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After Nearly 25 Years, Tom’s First Avenue Bento Makes Way for New Courthouse

It closes the day before Thanksgiving

Tom’s First Avenue Bento
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Veritable Quandary’s carefully tended garden isn’t the only thing being leveled to make space for a new Multnomah County courthouse, being erected at the head of the Hawthorne Bridge downtown. Tom Hume, the longtime owner of Tom’s First Avenue Bento, tells Eater his beloved fast-casual Japanese lunch spot is closing its doors for good this Wednesday, November 23, after nearly 25 years.

Tom’s is a downtown lunch staple, serving seasonal bento, seafood plates, and karaage, while lines form out the door. But he seemed like an upbeat man at peace, when he spoke with Eater after yesterday’s service.

“What can you do,” he nonchalantly asked, considering the county’s courthouse plan. “They need the room. Plus, It’s been a good run.”

Hume says his staff has been with him for years — at least one of them’s been there since the beginning. He’ll miss working with them: They’re a well-oiled machine, regularly turning and burning 300 lunch orders on an afternoon basis. They’re like family to him, he said.

So are the customers who’ve stuck with him year after year, through the many culinary trends and tastes that’ve come and gone over the decades. If you want to swing by, say hi, and order one last plate of grilled salmon and brown rice, you have until 4 p.m., Wednesday, November 23.

Tom’s First Avenue Bento: 1236 SW First Ave., 503-241-3373