The hip Chinatown hotel packed with restaurants and bars now has an opening date — or three. The Hoxton, a new Portland outpost of a London-based hotel chain, will open its doors to Portlanders November 12, soon to be followed by its restaurant and bars. La Neta, an all-day Mexican restaurant, will deliver churro waffles and tlacoyos on the ground floor the day the hotel opens. Conservatory-style rooftop bar Tope will hawk tacos and mezcal cocktails in a glistening white-and-gold dining room starting November 29. And beneath it all, the unnamed basement bar will start slinging revamped Chinese-American classics in a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge December 4. All three will serve diners in some of Portland’s coolest new interiors this year.
The Hoxton’s opening also serves as the grand return of Johnny Leach, formerly of the N. Williams Mexican restaurant Chalino. Leach will run each of the spaces with big-name restaurateur Joshua McFadden’s restaurant group, Submarine Hospitality. Those who don’t know Leach may recognize his pearly collection of past employers: The Oregon native spent years in big-deal New York kitchens like Momofuku Ko and Del Posto. Leach met McFadden while in New York, and for the four years Leach has been back, he and the Ava Gene’s chef-owner have talked about opening a seasonal Latin American restaurant — Leach’s grandfather is hispanic, and he grew up visiting him in Seattle for bowls of pozole. When The Hoxton reached out to McFadden about his restaurant group running the culinary program, he knew exactly who he wanted in the kitchens. Below, peer inside the team’s three new spots before they slowly open doors.
Sitting next to the foo dogs at the entrance to Chinatown, The Hoxton tempts passersby with windows showing off cozy couches and armchairs and a glistening bar. Step inside, and you may even forget it’s a hotel: Where the restaurant begins or ends is unclear, and that’s how the owners want it. Hoxton hotels around the world are fluid in their design structures, meaning the wishbone armchairs and teal booths of the restaurant gradually transition into small tables and upholstered seats where a guest could either tuck into enmoladas or curl up with a latte and a book. According to the team, La Neta diners can eat anywhere within the more cozy, cafe-style seating, or perhaps grab a drink from the nearby, teal-and-turquoise-tiled bar.
The fluidity of the space jives well with the creative energy of Leach, who moves seamlessly between traditional and Pacific Northwestern themes when designing his dishes. The menu is still under development at La Neta, but like at Chalino, Leach will pull ingredients from local farms and heritage producers to create highly seasonal, Mexican dishes: mushroom fundido, beef cheeks braised in adobo, apple salads with ancho chile.
As a hotel restaurant, La Neta will also have breakfast and lunch bites, from a pastry case full of conchas to build-your-own guacamole toasts with add-ons like escabeche and bacon. Even with the focus on seasonal ingredients, Leach is adamant that his food comes across as approachable, not gimmicky. He goes even more casual upstairs, at the ultra-cool bar with California-porch style.
The rooftop bar at The Hoxton is kind of an anti-Departure: Instead of futuristic vibes, Tope resembles something between your cool aunt’s greenhouse and some chic SoCal bar. Touches of gold and white tile brighten up the space, even when the windows reveal Oregon’s signature rainy-day grey. Tiny two-tops with ‘70s-adjacent upholstered armchairs are framed by various palms and wide-leafed greenery, all designed by local florist Solabee.
Like downstairs, the rooftop bar has various regions with distinct aesthetics. Toward the right side from the elevators is a wood-accented lounge with pine benches and wicker chairs, which shifts into the quartz bar and its hanging vines. Toward the small rooftop patio, a fireplace is surrounded by palm-frond-print-upholstered stools for communal taco snacking. The menu will be very focused on Mexico City street food, with six to eight rotating street tacos on house-made tortillas, pumpkin seed dip, and potato dorados. The bar program, run by Submarine Hospitality bar director Collin Nicholas, will focus on tequila and mezcal.
The Basement Bar
Deep below The Hoxton, an unnamed basement bar leaves behind the Mexico themes of the upstairs dining rooms in favor of a more neighborhood-appropriate schtick. Leach is borrowing from his years in David Chang’s empire to make updated versions of Mid-Century Chinese-American classics: smoked sweet-and-sour spare ribs, General Tso’s sweet potatoes, even chop suey. The bar itself isn’t as true to the culinary era, with decor falling somewhere between speakeasy and New England den. Like the main dining room, the walls are lined with local art, with intimate table lamps and mismatch print stools. The lighting and bar itself feels of another era, as if you’d expect the lights to flicker if you stare too long.
La Neta and The Hoxton open November 12, with the week of pre-opening events starting October 29. Stay tuned for more information about the menu, drink list, and more.
• The Hoxton [Official]
• Submarine Hospitality [Official]
• All previous Chalino coverage [EPDX]
• The Ava Gene’s Team Will Run a New Chinatown Hotel’s Food Program [EPDX]