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Opening Report: El Gallo Taqueria Debuts; Garden Bar Opens Second Location

Rounding up February's restaurant openings.


1) WOODSTOCK — Sustainability minded El Gallo Taqueria made the leap from five-year-old food cart to brick-and-mortar on  Feb. 21, and with the new space comes a new menu. The tight selection of tacos (with housemade corn tortillas) and burritos has expanded to include several more options of each, plus Native American-style fry bread, sides like cactus slaw, and tres leches cake for dessert. To drink, there's always a local beer on draft and Mexican beers in bottles and cans. Chef/owner Jake Brown hopes to get a full liquor license by summer for margaritas. Status: Certified open. 4422 S.E. Woodstock Blvd., Portland

2) SOUTHEAST — On Feb. 12, after months of popping up in the KitchenCru event space, chefs Will Preisch and Joel Stocks of Holdfast Dining served their first dinner in their new home in the former Sauvage space at Fausse Piste urban winery. The multi-course, ticket-only dinners are offered Fridays through Sundays, with a few less-expensive Thursday nights thrown in the mix. They also have a series of monthly collaborative dinners planned, including one with Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in March, and Jose Chesa of Ataula in April. Status: Certified open. 537 SE Ash St., Portland

Dina Avila

3) OLD TOWN On Feb. 9, Garden Bar, the locally owned salad bar on steroids, expanded from its perch in the Pearl District to a second location in Old Town. The brainchild of Christopher Hanford (Davis Street Tavern and Jamison), it offers a big selection of healthy but chef-y mix-and-match salads and fresh juices. Open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., it's targeted to the area's burgeoning office worker crowd, and offers online ordering with specific pick-up times, so you can truly grab and go. A third location is already in the planning stages downtown at 510 S.W. Third Ave. Status: Certified open. 135 N.W. Broadway, Portland

4) 'BURBS — Chef Ken Norris has parlayed his fine dining background into Clutch Prime Sausagery, the "haute" dog shop he opened Feb. 7 in the Timberland Town Center in the Cedar Mill area. There, you'll essentially find full entrees in hot dog form, like the Hot Smoked Rib, which features a sausage made of smoky pork, topped with pork rinds, slaw and smoked habanero barbecue sauce. As befits a chef-y hot dog joint, the sides are a trio of fancy salads. Status: Certified open. 230 NW Lost Springs Terrace #22, Portland

5) BEAUMONT — Chef Adam Kaplan, along with Aalto Lounge owners Kate and Alex Wood, unleashed Bang Bang's winning trifecta of housemade Thai curries, drinking snacks, and craft cocktails on Feb. 5. The menu is built on booze-friendly snacks like chicken wings and skewers, all with a Southeast Asian spin, plus made-from-scratch curries served over composed bowls of rice, vegetables, and proteins like cold-smoked beef tongue, grilled octopus, or house-made rau ram sausage. After 10 p.m., the late-night menu kicks in with curry fries and sandwiches. Status: Certified open. 4727 NE Fremont St., Portland

Dina Avila

6) CENTRAL EASTSIDE —  Nate Higgins opened his third Kure Juice Bar on Feb. 2, bringing his fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, acai bowls, and energy bars to the SE Industrial waterfront area, just a quick jaunt off the Eastbank Esplanade bike/pedestrian path. He's already launched an online mobile ordering app, and in the near future all locations will have an expanded menu that includes salads, wraps, and desserts like cashew milk gelato. Come spring, he'll open a flagship in the West End. Status: Certified open. 77 SE Yamhill Ave., Portland

Kure Juice Bar/Instagram