Inner Northeast Portland will get a new spot for Nordic food November 7, stacked with Michelin-starred restaurant alums. More than a year after announcing plans to open an Icelandic hotel in Portland, local restaurant group Chefstable is now less than a month away from opening the doors of its hotel and restaurant.
Last fall, Chefstable and Kex, a Reykjavík-based hostel known for its chic, open-format common spaces, shared that Ólafur Ágústsson would run the food and beverage program at Portland’s Kex. Ágústsson helped Iceland earn its first Michelin star at Reykjavík’s Dill, though the restaurant has since lost that star. At the time, both Kex and Chefstable kept the businesses’ details pretty slim: The team teased a restaurant and rooftop bar, but didn’t share the names or concepts behind either business.
In July, more details arrived: As some may have guessed, Kex’s two businesses with be Nordic in nature. Vivian, the restaurant within the hotel, will serve an all-day menu of Nordic-Northwestern cuisine, incorporating elements of Oregon and Iceland. As is common in both Portland and Scandinavian countries with short growing seasons, preserved foods will play a major role, incorporating lots of pickled, fermented, smoked, and dried foods. The restaurant has been renamed Dóttir.
Ágústsson will work alongside executive chef Alex Jackson, who Portlanders may remember from rustic Northwestern restaurant Ned Ludd. After leaving Portland, Jackson headed south to Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant Sons & Daughters. He came back to town for Kex, returning to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Portland cocktail vet Lydia McLuen, who has spent time at Portland favorites like Palomar and Bar Casa Vale, will handle the drinks as bar manager.
The rooftop bar will open in the spring, offering Kex-brand beer brewed in Southeast Portland and a similar-yet-simpler version of the food at Dóttir. Think: Icelandic drinking snacks, cocktails, beer, and wine. No menu details just yet; however, with Kex opening in less than a month, menu previews are probably just around the corner.
Update: October 14, 2019, at 2:14 p.m.: This story has been updated to include the new beverage director and opening date.
Update: November 27, 2018, at 3 p.m.: This story has been updated to note the restaurant’s name change from Vivian to Dóttir.
• Kex Portland [Official]
• Portland is Getting a Restaurant Run by Michelin-Starred Restaurant Alum [EPDX]
• One of Iceland’s top chefs will open Portland restaurant at upcoming KEX Hotel [O]
• Iceland’s KEX Brewing to become latest European entry to Portland beer scene [O]