As the COVID-19 outbreak in Oregon continues to impact the local restaurant market, stories are popping up across the city, from food cart owners giving away free meals to chefs starting Instagram cooking classes. In this new version of AM Intel, we dive into different ways the state’s food service industry has been responding to the global pandemic. For more COVID-19 stories, check out our larger story stream.
For a few weeks now, James Beard winning chef Gabriel Rucker has been offering takeout, delivery, and “Bird Boxes” (heat-and-serve meals) at his restaurant Canard, spending his Mondays cooking free lunches with the team at Feed the Mass. Both of Rucker’s restaurants — Canard and Le Pigeon — will open for dine-in service July 8 and 9, respectively, with reservations now available on each restaurant’s website. But those who aren’t quite ready to dine out have an alternative: Rucker is available for private chef experiences, cooking for customers directly in their homes. Rucker will cook a three-or-five-course tasting menu for two to ten people in a home kitchen, with optional cooking tips inspired by his Instagram cooking classes. For pricing information, safety inquiries, or to book, interested parties can email email@example.com.
Calling for a Cap
Delivery apps, like Caviar and Postmates, became hugely popular as dining rooms closed across the country; however, many of them take a significant cut of the money for orders made on the app, often around 20 to 30 percent of any given order. Some cities, like San Francisco, have instituted caps on the amount of money a delivery app can charge a restaurant in fees. Now, as some restaurant owners feel unready to reopen dining rooms or doubt the state will stay open, the Portland Independent Restaurant Alliance is calling for a 10 percent cap on the fees delivery apps charge restaurants in Portland, hoping city commissioners will pass an ordinance via a July 8 vote. The organization is circulating an open letter to city commissioners, both asking for signatures from business owners while also collecting data on the average percentages taken by delivery apps. “Restaurants are dependent on delivery apps for both sales and visibility, yet they have no power in setting or negotiating commission rates,” the open letter reads. “These ‘partners’ have proven to be exploitative and their egregious rates leave restaurants with little to no profit.”
Steven Smith Teamaker and Karl Holl, the chef running the longstanding pop-up at Park Avenue Fine Wines, have started offering Friday lunches for pre-order and pickup at Steven Smith’s Southeast Portland tearoom. Each $15 meal comes with an entree, a dessert, and a cup of iced tea; for example, the July 3 menu includes chilled green tea noodles with shiitake mushrooms and pickled carrots, a miso peanut butter cookie, and a choice of tea. Diners have to order by midnight on the Wednesday before, with pickup Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Coming Soon for Dine-In
Gado Gado will start serving diners on its patio for full service July 9, with reservations available (and required). Gado Gado originally opened up its patio for diners to sit and eat their takeout, but starting the 9th, those who want to also sit down for a drink and full service will be able to do so.
Updated July 2, 2020, 10:34 a.m.
This story has been updated to remove Ringside’s opening plans; the restaurant will delay its originally planned opening date.