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Portland's First Navajo Taco Spot Shoots Downtown

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The fast-casual spot will even serve tequila-, mezcal-, and rye-based cocktails.

Picture of fry bread from Tocabe in Denver, since there's no fry bread in Portland yet to photograph.
Picture of fry bread from Tocabe in Denver, since there's no fry bread in Portland yet to photograph.
Flickr/Kate Ter Haar

Barlow/Picnic House owners Aaron and Jessica Grimmer are looking to add one more restaurant to their family: Bonanza will be a fast-casual restaurant, serving up Indian fry bread (a.k.a. Navajo tacos) in the new Melvin and Mark building at 2nd and Taylor Streets. Inspired by the southern Utah fair stalls of Jessica's childhood, the Grimmer's particular brand of fry bread will come with toppings like brisket, chipotle chicken, pulled pork, and fire-roasted peppers. "One should fill you up," Aaron Grimmer adds and each will cost around $10, including tip, in true fast-casual style. The traditional Navajo dish is still popular in pockets of the U.S., namely Colorado and the American Southwest, so the Grimmers hope to introduce the craveable fare to the uninitiated Pacific Northwest. Of course at Bonanza, it will be available in a gluten-free form as well.

You can check out an early sample menu, which details a few sides (mayo-slatered street corn, tortilla soup) and Southwestern themed desserts (dessert scones with buttermilk caramel, amaretto flan).  Customers will be able to order beer and wine from the same cash register as the food, and they can go up and order seconds at the bar. The Grimmers worked with Barlow consultant Tom Lindstedt to come up with a list of modern $9-10 cocktails that incorporate Southwestern spirits like tequila, mezcal, and rye. See the '51 Cadillac made with brandy, amaro, lime and mezcal and Vegas, a western spin on the martini.

As far as the decor goes, there will be an "Old West theme," but "we don't want to hit you over the head with it," explains Grimmer. Expect muted tones of turquoise and coral, a Native American pastoral mural done noir with neon and black and white tones, and a turquoise neon Bonanza sign in the window. The space will have a small open kitchen and room for about 60 people to sit comfortably. Hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thurdsay and until "a little later," like 1 a.m. or 2 a.m., on Fridays and Saturdays. Building permits were just issued, so if all goes to plan Bonanza should open around the end of August.

—Jonathan Hall and Carolyn Alburger


135 Southwest Taylor Street, Portland, OR 97204, USA