The renegade sandwich artists at PBJ’s Grilled, known for their unconventional takes on the peanut butter and jelly, will return to feed Portlanders after nearly a year-and-a-half-long absence. While its previous incarnation was a food cart, it’s coming back as a brick and mortar, with a larger menu and full bar. The new spot will be in the Pearl, with a hopeful opening date of early June, owner Keena Tallman told Eater.
The sandwich cart was last at Cartopia in SE Portland (the flagship cart in Northwest closed in 2014), where it served creative variations of PB&Js, such as the signature Hot Hood, with peanut butter, cherry jam, jalapeños, and bacon. Other sandwiches, like the Spicy Thai with crispy coconut shrimp, curry, peanut butter, and orange marmalade, pushed the definition of the PB&J to its limits, but the shop shuttered in 2016 when the pod refused to renew its lease.
Now, Tallman will be opening her store as a brick and mortar as she always intended. She described the new Pearl spot as a “unicorn of a location,” a 1,500 square foot spot that will fit around 40 guests comfortably inside, as well as another fifteen on the patio. “We wanted to represent the open feeling of the cart. It’s really important for us to be interactive,” Tallman told Eater.
The restaurant will also serve some of the specials from the Cartopia location full time, including a burger and a turkey sandwich with pecan butter, apple jam, and stuffing, called the Tryptophantastic. Rosemary onion rings with sage-garlic aioli and potato chips made fresh will also join the menu, and the place will sport a full bar with counter seating to enhance the open feel of the restaurant.
“We’re looking to build a good, positive, kick-ass place with great music and fresh, local ingredients made in house or from local artisans,” said Tallman. “We’re going to have a good, fun, awesome vibe.”
PBJ’s Grilled will be moving into 611 NW 13th Avenue and will have a full catering service in addition to the restaurant space.
- PBJ’s Grilled [Official]
- PBJ’s Grilled on Northwest 23rd Closes to Focus on Bigger Plans [EPDX]