The jazzy, Murakami-themed izakaya pop-up from the folks behind Nodoguro is opening its own restaurant, Portland Monthly first reported. Peter Cat will open next door to the high-end omakase restaurant, serving healthy Japanese cafe fare during the day, before transitioning into the izakaya-style jazz record bar in the early evening.
Nodoguro owners Elena Roadhouse and chef Ryan Roadhouse are planning to take over the former Accanto space, transforming the Italian restaurant into a spot for Japanese breakfast and izakaya. In the morning, the space will be Tonari, a cafe inspired by blue zones, or the diets eaten in the healthiest parts of the world. Guests will find various a la carte meats and proteins, fermented dishes, and root vegetable sides like sweet potatoes or Japanese yams, meant to be built into a larger meal alongside coffee and tofu smoothies. “When you talk about a place that’s healthy, oftentimes that’s not the most exciting thing to say — we think salads, we think maybe gluten-free,” the chef says. “We’re thinking more delicious, balanced kinds of things.” The Roadhouses hope to emulate Japanese coffee culture, as well, either importing their favorite Japanese coffee or, more likely, developing a signature blend with a local roaster.
In the evenings, Tonari transforms into Peter Cat, which has developed its own following among Japanese culinary aficionados and jazz nerds alike. Inspired by author Haruki Murakami’s record bar of the same name, the Peter Cat pop-up is a ticketed affair, like dinner at the illustrious Nodoguro, albeit far cheaper than the restaurant’s other wagyu-beef-happy, 25-course meals. The restaurant will be a significant departure from the original pop-up: Peter Cat will accept no reservations, with an a la carte menu of dishes like tonguekatsu, a beef tongue prepared like the fried pork cutlet dish tonkatsu. The tonguekatsu is also available as a sandwich — this is the team’s first foray into sandwiches, and the menu should have a few, including a smoked mackerel. “I want it to be distinctive from the Nodoguro experience,” Ryan Roadhouse says. “There’s going to be a lot of shared ethos and craftwork, but I want it to feel different.” Some of the pop-up’s hits will travel to the new location, including the restaurant’s duck ham, which is cured sake leaves, smoked over cherrywood, and then cooked in duck fat.
To pull off the multi-purpose space, the couple will bring in Japanese architect, designer, and DJ Akihisa Furukawa to help with the space. The designer is already familiar with multi-purpose design — one of his projects in Japan is a bar-meets-amateur-cage-fighting spot called Tokyo Fight Club. Furukawa Elena Roadhouse usually handles the design elements for Nodoguro, and both people will tackle Tonari/Peter Cat. The new restaurant should open in late spring.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the name of the bar Akihisa Furukawa designed. It is Tokyo Fight Club, not Fight Club.
• Nodoguro [Official]
• Nodoguro’s New Project Is a Healthful Japanese Café by Day and a Vinyl Jazz Salon by Night [PoMo]
• Luxurious Sushi Counter Nodoguro Is Launching a Casual, Jazzy Izakaya Pop-Up [EPDX]
• Blue Zones [Official]