January was a grim month for Portland's restaurant scene, as closings, both high- and low-profile, outpaced the month's openings. Before January's final day, Pastini Pastaria closed is location on NW 23rd Avenue, and Remedy Wine Bar, citing an increase in crime near its location on the north park blocks, likewise followed suit. If that weren't bad enough, Din Din Supper Club and Detour Cafe both announced February closures, and the folks behind the 45-year-old Veritable Quandary said they'd shutter later-summer 2016. And the owners of Le Vieux indicated that, indeed, their restaurant is on the market.
But it wasn't all doom and gloom, because January saw the rise of Jose Chesa and Cristina Báez's new xurreria, 180, and the return of Cana Flug's Besaw's. Hopefully that will you get y'all through the next month.
DOWNTOWN—In mid-January, the fast-casual, build-your-own-salad restaurant, Garden Bar Salad Co., opened its third location—this one across the street from the Keller Fountain at 100 SW Market Street. This new spot brings Ana Chaud and Christopher Handford's salad restaurants to three, but there are plans in place for more, including two that are tentatively scheduled to open in mid-February and mid-March.
NORTHEAST—The first restaurant to open in 2016 was the jewel box-sized Pocket Pub, which on January 4 flung open its doors at 2719 NE 7th Avenue. Owners Kara Lammerman and Jennifer Cale brought on Higgins alum Tim Alves to run the kitchen, which serves salads, bread sticks, meatballs, Hot Pockets, and around eight 12-inch pizzas at any one time. Lammerman says she sees Pocket Pub as the kind of "neighborhood pub where people can come to once or twice a week."
NORTHEAST—We're all still waiting for the final details on Chesa, the new restaurant by the team behind Ataula, but owners Jose Chesa and Cristina Báez (along with business partner David Martin) did open the Chesa-adjacent 180—their new Spanish xurro, drinking chocolate and coffee shop—at 2218 NE Broadway on January 29. The new 12-seat space will be open daily, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
NORTHWEST—The Pearl's gourmet grocery World Foods and Washington's awarded Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. have teamed up to open Pilcrow, a 13-seat coffee, wine, and beer bar located inside World Foods at 830 NW Everett St. The shop will keep long hours, too: It's open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. So what, exactly, is a Pilcrow? It's one of these, ¶, which typeface nerds will recognize as the symbol indicating the beginning of a new paragraph.
NORTHWEST—After an eight-month hiatus that involved broken-down lease negotiations and a subsequent lawsuit over brand identity, Cana Flug's Besaw's is once again back in business. It opened officially at 1545 NW 21st Avenue on January 27. If you were a regular of Besaw's or Wildwood, which Flug used to manage, expect to see familiar faces, including former Wildwood chef Dustin Clark, who'll rule the pots and pans, putting out revamped Besaw's classics alongside future ones, like breakfast paella and waffle-crusted chicken wings. The restaurant will be open seven days a week, serving brunch, lunch and dinner. Note that it will close each day from 3 to 5 p.m. to get the kitchen ready for dinner service.