprial Pence hope to open their Asian chicken wing spot Basa Basa by September 15. On E. Burnside, the former Alder Pastry & Dessert space will soon be home to Levant, which is shooting for a mid-September debut, and Farmer's Market pie-maker Lauretta Jean's also aims for a September opening in the former Pix space on SE Division. Later this fall, the food cart formerly known as Kim Jong Grillin' will debut its brick-and-mortar restaurant, Bhap Sang PDX, also in Southeast.

Blue Star Donuts

1155 Southwest Morrison Street, , OR 97205 (503) 265-8410 Visit Website

Southland Whiskey Kitchen

1422 Northwest 23rd Avenue, , OR 97210 (503) 224-2668 Visit Website

Pépé le Moko

407 Southwest 10th Avenue, , OR 97205 (503) 546-8537 Visit Website


300 North College Street, , NC 28202 (704) 576-4879


128 NE Russell Street, Portland, OR 97212

Raven & Rose

1331 Southwest Broadway, , OR 97201 (503) 222-7673 Visit Website

Punch Bowl Social Food & Drink PDX

340 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97204 503-334-0360 Visit Website

Ava Gene's

3377 Southeast Division Street, , OR 97202 (971) 229-0571 Visit Website

Portland Penny Diner

410 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97204 503 228 7222