Pollos a La Brasa El Inka, Gresham’s classic spot for the Peruvian chicken dish, has powered down the rotisserie. In a Facebook announcement last night, the almost-10-year-old restaurant posted two goodbye announcements: First in Spanish, followed by an English translation. “We never wanted to say goodbye, we did not dare, but it was to continue feeding the pain, stoking the fire that lacerated our wounds,” the English post reads. “‘Hope is the last thing that is lost,’ we used to repeat, disdaining the disappointment and disenchantment that daily experience showed us that we rowed against the current, behind a lost cause.” It’s a poetic read, but sadly, it doesn’t offer much in terms of explanation. Calls to the restaurant and Facebook messages to the restaurant’s page have gone unanswered.
The tiny storefront, tucked in a strip mall, has been a Portland-area favorite for professional diners around the city. In 2016, Willamette Week’s Brian Panganiban called the restaurant a stalwart, saying “El Inka still handily smacks down the new Peruvian entrants... so decisively it’s still well worth the drive to Gresham.” Portland Monthly called El Inka’s pollo a la brasa “rotisserie chicken at its finest.” Eater PDX contributor Krista Garcia placed the restaurant on her must-try Latin American map.
The last twelve months have been rough for Portland’s somewhat small Peruvian scene: La Leña, Paiche, and El Inka have all closed. Nick Zukin, owner of Portland taqueria Mi Mero Mole, bemoaned the closure on Twitter, saying “There is no justice in the world. This was really about the only rotisserie chicken in Portland I ate.”
• El Inka [Facebook]
• Where To Find Latin American Favorites in Portland and Beyond [EPDX]