The warm(ish) months in Portland will be huge for the city’s culinary scene. Knocking on every piece of wood and throwing salt over every shoulder, spring 2019 should be the home stretch for some of Portland’s most anticipated restaurants: Southern haven Yonder and Filipino cafe Magna. It’ll deliver two new Indonesian restaurants with the openings of Wajan and Gado Gado, and Portland’s Japanese restaurant scene will grow with a new hand roll counter and a jazzy izakaya. Nerds will dig the Portland area’s newest spots for gaming and hot dogs, from Smitty’s Original Coney Island in Vancouver to Retro Game Bar on MLK. And although this story focuses on bars, food carts, and restaurants, the city’s big-name openings will extend into the world of desserts, with the arrival of chickpea ice cream shop Little Bean and Las Vegas patisserie Jinju. Scroll down for all the gritty details.
Matt’s BBQ Tacos
The gist: The latest food cart from Matt Vicedomini, the pitmaster behind Matt’s BBQ and Eem, will combine his popular smoked meats with salsas and pickled onions, all served from the former Fried Egg I’m in Love cart on SE Hawthorne. The Oregonian just released the menu details for Matt’s BBQ Tacos, which will feature a number of tacos on house flour tortillas and corn tortillas from Vancouver’s Little Conejo. In the mornings, breakfast tacos start with eggs, potato, and cheddar, with add-ons like chopped brisket and sliced pork belly.
Anticipated opening date: March 8
Read more: Matt’s BBQ Is Opening a Taco Cart on SE Hawthorne [EPDX]
5 & Dime
The Gist: The newest addition to Foster-Powell, 5 & Dime comes from bartender Colin Carroll, whose charred-wood infused cocktails and clarified milk punches helped bring national attention to Trifecta Tavern. His new bar looks to be a more casual affair, with his signature creative cocktails as well as a menu of classics priced at $10 and under. The kitchen, shared with next door’s Atlas Pizza, will serve comfort bar food with the occasional twist. After wrapping up a few things, Carroll is getting ready to open his doors in March—stayed tuned for an inside look later this week.
Anticipated opening: Mid-March
Read more: Star Bartender Colin Carroll Is Opening a Bodega-Themed Bar in Foster-Powell [EPDX]
Yonder and Mae
The gist: Eater Young Gun Maya Lovelace will bring her pop-up Southern dinner series to a brand-new restaurant in Cully, with a bonus fried chicken counter sure to become a destination in its own right. Yonder will be Mae’s a la carte counterpart in the main restaurant space, with several varieties of fried chicken, iceberg salad with pickled-ramp-buttermilk-vinaigrette, and cornmeal-fried catfish; the several-course, family-style Southern Bacchanalia will roll into a back room at Lovelace’s home base. After more than a year of preparation, Lovelace feels safe saying the restaurant will open this month.
Anticipated opening date: March
Read more: Everything to Know About Yonder, the Fried Chicken Restaurant from Maya Lovelace [EPDX]
The Gist: The mind behind Multnomah Whiskey Library’s collection of spirits and Southeast Portland’s La Moule, Tommy Klus is opening his own cocktail bar Scotch Lodge in the space once home to Biwa. Craft cocktails, agave-spirits, and plenty of whiskey will arrive alongside progressive French cooking from Aaron Barnett, Klus’ collaborator at La Moule and chef of St. Jack. Scotch Lodge has been posting some Instagram “peaks” of the new tile work, showing off its earthy wood paneling and ocean-color accents.
Anticipated opening: April 1
Read more: A Portland Whiskey Maven Is Opening a Cocktail Bar in SE [EPDX]
The gist: Wajan, a casual Indonesian restaurant to open in Portland this year, will specialize in the cuisines of Jakarta, where chef and co-owner Feny Lim grew up. The restaurant will serve Indonesian classics like nasi goreng — fried rice — and nasi campur, a rice dish served with various condiments and vegetables meant to be mixed together. In particular, the chef is amped for her version of ayam goreng Kalasan, aka Indonesian fried chicken.
