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.
Otter Pop Boycott
Sometimes, avoiding a potential social media callout just creates a worse one. Earlier this week, Twitter user @PDXCarMedic tweeted at the classic freezer pop brand Otter Pops to see if the company would donate the frozen treats to distribute at the protests against systemic racism and police brutality. Originally, the company tweeted back, “We 100% do. Send us a DM and we will see how we can help!” However, the next day, the tweet had been deleted, and Otter Pops backtracked in an attempt to seem apolitical. “We regret that an individual consultant hired by Otter Pops recently commented on a social media post that appeared to align the brand with a political movement,” the tweet read. “We apologize if anyone was offended by that comment, which was not representative of our brand.”
Now, however, Twitter users have started a boycott campaign against the brand, on both sides. Some are calling for a boycott due to the brand’s insinuation that a) Black Lives Matter is political, not a human rights issue, and b) that the company would not come out in solidarity with the movement. On the other side of things, Twitter users are calling for boycott because of the company’s temporary alignment with the protesters, claiming that the company hadn’t actually hired a social media consultant. [WWeek]
Dinner Party Vibes
Former Revelry chef Diane Lam, who has moved over to Psychic on Mississippi for her pop-up Sunshine Noodles, has started a dinner series called Penh Pals, a collaboration dinner series for parties of 8 to 12, in which they can rent out a private dining area to social distance. The first series involves Eem chef de cuisine Colin Yoshimoto, with dishes like Tokyo shoyu ramen, hiyashi tsukemen with dashi nuac cham, and strawberry shortcake. Make a reservation here or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. [EaterWire]
Bar King Is Coming Back
After closing in its first month open, Bar King will serve diners onsite once again starting August 27, both with prix-fixe reservations and an a la carte menu. Dishes range from Hokkaido scallops with jalapeno dashi and melon to coal-roasted halibut. The restaurant serves the a la carte menu on the outdoor patio and inside the restaurant. [EaterWire]
In Other News...
• Stacked Sandwich Shop has returned, after pivoting into a bowl shop called Feel Good. That concept will get its own space sometime soon. [EPDX]
• Brewers, now heavily reliant on cans and bottles to sell beer during the pandemic, are facing a can shortage. [PBJ]
• St. Johns gardeners are offering up their produce to the community in a project called the St. Johns Garden Hop. On August 30, Portlanders can stop by a soon-to-be-released list of gardens distributing free produce, and take what they need. The garden hop isn’t exclusive to St. Johns residents and those without gardens can still collect produce. People can register here if they want to share produce, or find more details on the Instagram page.