Over the last nine months, the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent (necessary) government restrictions have forced some restaurants to pivot to takeout and delivery or close entirely. All the while, Portlanders have been looking for a way to support their favorite businesses — even if they feel unready to return to an outdoor dining room. Besides ordering delivery or purchasing gift cards, buying merchandise — often available online — is another way to support a restaurant and its chances at fully re-opening. Luckily, Portland food and drink establishments offer plenty of sweet swag and other quality household items; many have gotten into the merch game this year as a pivot strategy.
With the holidays approaching rapidly, restaurant merch can serve as a gift to the local food and beverage industry and to your pal in desperate need of a “Bitches love Hummus” t-shirt. Below, we run through a few of the options sold at restaurants, from cozy hats and sweatshirts to baby onesies. For cookbook recommendations, check out this specific list. For more holiday gift ideas, try the Eater holiday gift guide, or peruse this brainstorm of ideas from local chefs and bartenders.
While there are more than a few places that sell hats, it takes a keen eye and a knack for style to be able to make one that stands out among the masses. These are some hats that go above and beyond the standard baseball cap.
Ideal for the chillier winter months, this Woodlawn whiskey bar’s navy Jacquard knit beanie — complete with a pom-pom up top and “Tough Luck” written in block lettering — clocks in at a reasonable $15, including shipping. The hat is available for online order via the website.
A wonderful gray five-panel hat with the name of the Indonesian restaurant in red letters, Gado Gado’s hat rocks a unique style. It’s worth keeping an eye on Gado Gado’s Instagram or merch store for more options, however; the restaurant’s adorable face mask sold out exceptionally quickly.
The sneaker shop-themed coffee shop has some of the best merch in-store, but customers can also purchase its signature flame-emoji snapback online. Shoppers can also pick it up directly from the store, along with drinks topped with sneaker designs.
Hat Yai’s cute dad cap with the mid-walk chicken is sold out, but the famous Thai restaurant’s snapback, in a mellow grey with its name written in orange embroidery, also features the cheery mascot. It’s available for shipping around the country.
Fried Egg I’m In Love
The breakfast sandwich shop boasts one of the largest varieties of restaurant merch in Portland from “FIIIL” trucker hats to artsy cracked egg crop tops. The shop offers a number of different style trucker hats, as well as cute sweatshirts for the winter.
The iconic Portland-born coffee chain has a wide merch selection, but its simple wheat-colored, waffle knit beanie is casual enough for everyday wear. Order it online.
T-Shirts and Sweatshirts
T-shirts are a ubiquitous merch item, but a number of food and drink spots around the city sell some especially fun and snazzy items. Some shops have even started offering more winter-friendly sweatshirts and hoodies, beyond the standard restaurant logo design.
Right out of the gate, this new pizzeria from baker Marius Pop nailed its merch game. Beyond it’s “hot and fresh square slices” t-shirts, the shop sells some incredible crew-neck sweatshirts with the word “pepperoni” written across the chest in a red collegiate font —ideal for the pizza lover in your life. Merch is available to order online for local pick-up.
The Nightwood Society
This food event space has kept itself afloat with an exceptional array of well-designed merch, from its wide selection of “F*ck that Guy” (you know which guy) sweatshirts to its “the future of food is female” sweatshirts. Those looking for something more apolitical (though, read the room) can find this eye-catching “bitches love hummus” t-shirt, because we can all agree on that one. All of the above can be found at its collaborative holiday market at Coopers Hall from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays; otherwise, they can be ordered online.
Those in the know are waiting patiently for chef Fatou Ouattara to release her bottled sauces — arguably the best part of any meal at her West African restaurant — but in the meantime, you might as well wait in this cozy “jollof queen” hoodie, which comes in a whopping 11 colors. If you really want to commit to the look, you could add a pair of “sweat the suya off” sweatpants. All are available to order via the restaurant’s website.
P’s & Q’s Market
This Woodlawn neighborhood market and deli has a loyal following of devotees, many of whom would likely dig the shop’s adorable t-shirt. The design features everything from pickles to dogs to tinned fish to cake, with the market’s sandwich board sitting squarely in the middle. The shirt is available for local delivery or store pick-up, in both black and white.
The plant-based deli sells a metal-as-hell logo shirt, which comes in either black or tie-dye; plus, the fermentation nerds out there may appreciate the restaurant’s “mold is gold” tee. For those looking for something more practical, the thermoses are pretty sleek, too.
Push X Pull
The Keep It Natural sweatshirt from the coffee roasting company is a stellar gift for coffee lovers, including oneself. If looking for something a little less coffee-related, the Skull Boi t-shirt is cute as hell.
Sauces, Spices, and Syrups
With Portlanders stuck at home, reliant on takeout and home cooking, it’s a smart move to stock up on some of Portland-made sauces and syrups, many of which are shelf-stable for weeks or longer prior to opening.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Nong’s gingery-garlic khao man gai sauce is legendary, and those trapped at home craving some of her signature cooking can buy it online. Obviously, it’s wonderful with chicken and rice as intended, but it’s just as satisfying dumped over a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
Those looking to get fancy with the boring bowl of white rice at home can nab one of Bhuna’s bottled sauces and chutneys, specifically the shop’s tamarind sauce and mint-cilantro chutney. Both are available for online order, and both are worthy adds to the home condiment shelves.
