It's getting to be the time of year where the restaurant scene goes full-on bloom. And depending on permitting and final inspections, we should soon be frequenting a new Chinese joint, a fine-dining chef's counter with a plant-based menu, two very ambitiously designed sports bars with decidedly un-sports bar far, and no fewer than three new ChefStable projects, including Cathy Whims and Ryan Magarian's still unnamed Ham Bar, a 99-tap beer hall, and the opening of P.R.E.A.M., which will be this town's first hip-hop pizzeria.
Sharpen your forks and knives, Portland. You're about to get hungry.
1) Altabira and Citizen Baker
Location: 1021 NE Grand Ave. (Lloyd District)
Team: Chef David Machado
Projected opening: May
When the Hotel Eastlund opens in a couple of months, Portland restaurateur David Machado will oversee a pair of on-site properties. The first is Citizen Baker, a ground-floor cafe that will churn out hot breakfasts, soups, salads, and sandwiches for the Lloyd District's lunch and happy hour crowds. But the more ambitious project is Altabira, a sports bar with a rooftop deck that will focus on Oregon beer—expect a total of 16 taps—with the kind of eats for which sports bars aren't necessarily known. Think lamb shanks, Texas-style barbecue and gumbo.
Location: 1230 NW Hoyt St. (Pearl)
Team: Chef Francesco Inguaggiato
Projected opening: Mid-April
The old Fratelli space has sat dormant in the Pearl for the last couple of years, but all that is set to change come April, when Sicilian native Francesco Inguaggiato settles into the space and fires up the kitchen. Inguaggiato's bringing his Sicilian pedigree to keep Fratelli's Italian tradition going, with a focus on boldly flavored small plates like grilled octopus and caponata. Stay tuned for more details as they menu gets hammered out.
Location: 930 SE Sandy Blvd. (Central Eastside Industrial)
Team: John Janulis, Liam Duffy, Ben Hufford, Ian David, Clyde Wooten and Jacob Carey
Projected opening: Mid- to late-summer
The men who brought Portland the Sweet Hereafter, the Bye and Bye, Dig A Pony and Jackknife are reimagining what a sports bar should look and feel like. Imagine a high school basketball court with raised seating on either side of it, only swap out the bleachers for long arcing mahogany benches, and install a bar and additional seating where each hoop would go. Now imagine retractable screens hanging from the ceiling that show the games of your favorite teams. Lastly imagine that when the screens are rolled back up, the "court" becomes home to DJs, bands and Portlanders who just want to dance. In other words, when the game's on, it's all sports, but once it ends, you'd never even know that the place in which you were hanging out had anything to do with sports at all.
4) Farm Spirit
Location: 1414 SE Morrison St. (Central Eastside Industrial)
Team: Chef Aaron Adams
Projected opening: Mid-May
Aaron Adams, Portobello's former chef and owner, is picking up early on a couple of emerging trends: inviting guests to purchase dinner tickets online so that can enjoy intimate and sprawling multi-course meals gathered around a chef's counter. But Adams is doing something others are not: Instead of offering small plates showcasing the many ways a chef can prepare assorted meats, Adams' menu will be entirely plant-based. And he's determined to make the space a fine-dining destination—he could open Farm Spirits' doors as early as April, but he's holding off until May to make sure he and his team have every dish dialed all the way in.
5) Feisty Lamb
Location: 2625 SE 21st Ave.
Team: Top Chef Miami contestant Micah Edelstein
Projected opening: June
We don't yet know too much about Top Chef Miami contestant and restaurateur Micah Edelstein's new Portland brunch spot, because the South African native hasn't even moved to town yet. But that still hasn't deterred her from ambitiously aiming for a June opening date for the space most recently home to Sok Sab Bai. When Willamette Week reported earlier this month that Edelstein was coming via Miami, they pointed out her most recent menu included kangaroo carpaccio with rooibos-tea-smoked tomato oil. She told us to expect something similar: globally-inspired breakfast items served in a brunch spot that's both "cozy" and "quirky."
