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Portland's Most Anticipated Spring Restaurant Openings

At this point, Portland's restaurant scene is pretty much stuck in turbo mode. Not that we're complaining. It seems every week there's news of local talents launching new ventures — and they all sound really damn good.

We've been tracking the latest news in restaurant openings, and gathered them up so you can start your meal planning accordingly. Here now, a look at some of the major projects planning to open between now and summer. Get ready for an onslaught of wood fire and ramen — and be prepared to make the Central Eastside Industrial District your second home.

1) Bang Bang

Location: 4727 NE Fremont Ave. (Beaumont)

Team: Chef Adam Kaplan, Aalto Lounge owners Alex and Kate Wood

Projected opening: Early February

The Beaumont neighborhood is getting a late-night Thai izakaya of sorts from the duo behind Aalto Lounge and a former Genoa chef. Bang Bang will serve up composed rice bowls topped with made-from-scratch Thai curries, plus Southeast-Asian-inspired salads, wings, skewers, and drinking snacks until 2 a.m. on weekends.

2) Beer-Focused Farm-to-Table Restaurant (name TBD)

Location: SE 7th Avenue and Yamhill Street (Central Industrial Eastside)

Team: Scott Lawrence (Breakside Brewery), chef Paul Kasten (Wildwood), Mike Wright (The Commons Brewery), and Brian Carrick.

Projected opening: Late spring

Award-winning, boundary-breaking Breakside Brewery is pretty much always full of surprises, which means it should come as no surprise to hear owner Scott Lawrence say his next venture is "an ambitious food and drink project with a lot of fire." He recently took over a huge building with 45-foot ceilings and rolling glass garage doors, and brought together a dream team to launch a beer-centric farm-to-table restaurant. Former Wildwood sous chef Paul Kasten, who's carved out a niche as a beer-pairing chef, will lead the kitchen. Expect wood-fired cooking, whole-animal butchery, and, of course, lots of great beer. The building is just a block from The Commons' soon-to-open new brewery digs, and they'll also be getting in on the action. Lawrence says, "We wanted a high-end yet casual-fun space that puts as much emphasis on beer as it does on its eats."

3) Burrasca

Location: Still TBD

Team: Chef Paolo Calamai and his wife Elizabeth Petrosian

Projected opening: May

Florentine chef Paolo Calamai's authentic, deeply flavorful bowls of ribolitta, tagliatelle, and squid inzimino made his SE 28th Ave. food cart one of the top eateries in town. But he closed up shop at the end of the year to focus on launching a full-service Tuscan restaurant. They haven't picked a location yet, and a Kickstarter is in the works, but you can expect even more Tuscan dishes, including pastas, housemade sausages and desserts.

4) Chizu

Location: 1126 SW Alder St. (West End)

Team: Steve Jones of Cheesebar

Projected opening: Early February

Portland's favorite cheesemonger is giving cheese plates the sushi bar treatment. His tiny 450-square-foot cafe next to Multnomah Whiskey Library, will be styled like a sushi bar with cheese behind glass along the bar, and sushi-style score card from which to tick off your order. Or you can let the experts do the work and order your cheese plate omakase style. There will be accompaniments like pickles, compotes and cured meats, and though the space is too small for taps, he'll have a tight selection of cheese-friendly beer, wine, cider, and sake by the bottle and glass.

5) Clutch Sausagery

Locations: Timberland Town Center in Beaverton; PDX Airport

Team: Ken Norris, formerly of Riffle NW

Projected opening: Early February

Sausages get a chef-y take at Clutch. Ken Norris, whose kitchen pedigree includes upscale Riffle NW and fine-dining Daniel in NYC, is reimaging the humble hot dog. Think smoked-lamb sausages topped with crispy chickpeas, hummus, and feta, and pork linguisa sausages served with bacon jam, cheddar, and caramel corn.

6) Ham Bar (name still TBD)

Location: 232 NW 12th Ave. (Pearl)

Team: Cathy Whims, Ryan Magarian, Kurt Huffman

Projected opening: March

The trio behind Oven & Shaker in the Pearl are teaming up again with a ham-focused cocktail bar just around the corner. Chef Cathy Whims will curate half a dozen hams from all over the world, which will be hand-sliced to order and served with wide-ranging accompaniments, including Southern staples like collard greens, pimiento cheese and biscuits, as well as Spanish bocadillos. Magarian's drink menu will focus on spirits and cocktails that complement the ham.