Anticipated opening date: Mid-March or April
Read more: Indonesian Fried Chicken Is Coming to East Burnside [EPDX]
Smitty’s Original Coney Island
The gist: When Top Chef alum BJ Smith transformed his Buckman barbecue spot into high-end Polish restaurant Delores, he did it in memory of his mother. Now, he’s doing it all again with his other barbecue restaurant, Smokehouse Provisions — the chef is taking the Vancouver space and transforming it into Smitty’s Original Coney Island, the restaurant his parents owned in South Bend, Indiana in the ‘80s. Smitty’s will be Delores’ casual counterpart, a family-friendly spot for tricked-out hot dogs and loaded sandwiches, complete with an arcade and old-school cocktails. If it goes as well as Delores, it’s sure to be a hit.
Anticipated opening date: April 1
Read more: Smokehouse Provisions Will Become a Coney Island Hot Dog Spot in Vancouver [EPDX]
Retro Game Bar
The Gist: As its name implies, Retro Game Bar looks to satisfy nostalgia for everyone who grew up playing video games in their friend’s basement. Gamers will be able to drink video-game and ‘90s-themed drinks while enjoying hot dogs, Frito pies, and nachos in front of refurbished, juiced-up 20th-century TVs and 19 different gaming consoles spanning the retro eras. The bar’s intended March opening has been pushed back a month, but things are moving along quickly enough for a spring opening.
Anticipated Opening: April
Read More: Nostalgia-Happy Retro Game Bar Will Open This Spring on MLK [EPDX]
The Gist: Carlo Lamagna’s long-awaited, eponymous Filipino restaurant Magna is set to finally open in the space vacated by NoHo’s Hawaiian cafe on SE Clinton. The restaurant is set to be bright and colorful, and will roll out with dinner service before opening for brunch and eventually lunch, all with Lamagna’s signature progressive Filipino cuisine. After continued trouble securing his chosen space, Lamagna decided to ditch his last location on 42nd and cast a wider net; he almost immediately found the spot on SE Clinton, and with a ready-built space to move into, the chef is confident Magna will open soon.
Anticipated opening: May
Read more: Long-Anticipated Filipino Restaurant Magna Will Open This Spring on SE Clinton [EPDX]
The gist: After building a dedicated following for late-night noodles and small-plate brunch, Chinese-Indonesian pop-up Gado Gado has found a home in the Hollywood District. The restaurant will include plenty of the dishes chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly grew up eating, with a few tweaks he picked up at New England stalwarts like The Honey Paw (Portland, Maine) and Sportello (Boston). Co-owner Mariah Pisha-Duffly promises dishes like char keow teow, a wok fried rice noodle dish with house-made Chinese sausage and crab; Batavia Arrack cocktails, possibly served in punch bowls; and whole records playing on vinyl in the dining room.
Anticipated opening date: Late spring
Read more: Southeast Asian Pop-Up Gado Gado Will Open a Restaurant This Spring [EPDX]
The gist: Last spring, one of Portland’s most lauded sushi restaurants, Nodoguro, began hosting an evening izakaya pop-up called Peter Cat. After its neighboring restaurant Accanto closed, the team behind Nodoguro jumped on the space for a new Japanese cafe called Tonari, as well as a permanent home for Peter Cat. The daytime washoku cafe will specialize in healthy options like miso and tofu smoothies, as well as coffee and tea. Peter Cat will serve the well-executed Japanese food chef Ryan Roadhouse is known for, including tonguekatsu (beef tongue tonkatsu), duck ham, and smoked mackerel sandwiches.
Anticipated opening date: Late spring
Read more: The Jazzy Izakaya Pop-Up from High-End Omakase Nodoguro Is Becoming a Restaurant [EPDX]
The gist: Often considered the father of contemporary Japanese cooking in Las Vegas, Takashi Segawa will open his first Portland restaurant this spring. Tekka Bar, a relaxed downtown sushi spot, will focus on hand rolls, or rice and fish wrapped in a cylinder of crispy nori. The restaurant will also serve an array of sake and nitro matcha, making it an obvious downtown lunch mainstay once it opens.
Anticipated opening date: Spring
Read more: A Las Vegas Restaurateur Is Opening a Sushi Spot Specializing in Hand Rolls [EPDX]