Tanuki, the Portland mainstay for inventive izakaya and eclectic sake, has officially closed. Late last year, owner Janis Martin talked about stepping away temporarily from Tanuki, attributing her decision to an adult-onset seafood allergy. Today, Martin revealed that the restaurant has closed permanently on the podcast Right at the Fork. “I just need to make myself more available at home, and running Tanuki is not that,” she said.
Tanuki opened in 2008, where it quickly became a cult classic for luges of bone marrow, oysters, and seafood-heavy small plates. Martin has known about her shellfish allergy for the entire lifespan of the bar, but conditions deteriorated to the point where she couldn’t continue to work in that kitchen. “You can’t breathe, you can’t sleep, it was actually giving me heart trouble,” she told host Chris Angelus. When her wife got sick, Martin decided she had different priorities outside of Tanuki. She’s now working at East Glisan Pizza.
To many, Tanuki is a quintessential Portland bar: exceptional food, cool and hard-to-find drinks, and most importantly, a borderline punk-rock attitude. “Tanuki isn’t your family-friendly sushi counter,” Eater contributor Pechluck Laskey said of the bar in her sake map. “This no-kids-allowed, dark, and devil-may-care spot sticks to unapologetic drinking food.” Guests signed on for a roller-coaster of an “omakase,” with a handful of mind-boggling snacks rolling out throughout a night of sake. Considering the bar’s identity, Martin’s goodbye to her regulars seems just right: “See you in hell, Tanuki people,” she said, with a laugh. “I will see you in hell.”
• Tanuki [Facebook]
• Closing announcement interview [Right at the Fork]
• Edgy Sake Bar Tanuki Is Going Through Some Serious Changes [EPDX]
• All previous Tanuki coverage [EPDX]