Last summer, chefs Thomas Dunklin and Kyle Rourke kicked off Pelican's Waiting Room, an homage to fried chicken, oysters, and champagne in the form of a pop-up. Now, they've found a brick-and-mortar home in the former Peddler and Pen Tavern (and the Huckleberry Pub before that—) on NW Kearney, just off NW 23rd Avenue. Dunklin tells Eater Pelican's Waiting Room will officially throw open the doors Tuesday, March 22, to serve dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
"It's all about having fun and getting back to our roots," Dunklin tells Eater, and the backbone at Pelican's Waiting Room's will be Southern hospitality, Northwest produce, and Southern cooking techniques—explicitly smothering and slow cooking.
Add to this on-tap cocktails by bartender Joe Davis (Three Degrees); Northwest beers and ciders; and local sparkling wines (as well as Miller High Life, the champagne of beers), and Pelican's Waiting Room will be a small plates restaurant "without the stuffiness."
Dunklin is originally from New Orleans, where he cooked at Emeril Legasse's Delmonico. He came to Portland after landing a job at Red Star Tavern, and there, he met Rourke.
Currently, Dunklin and Rourke are remodeling the interior, and they strongly appreciate all of the restaurants that have called the old Victorian residence their home. "I remember when it was the Huckleberry Pub and the Laurelwood Public House," says Dunklin. "We might put a Laurelwood beer on tap in honor of it."