Sok Sab Bai, Portland's first exclusively Cambodian food cart-turned-restaurant, closed its doors on Wednesday Feb. 18. Chef-owner Nyno Thol says the lease was up and he was ready to move on from the space, which he has occupied since 2007 when it was his sushi spot, Bara Sushi.
"We're selling the restaurant," says Thol. "Not the name, but the equipment. There's a lady from Florida that's supposed to come and take it. We'll open the cart and hopefully get it running in the next two months."
When Thol launched the Sok Sab Bai cart in the fall of 2011, he drew raves for his pork belly buns, caramelized chicken wings, and soup specials. In April of 2013, with two more years still on his lease at 2625 SE 21st Ave., he decided to consolidate his two businesses and turn the sushi joint into a brick-and-mortar version of the cart, complete with deep purple walls and floor cushion seating. "Because we were still on our lease, we had to stay," he says.
Although his website says to look for the new incarnation of the cart this summer, Thol says he's aiming to have it back on the scene in April.