7) Holdfast Dining

Location: 537 SE Ash St. (Central Eastside Industrial)

Team: Chefs Will Preisch (formerly of Bent Brick) and Joel Stocks

Projected opening: February

For the past year and a half, the Holdfast Dining duo has hosted their elegantly composed yet completely approachable nine-course dinners out of KitchenCru, Downtown's communal cooking space. But soon they'll be taking over the front room of Fausse Piste winery, which formerly housed Sauvage wine bar. They'll expand their hours from three nights a week to four, with a 6-course option on Thursdays for $65.

8) Kukai

Location: Timberland Town Center in Beaverton.

Team: Japanese ramen chain Kukai

Projected opening: April

Ramen heads are eagerly awaiting the first Oregon outpost of the Japan-based Kukai Ramen & Izakaya franchise. It's only the third U.S. location — the other two are in Seattle and Bellevue — and the 60-seat restaurant will feature the same menu as those popular locations. Ramens will feature noodles from Sun Noodle Co. and there will be rice bowls and small plates like octopus dumplings, potato croquettes, and onigiri.

9) The Loyal Legion

Location: SE 6th and Alder (Central Eastside Industrial)

Team: Kurt Huffman, Alex and Chris Briggs

Projected opening: April

Kurt Huffman of ChefStable is turning the ground floor of the former Portland Police Athletic Association building into a 120-seat beer hall with 99 taps dedicated only to Oregon beers, including some on cask, nitro, or served at extra-cool temperatures. The menu will feature sausages from Olympic Provisions, including some varieties created specifically for the restaurant. A vegan option is in the works. Breads and pretzels will come from Philippe's Bread, another Chefstable project.

10) Moon Pizza

Location: Southeast 20th Avenue and Powell Boulevard.

Team: Tommy Habetz of Bunk and Brandon Smyth of Water Avenue Coffee

Projected opening: Some time this winter

Bunk's Tommy Habetz is bucking the wood-fired trend. He wants foldable, large-format, East Coast style pizzas, so he's taking matters into his own hands and opening the pizza place he craves. The 18-inch pies will be available whole or by the slice, and you can expect seasonal toppings and farmers market vegetables. Water Avenue Coffee alum Brandon Smyth will run both the front-of-house and the housemade ice cream program.

11) Muselet

Location: 3730 S.W. Bond Ave. (South Waterfront)

Team: Owner Ron Acierto and chef William Harper

Projected opening: February

Owner Ron Acierto is a front-of-the-house veteran, having served as general manager and wine steward at several upscale restaurants in the area, including Bluehour, Lucier, Departure, and Jory at Newberg's The Allison Inn. Chef William Harper, former sous chef of Noisette, was more recently one half of the duo behind Ippai's kaiseki-style pop-up. And this power-packed duo is aiming to recharge the South Waterfront with an upscale restaurant focused on French technique, international inspiration, and wine pairings that emphasize local wines and French grower Champagnes. Also on the agenda: Champagne brunch, a full bar, patio seating, and a fromagerie of local artisan cheeses.

12) Noraneko

Location: 1430 SE Water Ave. (Central Eastside Industrial)

Team: Gabe Rosen and Kina Voelz of Biwa.

Projected opening: Some time this winter

SE's seven-year-old Japanese restaurant Biwa is beloved for many things, and at the top of the list is its deliciously authentic ramen. Soon, owners Rose and Voelz will unleash Noraneko, a 30-seat restaurant completely dedicated to their ramen, including a vegetarian version "that's actually delicious," plus a smattering of other snacky Biwa staples like kara-age and gyoza.

13) P.R.E.A.M.

Location: 2133 SE 11th Ave., in the space formerly occupied by Tennessee Red's.

Team: Chef Nick Ford and bartender Brandon Gomez.

