A new distillery and restaurant has opened on North Williams. Shine Distillery & Grill, a two-story restaurant, bar, and on-site distillery, began serving cocktails and po’boys last week, after a handful of delays.
Last fall, brewery vet Jonathan Poteet announced that he would open a one-of-its-kind distillery. Most distilleries in Oregon are more like tasting rooms: Customers can taste flights of mini-cocktails, with a very limited food menu available as well. Shine would behave like a brewpub, with a large menu of food and cocktails and vodka, gin, and whiskey distilled mere feet away from tables. Poteet is decently confident that Shine is the first of its kind, considering how little Portland’s various agencies knew about the business model. “Because we’re such a unique operation, people don’t really know what to do with us,” Poteet says. The government shutdown and permit confusion pushed the opening six months later than anticipated, and the team is waiting on federal label approval before Shine spirits can be sold in-store; still, the restaurant and bar opened to the public on July 24, serving a small, test-run menu.
Shine seats around 250 people, spanning two long bars on both floors, a family-friendly dining room, and the 21+ mezzanine and rooftop patio. The distilling tanks take up a massive chunk of the ground floor, where spirits will be bottled — the total mileage of Shine’s vodka is a few feet. That’s the domain of master distiller Shannon Mosley, who previously began distilling at McMenamins. To start, Mosley is sticking to clear spirits — like a summery fresh hop gin with hops grown in Woodburn — but the distiller wants to get into single-malt whiskeys made with Madras’ Mecca Grade Estate malts. “They’re great, they taste like Grape Nuts in the mash,” she says. “I have lots of images in my head of what I’d want to do... but I’m into local flavors, local fun.” When the label approval finally arrives, visitors can taste Shine spirits in flights of mini-cocktails, full-sized cocktails, and bottles to take home. Customers can also get drinks with Oregon-based spirits behind the bar, like the Rose Nylund with rose cordial, hop water, and Crater Lake vodka.
Liquor isn’t just available behind the bar; chef Julian Solomon plans to incorporate the distillery’s spirits in several dishes, from whiskey pecan pie to the bourbon-mustard dip with the restaurant’s pretzel. Solomon grew up in Portland, but his family has roots in New Orleans; those two cities inform his menu heavily, also pulling inspiration from traditional brewpub fare. Early menus include blackened shrimp po’boys on rolls from neighbor Dos Hermanos, double-brined fried chicken with collard greens, and pan-seared Oregon steelhead with a green bean and baby yukon salad; that being said, the menus are very much in development. Solomon has also talked about dishes like mussels in an etouffee broth, bourbon-stuffed mushroom caps, and cider-brined pork chops with juniper apple sauce. “This is a Portland restaurant, so I want it to be representative of Portland,” Solomon says. Shine has closed for the day, but the restaurant will reopen to the public July 30.
• Shine Distillery & Grill [Official]
• North Portland Is Getting a Brewpub-Style Distillery [EPDX]
• Two Portlanders Spent 12 Years and Half a Million Dollars to Open a Brewery-Style Distillery. Then the Government Shut Down. [Willamette Week]