A semifinalist for Eater Young Guns 2016, chef Anh Luu has purchased the Kerns neighborhood’s Tapalaya from former owner Chantal Angot, according to a press release. Tapalaya’s name is a combination of “tapas” and “jambalaya,” and since opening on the popular stretch of NE 28th Avenue in 2008, it’s become known for its Portland-viral phorrito pop-ups, Cajun and Creole small plates, and live New Orleans music. Luu has been head chef of Tapalaya since 2013.
The Tapalaya team tells Eater it will be business as usual at the restaurant, which in fact means a continuation of its usual surprises. Luu was born in New Orleans to Vietnam War refugees, and she and her family came to Portland after the Katrina hurricane destroyed their home in 2005. The happy hour, dinner, and brunch menus often feature dishes combining Luu’s Vietnamese and New Orleans upbringing.
In the press release, Luu writes, “Chantal has been such an amazing and supportive owner all these years, giving me the platform to create dishes so personal to me and for that I’m very grateful. It’s an honor to carry this concept forward as both chef and owner.”