The pitmaster in your life would likely enjoy a bottle of one of Matt’s BBQ’s noteworthy sauces, from the cherry chipotle to the peach or spicy mustard. North Carolinians will appreciate the legendary cart’s hog vinegar. Order for pickup or local delivery online.
Another North Portland barbecue spot, Miss Delta bottles a number of its hot sauces, including one with a cayenne foundation and another with a jalapeño base. The restaurant is also selling “I survived coronavirus and all I got was this crummy t-shirt” merch, if that suits your fancy.
Kayo’s Ramen Bar
One killer stocking stuffer idea: Kayo’s Ramen Bar sells small metal tins of its various “umami salts,” seasoning blends ranging from curry seasoning salt to a tom yum salt with a nice hit of dried shrimp. The original mala umami salt comes spiked with sansho for prickly tingle. Order it in the store, pre-order it for pickup, or add it to an order via a delivery app.
Searing hot intel over here: Pinolo, which makes some of the city’s best gelato, bottles its elderflower syrup for at-home sundae-making or, more importantly, cocktail making. It pairs very well with clear spirits or a non-alcoholic citrus and soda, if it isn’t spooned over yogurt or a light lemon sorbetto. The syrup comes in a 8.5 oz bottle for pre-ordered takeout or delivery.
A line of vinegar cordials from the late Thai chain Pok Pok, these sweet and tart syrups are great for adding acidity and complexity to drinks without hassle. Flavors range from strawberry Thai basil to pineapple Sichuan peppercorn, and shoppers can stock up on bottles at the website.
These cute totes are ideal for careful visits to the farmer’s market, picnics on the living room floor, or to carry snacks from one room to the other.
This wine bar and pop-up hub is selling a number of things on its website, from food to bottles to adorable long-sleeve shirts. But the bar’s pair of tote bags designs — one with a set of pseudo-abstract bottles, glasses, and splashes of wine, another with a doodle of a wine bottle and glass — are fun and distinctive. The artist behind the former, Phaedra Brucato, also works in the wine industry; the other was sketched by owner Jane Smith’s mother.
Bella’s Italian Bakery
Bella’s online market is the place to be when searching for stellar dried pastas, pizza-making kits, or even sourdough starter. But what better tool to carry all of your groceries than one of the bakery’s goofy tote bags, adorned with a cartoonish illustration of a little girl saying, “We got yer cannoli right here!” Is it camp? I think we can call it camp. Order it online for pickup.
This Northwest Portland wine-bar-slash-pandemic-era-bottle-shop is owned by Sami Gaston, a wine pro who also happens to be a skilled artist. The bar’s boquerones tote features one of Gaston’s drawings, silkscreened in Portland. Order it online for pickup.
Salt & Straw
Salt & Straw has a wide array of interesting merch, from waffle-cone-scented candles to dog collars to winter hats. But the shop’s I Love You Oregon tote might be a touching choice for those former Oregonians who might not make it home for the holidays this year. Throw a bottle of waffle cone perfume in there for good measure, too.
A very high-quality looking tote that comes in blue or red, featuring the coffee roaster’s logo. The bag is made of 100-percent cotton, and is the ideal size for carrying around several bags of Heart’s stellar coffee.
Simple but cute, the river-side drive-in’s tote is eco-friendly and made with recycled material. The artwork is inspired by the Sandy River, and comes in either forest green or sepia.
Soaps, mugs, golf discs — the types of merchandise in Portland seem endless. Below are some brief descriptions of other fun things for sale that help local restaurants and cafes.
Le Pigeon and Canard
Those quarantine babies are going to need something fashionable to wear, so Gabriel Rucker and Andy Fortgang have come out with a pair of branded onesies for their two restaurants. The Le Pigeon onesie comes with the restaurant’s logo and the words “dirty birdie,” but it’s hard to beat the cuteness quotient on Canard’s onesie design: A vertical tower of ducklings, with the words “duck stack” — the restaurant’s famous pile of duck fat pancakes drenched in duck sausage gravy — written at the bottom. The onesies are available to ship or to pick up at the restaurants.
While visiting this infinitely cool subterranean whisk(e)y bar is out right now, people can still show off their Scotch pride with the bar’s stylish Glencairn dram pin. The enamel pin and a Scotch Lodge branded Glencairn glass are both available for pickup at the shop.
Sure, you could get one of the sausages, salamis, pickles, or pates this local charcutier is known for, but a much cozier option would be the Olympia Provisions Pendleton blanket, wrapped in a handy leather carrier for impromptu picnics. It’s hard to get more Oregon than that. Order it online to ship anywhere.
Division Winemaking Company
This urban winery knows its market: Alongside the obligatory gift cards and a very cute duck tote bag, Division’s merch shop includes branded rolling papers, which come free with any purchase.
Kachka’s “May Contain Vodka” mug, sturdy with a 1950s-diner-style shape, is particularly appropriate for social distance happy hours. Those able to visit Kachka Lavka, the grocery upstairs, can take home a matching bottle of horseradish vodka; otherwise, the online shop offers shipping.
Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group
A local restaurant group that includes chicken counter-shop Big’s Chicken, steakhouse Laurelhurst Market, and casual Hawaiian place Ate-Oh-Ate, YNRG has plenty of shirts for each property, but the golf discs are the real treasure here. Purchase the right golf disc for any player by using the speed and glide stats listed in the description.