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Mae, located in a separate room from Yonder, features two long sets of tables with an aisle running down the middle
The interior of Mae, Maya Lovelace’s Southern tasting menu restaurant
Dina Avila/EPDX

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Look Inside Treasured Southern Pop-Up Mae’s Permanent Home, Open Wednesday

The pop-up that won Maya Lovelace an Eater Young Gun returns in a pink-and-green dining room

Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

Before all the awards, the acclaim, the write-ups, and the fried chicken restaurant, Southern chef Maya Lovelace was cooking meals behind Old Salt Marketplace in Cully: Dragon Langerie beans stewed in tomatoes and fortified with bacon, risotto made with Carolina Gold rice, skillet-cooked fried chicken. She told the stories of the dishes or the ingredients, the personal significance or the historical, with the air of a natural storyteller, a dinner party hostess, and a homesick North Carolinian. Still, Mae — named for Lovelace’s grandmother — was meant to be a side-project; it became her whole brand.

When she finally opened her casual restaurant Yonder, the front-facing casual companion to Mae, it was a larger undertaking than anyone expected: Building and permitting delays pushed the opening a year behind schedule, and once the restaurant opened, polishing up service and tweaking recipes took most of Lovelace’s attention. As she finished up the Yonder opening process and got things running, Mae went on hiatus; now, the pop-up is finally returning to Cully August 7, opening in its very-own room at the back of Yonder.

Maya Lovelace’s Mae will only be available for tasting menu dinners, which means the room will be shut off from Yonder during the day.
The green door of Mae, which opens onto a private room for Lovelace’s famous dinners
Dina Avila/EPDX

Behind a green door on the left side of Yonder’s bar, 24 seats wrap around two long tables, leaving an aisle at the center. This is Lovelace’s domain; between pink velvet seats, the chef will stroll, getting back to her roots talking about Southern foodways and her grandmother’s cooking habits. Behind her, a massive mural by local artist Ezra Butt will depict a forested scene verdant with plants endemic to Edgemont, North Carolina — whenever she’s presenting, the backdrop will be exactly where Lovelace came from.

The pottery for Mae uses Dundee clay, dug from Willamette Valley wine country
The pink velvet seats of Yonder face a long line of built-in booths
Dina Avila/EPDX
The scene, featuring mushrooms, leaves, and small flowers in a wooded area, is meant to represent Lovelace’s hometown and the botanicals native to North Carolina
The massive mural facing the door of Mae was painted by local artist Ezra Butt
Dina Avila/EPDX

To the right of the mural, a kitchen window serves as a pass for dishes like chilled zucchini and buttermilk soup, sorghum-brined pork chops, lavender grits with charred peppers, and Kentucky jam cake with Cloudforest chocolate sponge. Mae dinners will include eight to 10 courses, which will rotate every two weeks.

To the left, a small sink, wine cooler, and counter serve as a makeshift bar. Mae’s optional drink pairings will include beer, cider, cocktails, wine and, of course, whiskey; Jane Smith from Killingsworth wine bar Dame will handle the wine, and Brandi Williams, the bar manager at Yonder, will covering the rest. As beans and biscuits and bourbon make their way through the room, a portrait of Mae Lovelace will face her granddaughter from the wall next to the door. She’s landed in a place that feels like home.

Mae’s beverage pairing will include wine, beer, whiskeys, and more
On the left side of the restaurant, a small sink and counter serves as a bar for the restaurant’s drink pairings
Dina Avila/EPDX
The pass has a small entryway for Lovelace to slip through
The pass between Mae’s kitchen and dining room also houses the various serving dishes and pottery for Mae
Dina Avila/EPDX
Mae Lovelace is the inspiration behind the pop-up
Next to the door of Mae, a framed photo of Mae Lovelace — Maya’s grandmother — hangs on the wall
Dina Avila/EPDX

Mae will be open three days a week: 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and 7 p.m. on Friday. Reservations will be available tonight on the restaurant’s website.

Mae [Official]
Previous Mae coverage [EPDX]
Previous Yonder coverage [EPDX]
Eater Young Guns [Eater]
Maya Lovelace: Bringing Southern Storytelling and Flavors to PDX [Eater]


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