There’s a new fast-casual lunch spot coming to Southwest Portland. Olia Poke & Tea will serve build-your-own salad rolls, banh mi, and the classic raw seafood bowls on SW Moody, as well as fruit-infused teas.
Olia comes from Anh Tram Nguyen, who grew up in her parents’ Portland-area Vietnamese restaurant, the now-closed Thanh Truc. Her new restaurant — named for her children, Olivia and Liam — will incorporate a touch of her family history, but with a more contemporary style. Guests will pick one of the three main dishes — salad rolls, banh mi, or poke — which they can build with a choice of proteins, toppings, and condiments. Each dish will have a separate “bar” of ingredients: The banh mi station will include proteins like grilled pork or Vietnamese cold-cuts with pate and butter, while the poke bar will have a variety of sauces for salmon, tuna, and even watermelon. “It’s very similar to say, Chipotle, where you walk up to a counter and pick and choose what you’d like to go in,” Nguyen says.
Alongside its customizable entrees, Olia will offer teas infused with fresh fruit or boba, with base flavors like classic milk tea, Thai tea, matcha, and oolong. In the morning, the cafe will also serve Vietnamese pastries, ideally alongside Vietnamese coffee.
The restaurant, a small, clean-and-minimalist space, will hopefully open in late May, though that may change due to construction delays. The restaurant will open in the OHSU Knight Cancer Research Building, which Nguyen sees as serendipitous. “I searched the name to see what it means, and it means blessed, holy, and successful. We thought, ‘It’s a sign,’” she says. “How fitting, that it’s going into a cancer research facility.”