As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group seven questions running the gamut from best dining neighborhood of the year to top restaurant newcomers, and we'll be rolling out their expert opinions all week long. Responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Readers, please share your survey answers in the comments.
Q. What was the saddest Portland closure of 2016?
Michael Russell, The Oregonian’s food reporter and critic
There’s only one answer. Veritable Quandary wasn’t just an after-work hangout for prosecutors, city officials, and the occasional eavesdropping journalist: It was a 45-year-old landmark. Built inside a tidy, century-old brick building at the base of the Hawthorne Bridge, with a pleasant patio and cherished bar, Denny King’s pride and joy was one of Portland’s few remaining restaurants that actually felt old. I’m glad the staff landed safely at Q Restaurant, but the VQ had the kind of history and charm that help define the character of a city. That can’t be recreated overnight.
Gary Okazaki, professional glutton (aka Gary the Foodie)
Muselet: Ron Acierto was such a genial and generous host and owner. Greg Zanotti created some memorable food. Only Ron and Greg could entice me to go all the way across town to South Waterfront.
Michael Zusman, cookbook author, restaurant critic (and judge)
Smallwares by a long margin. Others: Blueplate, Tom's 1st Avenue Bento, Sen Yai.
Andrea Damewood, restaurant critic, Portland Mercury
I'm not mourning any closure too hard, to be honest. I'm sad for passionate chefs having to close their restaurants, but the ones that closed this year weren't the ones I was going to often, if ever. Still miss All-Way Burger though.
Mike Thelin, co-founder of Feast Portland
Veritable Quandary without a doubt. Portland isn't much for nostalgia, and the city's list of institutions is short. But this was one of them, and it's sad to see VQ gone.
Andrea Slonecker, food stylist, cookbook writer, and recipe editor for Kinfolk Magazine
Alexis. RIP flaming saganaki and funky Greek wines.