Baes, the fried chicken shop from restaurateur Micah Camden and NFL player Ndamukong Suh, will soon sell its chicken sandwiches and waffle fries in Southeast Portland. The restaurant will open its second location in Westmoreland July 11, in the former Boxer Ramen space on Bybee Blvd.
Camden and Suh opened their first location on the westside in November 2019, with a menu of original and spicy fried chicken in sandwiches, as tenders, or bone-in, with sides like mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and coleslaw. The restaurant was designed to be very friendly to takeout and delivery, focusing on speed and its ability to hold up when it travels.
That, of course, was months before the city’s restaurants were forced to either close or figure out some sort of takeout and delivery model. When Gov. Kate Brown announced that Oregon restaurants must close their dining rooms, Camden gave all the teams at all of his restaurants — Baes, Boxer Ramen, Sweet Heart Pizza, Little Chickpea, Super Deluxe — the option to close temporarily or try to work out some sort of takeout. All but the original Bae’s closed: The kitchen is one of the larger in Camden’s fleet of restaurants, which allows restaurant workers to space out. The restaurant closed to takeout service, and focused entirely on delivery.
Now, as more and more restaurants reopen, Camden was thinking about whether it made sense to keep Boxer in that neighborhood. “We’re going into a crap summer, opening with this going on,” Camden says, referring to the COVID-19 crisis. “ I had the ability to pause and really take a look at the landscape, try to figure out what can I do to come out of this stronger. Do people really want to eat ramen in the summer?”
Instead, he’s flipping that location, keeping his Boxer staff and hiring a few more employees to turn the restaurant into a Baes. The decor has shifted to mimic the Southern style of the original location, though not many will see it: The restaurant will be open for walk-up takeout, but again, Baes will mainly focus on delivery through the summer. “When COVID hit, I had this knee-jerk reaction to open up my delivery radius [at the westside location], and it just killed us,” Camden says. “[With this location,] we opened up our delivery range to now reach Lake Oswego, Clackamas — the people there aren’t going to want to drive downtown. It just seemed like a logical move.”
Baes will open at 1613 SE Bybee Blvd.
• Baes [Official]
• With Bae’s Chicken, Fast-Casual Icon Micah Camden Wants to Perfect the Fried Bird [EPDX]