SE Belmont’s spot for 2 a.m. chicken-and-waffle sandwiches and syrup-covered pancakes will not reopen after the restaurant shutdown ends. Blackheart, a breakfast spot and bar from the guy behind Ben & Esther’s, announced via an Instagram post that it is staying closed, hopefully reopening in a new space down the line.
“We were hoping it wouldn’t come to this but, like many businesses across Portland and around the world, we’re not able to come up with a viable way to stay open, given the new guidelines being set for reopening,” the post reads. “It’s with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of Blackheart.”
Although the Instagram post attributes the closure to the state’s reopening guidelines, co-owner Justin King says the decision has more to do with the space’s ability to accommodate them than the restrictions themselves. “We don’t blame the guidelines; we actually agree with them,” King says. “We’re not like, ‘Screw Governor Brown.’ It’s just not feasible in that location.” In general, King says the team felt “pressured out” by their landlord, and looking over their numbers, the team decided to leave SE Belmont and look elsewhere.
Blackheart opened in 2018, a new punk rock bar and breakfast spot from King, Lisa Stanger (Treehouse Children’s Boutique), and Jocelyn Dean (the Photobooth Chick). The breakfast was no afterthought; Blackheart quickly nabbed a spot on Eater Portland’s essential breakfast map, thanks to dishes like its fried chicken biscuit and eggs sardou. The bar became a favorite for breakfast-after-11 p.m. on Belmont, with loud music and older Portland vibes than expected for a new bar. King went on to open Ben & Esther’s, a bagel shop that now operates locations in Northeast Portland and St. Johns.
However, not all hope is lost: The Instagram post indicates the team “has every intention of reopening in another location” as soon as possible. The chef at Blackheart, Lucas Schmit, will start a hot-dog pop-up at the St. Johns Ben & Esther’s location in the meantime, and will start doing Blackheart pop-ups in the near future.
Correction May 14, 2020, at 8:51 p.m.
This story has been corrected to show that the chef at Blackheart is Lucas Schmit, not Brian McKnight. Brian McKnight was a previous chef at Blackheart.
Updated May 14, 2020, at 5:48 p.m.
This story has been updated to include comments from Justin King.
• Blackheart [Official]
• Blackheart [Instagram]
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