After a year and a half of slinging some of Portland's best layer cakes, flaky crostatas, ganache-topped brownies and moist, crumbly scones, Kir Jensen is getting off the treadmill that is The Sugar Cube's retail shop and moving on to new adventures.
"I'm closing the shop at the end of the week," she says. "I'm not selling the business, just the location to some really fantastic people who I absolutely adore. I can't wait to see them thrive."
Over the past eight years, Jensen has grown The Sugar Cube from one of Portland's best-known and most-beloved food carts into a serious dessert destination. She was one of the first in town to put a chef-driven take on cart food, turning out a restaurant-worthy lineup of desserts from an 8-foot by 12-foot kitchen. When she opened her brick-and-mortar cafe on NE Alberta in September 2013, the bigger space gave her the room to expand the menu into breakfast territory, and add large-format desserts like towering layer cakes.
"People got to see a broader expanse of what I can do," she says. "It was an amazing learning experience. It's bittersweet to part with the shop. I loved sharing it with my customers and supporters, and I've developed so many amazing friendships because of it. I'll definitely miss that. But I'm excited about new opportunities."
As for what those opportunities are, she's not ready to go deep into details, but she hints that she's been inspired to follow a "higher calling."
"With the new Oregon laws it's my chance to change gears," she says. "I've done a lot in the last eight years with The Sugar Cube. It's evolved, and it's still evolving. I've got lots of creative energy, and I'm going to roll the dice on some new opportunities."
But first she plans to take a breather and travel for a few weeks, visiting family and recharging her batteries before starting The Sugar Cube's next chapter. If you want one last treat, or three, before she goes on hiatus, the shop will be open regular hours this week from Wednesday until Sunday, May 3. But she's adamant that her sugar-spun goodness will return. In fact, she says she's hoping to do dessert pop-ups with chefs around town.
As for the shop's new owners, Jensen says they'll make their own announcement soon, but she does say they're "dear friends."
"I'm really excited for these people to be taking over the space. I know they're going to love it as much as I did."