Laura Rhoman, the former executive chef at Slappycakes, and her wife, Libby, are opening a Southern-focused breakfast and lunch spot called Muscadine in Northeast Portland this fall. Named after an indigenous Southern grape, the 40-seat restaurant is taking over the former Tiga space in the mini-complex that's home to Extracto Coffee, Pok Pok Noi and Grain & Gristle. The build-out has already begun, and the Rhomans plan to open the restaurant by mid-October.
Portland has a deep love of Southern food, and Rhoman has the chops to make Muscadine a fan favorite. An eighth-generation Mississippi native, she spent more than 10 years working with Southern-cuisine icons such as Scott Peacock, Steven Satterfield and Martha Hall Foose before relocating to the Northwest in 2006.
Rhoman is also an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and aims to be Portland's "food missionary" by making dishes that "travel the breadth of Southern cuisine, from Appalachia to Acadiana, the Carolina Lowlands to the Delta."
Half the menu will focus on classic "meat-and-three" dishes like fried chicken or catfish with ingredients that change seasonally. The other half will explore lesser-known regional specialties like frogmore stew, a South Carolina boil of shrimp, corn and andouille sausage, or cochon de lait, which Rhoman will reimagine as fritters of braised and smoked pork with pickled cabbage, crispy potatoes, Carolina Gold barbecue sauce, and a poached egg.
The Rhomans are transforming the space to give it a cozy, rustic, farmhouse vibe. But the couple says unexpected plumbing upgrades are eating away the budget, so they recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise additional funds. The campaign ends October 1.
Expected hours of operation: Wednesday through Monday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
· Muscadine [Official Site]
· All Plywood Report Coverage [EPDX]