Projected opening: Early 2015

The former Ned Ludd cook and bartender who created the hip-hop-fueled, Monday night pizza dinners dubbed P.R.E.A.M.  are getting a space of their own with the help of ChefStable. They're transforming the former Tennessee Red's space into an " urban, high-energy, neighborhood spot." You can expect loud music, a bigger bar, a few pastas, and a custom-built wood-fired oven made by Gianni Acunto of Naples.

14) Purrington's Cat Lounge

Location: 3529 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Team: Kristen and Sergio Castillo

Opening: January 24

Sure the café has pastries from Fleur de Lis, coffee from Extracto, and tea from The Jasmine Pearl. There are even meat and cheese plates, deviled eggs, beer, wine, and weekend "Meowmosas." But the main draw at Purrington's are the kitties, which you can watch gamboling in the "cat lounge" next door while you're seated in front of the large window inside the café. Better yet, pony up the $8 cover charge and bring your drinks and snacks into the lounge so you can hang with the kitties. Reservations for the lounge are already open.

15) Renata

Location: 626 SE 7th Ave. (Central Eastside Industrial District)

Team: Nick and Sandra Arnerich; chef Matthew Sigler

Projected opening: April or May

It's already about six months overdue and construction has only really just begun, but that hasn't seemed to dampen anyone's excitement about this Italian-focused, wood-fired venture. Owner Nick Arnerich is a FOH alum of the French Laundry. Chef Matthew Sigler has a well-suited pedigree after time spent at top Italian restaurants in Chicago and San Francisco, including Flour & Water. Expect dishes like grilled steaks, whole fish, and handmade pastas. The restaurant shares space with Ancient Heritage Dairy, which just opened its urban creamery, and will have a small cheese counter/retail shop.

16) Revolution Hall

Location: 531 SE 14th Ave., in the former Washington High School building (Central Eastside Industrial)

Team: Jim Brunberg and Kevin Cradock of Mississippi Studios, Mark Adler of Aladdin Theater.

Opening: Feb. 12, 2015

The high school's old auditorium has been converted into an 850-seat theater, bridging the gap between small venues like the Aladdin, and large concert halls like the Schnitz. To go along with it are two full-service bars: Martha's, which is upstairs in the venue, and Great Meadows, which is open to the public and also serves as a daytime café and market with an outdoor patio adjacent to the field/dog park.

17) Shift Drinks

Location: 1200 SW Morrison St. (West End)

Team: Sommelier Anthony Garcia and bartender Alise Moffatt

Projected opening: Early 2015

The old Terminal Sales Building is being transformed into an 80-seat cocktail and wine bar, thanks to Multnomah Whiskey Library's sommelier Anthony Garcia and bartender Alise Moffatt, who has tended bar at Rontoms, House Spirits, and Angel Face. They've removed the false ceiling to reveal the Art Deco tops of the columns, and the space will have an upper deck that will look out onto the street.

18) Smokehouse Tavern

Location: 1401 SE Morrison St., Ste. 117 (Buckman)

Team: Chef B.J. Smith, designer Michelle Lesniak, Andrew Hansen

Projected opening: March 2015

BJ Smith, chef-owner of Smokehouse 21 barbecue joint on NW 21st, has taken over the old Lightbar space near Nostrana to open a 55-seat tavern. The expanded kitchen means Smith can expand the menu. There will be a deep fryer for things like pulled pork poutine with smoked cheese curds. A butchering area will allow Smith to order a whole animal each week and break it down for nose-to-tail specials. And the weekend brunch will offer dishes like brisket benedicts, pulled pork hash, and shrimp 'n' grits. The full menu will be available until closing at midnight.

19) Tastebud (name TBD)

Location: 7783 SW Capitol Highway (Multnomah Village)

Team: Owner Mark Doxtader and chef Jason Barwikowski

Projected opening: March

When Mark Doxtader opens the second incarnation of his wood-fired Tastebud restaurant (the name of which is still TBD) he's not the one who will be behind the wood oven. Instead he tapped Jason Barwikowski, who is an old-hand at live-fire cooking after spending time in the Tastebud and Ned Ludd kitchens in preparation for his nearly three-year stint manning the Josper oven at The Woodsman Tavern. Menu details are scarce so far, but with Barwikowski at the helm, you can expect rustic-chic dishes with inventive combinations and lots of seasonal vegetables.

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