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.
Blue Star Chapter 11
Blue Star Donuts, the Portland brioche doughnut chain, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which essentially allows business owners to restructure their debts. According to a statement from the company, the decision to file was a result of the financial impact of COVID-19. Blue Star has closed four locations since the pandemic began, including the downtown, Multnomah Village, and NW 23rd locations of the chain. The company plans to stay completely operational at the other locations. [EaterWire]
$62 Million in Relief for Black Oregonians
The state has set aside $62 million of CARES act funding for Black Oregonians, Black-owned small businesses, and Black-run nonprofits. The fund is meant to address the state’s systemic and longstanding discrimination against Black residents and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black communities. People — including Black restaurant workers and owners — can apply for a portion of the Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief and Resiliency via this website. [BizJo]
Super Smash Burgers
Rough Draft Burger Shop, a Seattle-based burger pop-up specializing in smash burgers and waffle fries, is taking over a food cart in Southwest Portland today. Nick Jarvis and Aaron Wilcenski, two former employees of noteworthy Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, have developed a following for their minimalist smash burgers, but the two are potentially sticking to Portland for good. The two will test out Scholls Ferry Road until the end of the year, and then figure out next steps from there. The cart will be open from 4 to 6 p.m. today at 6620 SW Scholls Ferry Road; the team plans to extend hours to 4 to 9 p.m. [PoMo]
Support Black-Owned Restaurants Week
It’s that time of year again: For the last six years, since Bertha Pearl posted the first Facebook event, Portland has celebrated Black-owned restaurants around this time of year. Originally it was a single day, until it became Support Black Owned-Restaurant Week, honoring and encouraging Portlanders to patronize Black-owned restaurants, bars, carts, and other food businesses. The group behind the week also developed one of the city’s best guides to Black-owned restaurants, for those seeking inspiration. Diversifying the restaurants you visit should be a daily consideration, but this year especially, it’s crucial to take advantage of this week if you can.