6) Ham Bar (name still TBD)
Location: 232 NW 12th Ave. (Pearl)
Team: Cathy Whims, Ryan Magarian, Kurt Huffman
Projected opening: Early-May
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.
- All Previous ChefStable Coverage [EPDX]
- All Previous Ryan Magarian Coverage [EPDX]
- All Previous Cathy Whims Coverage [EPDX]
7) Kung Pow
Location: 500 NW 21st Ave. (Alphabet District)
Team: Chef Henry Liu and Jin Wah's Vo Chien
Projected opening: May 1
Henry Liu, the chef and owner of Shan Dong, is close to opening Kung Pow, his new Alphabet District Szechuan-inspired restaurant in what was recently home to the Blue Olive. Liu says he's planning to bring over some of's Shan Dong most popular dishes, including handmade noodles, Shan Dong beef, and potstickers. But he'll be adding more appetizers and menu specials, like wontons in Szechuan chile oil, and marinated lamb served mu shu-style. And, he adds, he'll be brining the heat—lots of it. "I'm going to center my menu around the Szechuan chile pepper," he says. "With a name like Kung Pow, it would be weak sauce if I didn't." The restaurant will have a full cocktail bar complete with in-house infusions, and, to appeal to the the avenue's late-night crowds, will stay open until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.
8) The Loyal Legion
Location: SE 6th and Alder (Central Eastside Industrial)
Team: Kurt Huffman, Alex and Chris Briggs
Projected opening: June or July
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 Olympia 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.
Location: 3730 S.W. Bond Ave. (South Waterfront)
Team: Owner Ron Acierto and chef Greg Zanotti
Projected opening: Mid-April
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. And with the help of chef Greg Zanotti, formerly of Castagna, he aims to recharge the South Waterfront with an upscale restaurant focused on simple yet compelling seasonal dishes with 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.
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-May
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.
Location: 2850 SE Gladstone Street
Team: Rocio Meza of San Diego's Ponce's
Projected opening: May, tentatively
Rocio Meza's eponymous 65-seat Mexican still needs some new equipment, a little more construction and a new coat of pain, but she's still optimistic that she could have her kitchen up and running sometime in May. (Although she's cautious enough to say May-ish.) What should you expect? Mexican cuisine using family recipes nearly five decades old, courtesy of Ponce's, her family's popular San Diego landmark. However, Meza says, with Portland being Portland, we should expect to see a whole lot more vegetarian items to complement Ponce's tried and true menu.
12) Shift Drinks
Location: 1200 SW Morrison St. (West End)
Team: Sommelier Anthony Garcia and bartender Alise Moffatt
Projected opening: May 15
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.
13) Swift and Union
Location: 8103 N Denver Avenue
Team: Tabor Tavern's Ken "Zig" Naffziger and Kristen Siefkin
Projected opening: May or June
Lots of neighborhoods in town get lots of restaurant action—we're look at you North Williams and SE Division—but Portland has 95 neighborhoods, and this summer, one of them, Kenton, is getting a gastropub courtesy of Tabor Tavern's Ken "Zig" Naffziger and Kristen Siefkin. The idea is to create a true-blue neighborhood restaurant (the couple recently moved to the ‘hood), and the name proves it: Back in the day, the Union Meat Company and Swift & Company employed a lot of Kenton residents. So what should we expect? Tabor Tavern specialties like blue cheeseburgers with bacon jam, cauliflower-cheddar fritters with sriracha aioli and, naturally, plenty of beer, wine and cocktails to wash it all down. You should also expect it to be open daily for lunch and dinner, and on weekends, brunch.
14) Tastebud (name TBD)
Location: 7783 SW Capitol Highway (Multnomah Village)
Team: Owner Mark Doxtader and chef Jason Barwikowski
Projected opening: Summer
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.