After being forced to relocate their iconic food truck this spring, Brian and Lisa Wood got an opportunity they couldn't resist, and are turning Big Ass Sandwiches into a brick-and-mortar restaurant this June.
The couple just signed the lease on a space at 5663 NE Glisan (near Providence Portland Medical Center), which was until recently the second location of Tarboush Lebanese restaurant. The flagship location on SE Hawthorne is still open.
Wood says the restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and will definitely have the truck's core menu of truly big-ass, french-fry-stuffed hot sandwiches. But they'll be expanding the options to include cold deli sandwiches slathered in homemade sauces, "regular-ass" sandwiches with the fries on the side, and a selection of salads, soups, homemade mac and cheese, and their beloved meatball marinara served with pasta instead of tucked between bread.
To drink, they'll have wine and local craft beers on the six taps. "And we're working with a bartender friend who's helping us to create some signature cocktails," says Lisa. Although they're still finalizing plans and details, she says they'll likely offer happy hour and might even have monthly, ticketed, multi-course dinners on the weekend.
Decor-wise, Lisa says the old 36-seat Tarboush space is practically turn-key, and includes a bar and sidewalk seating. "The guy we're getting it from did a ton of work so it's really beautiful already. Mostly we're going to hang up six years of Big Ass Sandwich memorabilia to make it feel like ours."
Lisa says the cart was always intended as a launch pad for a restaurant, but they could never find the right location. "We've looked at a lot of spaces over the years, but you've got to have the right thing." This space practically fell in their laps.
"It couldn't be more perfect," she says. "And the history of that place is really great. One of the reasons why we added the cold sandwiches is because the place used to be something called the Sandwich Depot and Deli. It was really beloved in the neighborhood, so we feel honored to bring that back a little bit."
Big Ass Sandwiches (opening mid to late June): 5663 NE Glisan, Portland. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Monday.