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The Guy Behind Lardo Is Opening a Souvlaki Spot on Belmont

And more news to start the day

Welcome to a.m. Intel, a quick-and-dirty roundup of Portland food, drink, and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome; you can drop them here.


Rick Gencarelli — the man behind celebrated Portland chains Lardo and Grassa — is taking a break from expanding his sandwich and pasta empire, instead pursuing ouzo mojitos and hummus. Bluto’s, named for the John Belushi character in Animal House, will take over the space once home to the short-lived Portland Japanese cafe Tonari. According to the Oregonian, the restaurant is playing with a wide swath of dishes, ranging from flaming saganaki cheese to preserved lemon margaritas. The one locked-in facet of the menu: souvlaki, served in a flatbread wrap or a platter. One idea floated here seems particularly exciting: Greek yogurt soft-serve with a tahini magic shell. Bluto’s is expected to open in late November at 2838 SE Belmont Street. [O]

Berlu Will Reopen as a Vietnamese Fine Dining Restaurant

Since he had to pause his tasting menu service at Berlu, chef and owner Vince Nguyen has been playing around with Vietnamese dishes: springy, pandan-hued bánh bò nướng; crispy bánh tráng nướng covered in egg; noodle soups like bánh canh trảng bàng. In October, however, he’ll blend the past and present of Berlu to create its future, with a Vietnamese tasting menu served three nights a week. The restaurant will serve dishes like crispy-grilled bánh bò nướng topped with coconut cream and caviar, whole ducks deconstructed into several dishes (similar to his chicken dish at the original Berlu), and Vietnamese hot chocolate. The menu is $115 per person, with a $55 wine pairing and an additional wellness charge. Make a reservation here. [PoMo]

New Zealand Real Fruit Ice Cream Stand Nico’s Will Open an Ice Cream Shop

At the new shop, owner Nico Vergara will blend either Tillamook vanilla or Coconut Bliss ice cream with mix-ins like fruit and cereal. The shop is expected to open at 5713 NE Fremont Street in November. [O]

A Marketing Company Is Opening a Restaurant

The Norr Agency, which is known for shooting images of food for places like Williams Sonoma and Crate & Barrel, is going to start selling its own food on October 6 for takeout and delivery. Matt Hobbs, an alum of various Vitaly Paley restaurants, will be running the restaurant, at 920 NE Glisan Street. [WWeek]

Mary’s Club Has Landed in a New Space After Decades on Broadway

The oldest strip club in Portland is moving into the space once home to the short-lived Mexican pizzeria from Nick Zukin, Zapapizza. The new address is 503 W Burnside Street, but the club isn’t open just yet; keep an eye out in the coming months. [WWeek]

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