One of Portland's top falafel carts is going brick-and-mortar. But in a small-ish way. ChickpeaDX will be one of the food tenants going into the new Zipper micro-restaurant project currently under construction on NE Sandy Boulevard, just blocks from The Ocean, which was Guerrilla Development's first foray into the unique communal restaurant model.
"The core of the menu will be the same," says owner Yair Maidan. "The falafel will be the center of the concept, but I'm definitely looking to expand a bit with more local and season vegetables. We'll have a bigger kitchen and more facilities to do more side dishes. My idea is to have three to four different sides so you can mix and match. We'll also have a couple dips so you can build your own mezze-ish platter as you pick different components."
His 500-square foot space will have a few seats, but the cool thing about the Zipper is it has communal seating areas, like a deluxe food cart pod that's enclosed, or like a mall food court but without the icky mall and bad food. "There's a big atrium of sorts with about 1000 square feet of seating," says Maidan. "In the summer, there's a patio with fire pits and seating outside. So you can go in and get falafel while your friend gets pizza and still sit together." Other food tenants include New Orleans po' boy shop Bywater Grocery, a pizza place, Seven Virtues Coffee Roasters, and Jason Myers of Downtown's Vietnamese/Southeast Asian food cart Rua will be moving in as well.
Maidan says he'll continue to focus on lunch and stay open until the early evening, but there's a chance he might expand his hours for the late-night drinking crowd. "I know that there will be a bar that will have a full liquor license, so if the bar scene takes off and there's customers, then we'll do it."
Each restaurant can have its own beer and wine license, which Maidan fully intends to pursue in order to offer wine, beer and cider in cans and bottles, plus one each on tap. "I think cider is a big thing locally. I want to push cider. I also plan to do some housemade sodas and some low-alcohol cocktails." (Think Aperol Spritz.)
Maidan says he's been told construction on the Zipper will be completed in March, at which point he and other tenants can begin the build-out of their own spaces. He hopes to open ChickpeaDX by May.