Hold onto your forks for this one: Nationally recognized Portland chef Jenn Louis tells Eater she will close Lincoln for good on March 18. But Louis isn’t going anywhere: She will light the burners at Ray, a new Israeli-inspired restaurant in the same North Williams Avenue space, on March 24.
"I want Ray to offer a warm, welcoming, and convivial culinary experience,” says Louis. “It's this ethos around dining and sharing meals which made me fall in love with the culture and cuisine of Israel.”
Louis worked on a kibbutz, or community farm, in Israel after college, and speaking with Eater last year, she said it revealed the many cultural influences in Israeli cuisine. At the time, Louis had planned on opening an Israeli-inspired restaurant in Los Angeles, but says she wanted to keep her focus on Portland. That project has since been scrapped.
A few of Ray’s dishes, which will walk the line between traditional and modern, have been confirmed, including flatbread (lamuchan) with braised lamb and whole chicken legs with hawaij, potatoes, and chilies. Plus, Louis promises “lots of vegetables."
Louis opened Lincoln — her flagship restaurant — in 2008, four years before Food & Wine Magazine named her Chef of the Year. She went on to receive two James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef Northwest, and made several television appearances, including one on Top Chef Masters. Louis opened Sunshine Tavern in 2011 and recently sold the restaurant. It appears the high-profile chef is recalibrating and prepared to take her cooking style into new territory.